In search of an “ergonomic” glove for holiday baking

Baking season is upon us….the smell of gingerbread in the oven is an instant holiday boost! As I fumbled with my oven mitts on the weekend, I recognized that I didn’t have the most “ergonomic” gloves for this task. My oven mitts are easy to slip on, and I have no trouble handling a tray of gingerbread men with two hands. But since I want to keep the door open for as little time as possible, I often have one tray in each hand – I move one tray out of the oven with one hand, and put the next tray in with the other. Holding a tray with one hand, using my oven mitt, is a bit less “ergonomic”. A “mitt” has a large thumb and an open space for the other four fingers. Since it’s designed to slip on and off easily, the fit is loose, particularly with my small hands. I find it difficult to get a firm grip, especially if I’m also concerned about poking my cookies. (Icing can cover minor imperfections, but a smushed head is probably irreparable. Delicious, perhaps, but not worth icing.)

I’m a 24/7 ergonomist, trying to apply my trade at work and home. I therefore set out in search of a more “ergonomic” oven mitt. Here’s what I learned:

– I could buy Kevlar cloth gloves with silicone coating, which would be heat- and cut-resistant. These come in different sizes, so a nice, fitted glove might offer better dexterity than the clumsy mitt I have now. One drawback of this type of glove is that it is not water-proof, and I suspect that, once it got wet, it might conduct heat and I’d still get burned. Because it is “snug fitting”, I will likely to leave it on between batches….so I’ll be more likely to get dough or water on it. My existing oven mitts are cloth, so I’m not sure if I should worry about this too much. Also, it won’t be “shareable”, since no one else in our house has small hands. But then again, the only help I typically get with baking is during clean up (and disposing of the “wreckers” as we called them when we were kids, and mom baked for a store). I decided that I want to try this type of glove.
– Alternatively, I could choose a fully silicone glove which would be water resistant and even dishwasher safe, but a bit more bulky. I decided that this glove is also worth a try.

– I could also buy a small finger-tip style pot-holder, but I was pretty sure that wasn’t what I wanted. Although it would be easier to slip on, the thumb was just as large as my regular oven mitt, so I felt I’d be just as likely to damage my cookies.

I’ve placed the order, and I intend to do more holiday baking soon, so I’ll keep you posted!

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