When I moved out of my childhood home, one of the first things my mother bought me was a baking brush (like this one from Carlisle)—not surprising of course, since she is a baker herself and once owned a bakery in Miami, Florida called Afternoon Tea. A baking brush, also referred to as a pastry brush, is primarily used for spreading butter, a glaze, or an egg wash on food. For example, brushing an egg wash* over the top of bread dough yields a shiny, golden and crispy exterior (while still maintaining that moist, chewy interior we love about fresh bread).
Traditional pastry brush bristles are made from either natural or plastic/nylon, while more modern adaptions include silicone brushes. Both types of brushes perform equally well, though you may find a traditional pastry brush offers a smoother, more complete coating whereas larger gaps occur with silicone bristles. Traditional brushes do run the risk of losing bristles over time (similar to a paint brush), so be sure to inspect your food carefully.
Try brushing an egg wash on your next batch of dinner rolls for extra color and flavor.
*an egg wash is a lightly beaten egg mixed with either 1 tablespoon of milk or water