How to Choose a Wire Cooling Rack for Baking

Wire cooling (baking) racks are an important addition to the baker's "batterie de cuisine" (essential cooking equipment). Without these, you will experience soggier, moister baked items if these are allowed to cool in their pans or on solid surfaces that don't allow for air circulation. The purpose of a wire cooling rack is to allow the air to circulate freely around the cooling baked item, letting it cool down evenly and quickly.

Steps

  1. Image titled Choose a Wire Cooling Rack for Baking Step 1
    1
    Visit a kitchen goods retailer. Anywhere that sells kitchen goods for baking, such as cake and muffin pans, will also sell wire cooling racks. Restaurant supply stores will also have them in stock.
    • Cooling racks are also sold online in kitchen goods storefronts and on auction sites.
  2. Image titled Choose a Wire Cooling Rack for Baking Step 2
    2
    Choose the wire cooling rack according to size. What you're baking determines the size of rack. While cookies can be fitted onto a small rack easily, a cake or bread will need a rack that definitely fits their size. It's a good idea to get a few, perhaps one square or round one and one rectangular one, so that you have both enough and the right size for the particular baked item.
    • If you want the cooling rack to sit in a pan, be sure to take the measurements before purchasing the rack.
    • Another consideration for size is whether it will fit in the dishwasher and/or where you want to store it. These store easily along with cookie and baking sheets, and pizza pans, so if you already have these, estimate the size against them.
  3. Image titled Choose a Wire Cooling Rack for Baking Step 3
    3
    Choose a material for your wire cooling rack. Most wire cooling racks are metallic but there are also wooden cooling racks or chrome-plated racks. Non-stick varieties are helpful for your baked items but not essential; you can always place parchment paper (baking paper) down for any particularly sticky baked foods.
    • If you plan on using the wire cooling rack for draining washed food, choose one that won't rust.
  4. Image titled Choose a Wire Cooling Rack for Baking Step 4
    4
    Check the quality of the wire cooling rack. As with any purchase of kitchen essentials, be sure to check the quality. Look for neat joins right across the cooling rack, and check to see that there are no sharp or loose parts and no warping.
  5. Image titled Choose a Wire Cooling Rack for Baking Step 5
    5
    Finished.

Tips

  • Stackable or tiered cooling racks are available (see image above). Their utility to you depends on how much space you have or need to save, as well as how much you bake at any one time.
  • Wire cooling racks are also known as wire baking racks. Either term is fine and interchangeable.
  • If you're baking up a storm for fundraising, borrow cooling racks from your neighbors. First, it's likely you'll need them as the food keeps coming out of the oven for cooling in large batches, and second, you don't want to end up owning lots of these racks!
  • Wire cooling racks are also excellent as:
    • A place to rest hot saucepans and dishes while transferring them from the oven to table, etc.
    • A place to drain wet produce such as washed vegetables as they air dry
    • A place to leave iced cookies to dry.
  • Some racks are designed like a shelf, to hold the entire pan. These are fairly specialized, so you should know why you want one before investing in it. Remember that every unused piece of kitchen equipment takes up valuable space!

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen goods retailer
  • Wire cooling rack(s)

Article Info

Categories: Bakeware