A dough scraper is a useful tool, both for professional bakers and home cooks. It is usually a long, rectangular metal piece, topped with a wooden or plastic handle. It can be alternately called a dough cutter, bench knife, bench scraper, pastry scraper, or a dough knife. The term pastry cutter may also be used, but this is actually incorrect. A pastry cutter is used to cut butter into flour for different types of pastry and is quite different in shape. In all, the dough scraper has numerous applications in baking.
Most commonly, the dough scraper is used for a few basic things. While you are kneading dough on an open surface, you may use the dough scraper to combine bits of the flour that are falling to the sides. You can also push away any dough that has dried that you don’t want combined with the rest of your dough. Another quite practical application of the dough scraper is its ability to evenly divide dough. You can of course do this with a knife too, but why use another tool if you don’t have to?
Many cooks like the dough scraper because it is one of the best cleaning tools in the kitchen. After you’ve kneaded your dough, a pass or two with the scraper will remove any flour or dry bits left behind, cleaning a surface in a few seconds. If any dough has dried to a board or surface on which you’ve kneaded, a little pressure on the scraper usually pulls the dough right off.
There’s really no good reason not to have a dough scraper, even if you don’t bake bread frequently. If you make piecrust, for instance, the scraper will be excellent for removing small bits of crust. It can further make for a handy clean up tool after you’ve chopped veggies or fruit. You’ll probably find numerous other applications for a scraper.
Perhaps the one of the best features of a dough scraper is its price. A simple stainless steel scraper with a wooden handle can frequently be purchased online for about $2 US dollars (USD). You may find them in kitchen supply stores for a little more, perhaps as much as $5-10 USD. Given their usefulness, even at higher prices, dough scrapers are worthy kitchen tools and it’s well worth it to own at least one.