You Should Be Cutting These Foods With Dental Floss

You Should Be Cutting These Foods With Dental Floss
Photo: beats1, Shutterstock

As we’ve mentioned before, dental floss has many practical uses beyond getting crud out from between your teeth. You can use it as thread, a stand-in for picture-hanging wire, and to support “climbers” in your garden. This pillar of proper oral hygiene can also cleanly and effectively slice certain soft foods — minus all the crumbling and caving a knife can cause. Here are some of the ways you can put (unwaxed, unflavored) dental floss to good use in your kitchen.

Birthday cake: Whether you’ve made a cake yourself or bought one at the store, if it has icing or decorations, cutting it can be a delicate act. By pulling a long strand of (again, unflavored) floss taut between two fingers and firmly guiding it down across the length of the cake like a saw, you can create clean, un-crumbled slices, while keeping the decorations intact. Slide the floss through the bottom of the cake (rather than lifting it back up), re-position, and do it again until you’ve got as many slices as you need.

Cheesecake: The same technique can be used on cheesecake, which is usually a hot mess to cut. Where slices of cheesecake will typically stick to a knife or cake cutter, causing you to drag all the shrapnel through the rest of the cake, a strip of floss (held taut and slid through the bottom of the cake, as above) will deliver much cleaner pieces.

Layer cake: For anyone who’s given themselves one hour to make a cake for an event (then realised halfway through: oh crap, it’s a layer cake), dental floss can come to the rescue. (Or if you just want to save yourself the hassle of preparing and cleaning two cake pans.) Follow this method of placing several toothpicks halfway up the side of the cake, wrapping floss around the cake (on top of the toothpicks) and pulling. (Or you can ditch the ruler and toothpicks and pull it freestyle, if you need a little excitement in your life.)

Goat cheese: Not only is goat cheese soft, it’s crumbly — making it doubly hard to cut without making a mess. For mere spreading, a knife will do the job. But if you want to achieve those high-rent looking restaurant rounds — and you don’t have any cheese wire — pull some floss taut and slide it through.

Mozzarella cheese: It’s hard to create non-stringy portions of mozzarella to go with those tomato slices and basil. Use this method from Cuisine at Home: “To slice soft cheeses like mozzarella, try using unwaxed, unflavored dental floss. Slide the floss under the cheese, cross the ends at the top, then pull the floss tight to slice through the cheese.”

Cinnamon bun dough: Dental floss works better than a knife or pastry cutter at cutting cinnamon roll dough. Because, according to Lifehacker’s senior food editor Claire Lower, where knives and other blades “smoosh” the dough, “Instead of pressing down on the pastry, the floss slices from the outside towards the centre with a near-even pressure from all sides, giving your rolls a uniform, round shape.” Follow the technique she outlined here to form the perfect buns.

Hard-boiled eggs: According to Chicago’s Eastman Egg Company, the floss technique works well on slicing hard-boiled eggs. “Place the egg on a board, tighten the floss then slowly press the floss onto the egg. The result is a clean slice that doesn’t take too much effort to achieve.”

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