There are many terms and techniques used in baking:
Partially or totally cook a pastry case before filling it. This prevents the pastry going soggy. Pastry should be partially cooked when it is going to be filled with an uncooked mixture (such as egg in a quiche), or fully cooked for fresh fruit flans. The uncooked pastry is lined with a piece of baking paper and, to prevent it rising, it is filled with dried beans or uncooked rice. This enables the pastry to bake with a flat base.
A dry-heat cooking method that cooks food by surrounding it with hot air in an enclosed chamber such as an oven. The same process may be referred to as roasting, depending on the food item being cooked. For example, meat and chicken are roasted; cakes, bread, and fish are baked.
Has a special coating on it to prevent sticking. It saves greasing tins or baking trays. For cake or slice tins, line the base of the tin with baking paper. There is no need to grease the sides of the tin. Once the food is cooked, run a knife around the edges of the tin, pressing the knife blade against the tin to prevent damaging the cake or slice. Baking trays can also be covered when cooking biscuits.
Is a mixture of cream of tartar and baking soda plus wheat fillers, which helps the baking powder to flow easily. As a substitute you can use a mixture of three parts cream of tartar and one part baking soda.
Also known as bicarbonate of soda.
Batter 1. A mixture of flour and water that forms a pourable, semi-liquid state;
2. A pourable mixture usually made from flour, milk, and eggs that can be used to coat foods for deep-frying.
Means to briskly combine ingredients, usually with electric beaters but sometimes with a wooden spoon. Beating also helps to create a finer texture for cakes, biscuits and other baked products.
Biscuit Base Or Crumb Crust
This is crushed bought biscuits combined with melted butter and sometimes spices. The mixture is pressed onto the base and/or sides of a cake or tart tin. It can be baked or unbaked and is mostly used as a base for cheesecakes and slices.
To plunge fruits or vegetables into hot water or fat for a very short period of time. The food may be shocked or refreshed by immediately placing it in ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching is used to firm texture, remove skin, or set colour.
To mix ingredients thoroughly to get an even consistency.
Butter is the most commonly used fat for cake-making as it creams well and has an acceptable flavour. Unsalted butter is best for use in baking biscuits, slices and cakes.
A browning process caused when sugar reacts to very high temperatures. A specific type of caramelization is called the Maillard reaction, in which protein and fat react with sugars to aid in the browning process.
Organic nutrients including sugars and starches. They may be single molecules – monosaccharides such as glucose; they may be two molecules hooked together – disaccharides such as sucrose; or they may be several molecules hooked together – oligosaccharides.
Couverture chocolate is considered the best. It has a good flavour and glossy finish suitable for cake decoration.
Are easily made using a potato peeler and ‘peeling’ a piece of chocolate. Well-formed curls will be made if the chocolate is slightly soft.
Is used as a flavour infusion in syrups and poached fruits. Ground cinnamon adds flavour to cakes, puddings and biscuits.
Is used to decorate cakes, before or after baking, and to flavour buttered toast. Caster sugar and ground cinnamon are combined in a proportion of four sugar to one (or more, to taste) cinnamon.
Is used extensively in baking. Cocoa is usually sifted in with the dry ingredients so it is distributed evenly. Unsweetened cocoa is the best for baking. It is rich and dark in colour.
Used to thicken products such as sauces and desserts, or it can be used in some baked products.
Professional quality chocolate that is extremely smooth and glossy. It contains a minimum of 32 percent cocoa butter.
Cream is used extensively in baking, either as part of a mixture or whipped to decorate.
Cream Of Tartar
It acts as a raising agent when combined with bicarbonate of soda. Sometimes it is used to help stabilise the beating of egg whites, as in meringue.
“Cream together” means to beat one or more ingredients, usually butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Electric, hand held beaters or a whisk can be used.
A liquid thickened by the denaturing and coagulation of egg proteins. Stirred custard is cooked to a creamy, pourable consistency by stirring it in a pan on the stovetop. Baked custard is cooked to a gel-like consistency in an oven using a water bath.
A stiff mixture of flour and water that is pliable and workable as a soft solid.
Means to cover lightly, usually referring to icing sugar or cocoa powder that is sifted over the top of a cake or pie for presentation.
Increase in volume when whisked, due to the entrapment of air. To successfully whisk by hand or beat with electric beaters, make sure all utensils are spotlessly clean and free of grease and that the bowl is deep enough to hold the volume of whisked whites. The whisked whites are folded into the mixture just before baking. Egg whites for making meringues and pavlovas should always be at room temperature.
To remain freshness, eggs should be refrigerated. Bring them back to room temperature when making sponges and other baked goods as this produces a cake with better volume.
The mixing of two or more liquids that normally would not stay together, such as oil and water. Emulsions form when the liquids are combined along with an emulsifier and energy.
Essences are concentrated flavourings that enhance the taste of food. Vanilla essence is a common flavour used in the baking of cakes and biscuits.
Gas (such as air) dispersed in a liquid. Whipped cream is an example of a foam, as is ice cream.
Combing a delicate mixture with a heavier one by using a metal spoon in a cutting action, cutting down through centre and bringing bottom mixture to top. Used for additions of whipped cream and beaten egg whites.
The process by which starch granules cook. When placed in a liquid and heated, starch will absorb moisture, and then swell and soften. Gelatinization occurs at different temperatures for different starches, but the most food starches this occurs between 57ºC (135ºF) and 71ºC (160ºF).
An elastic network of proteins formed when water and wheat flour are combined. Wheat is the only grain with sufficient quantities of the specific proteins-glutenin and gliadin – needed to produce gluten.
It is a thick, sticky syrup with a deep golden colour and distinctive flavour. It is used in the baking of gingerbread and tarts. It can be substituted for treacle in baked goods.
A very grainy frozen dessert also known as an ice; made with water, sugar, and liquid flavourings such as fruit juice or coffee.
A combination of ice and cold water into which a bowl or stockpot is submerged in order to cool the contents quickly.
Used in the making of icings including buttercreams and to decorate cakes.
Solid chocolate made with vegetable fats rather than pure cocoa butter.
To extract flavours into a liquid by steeping.
The natural sugar found in milk; it is a disaccharide.
Leaveners or Leavening Agents
Anything that causes a baked good to rise; it includes steam, air, and products that create carbon dioxide gas such as baking soda and yeast.
Can replace butter, giving a similar result. Extra flour may need to be added in some baked recipes to give the required consistency.
A highly seasoned liquid usually containing an acid. Food is marinated (soaked) in marinades before cooking in order to add flavours and improve its texture.
Marzipan is a mixture of almond past (meal), egg white and icing sugar. It is mainly used by rolling out thinly to cover fruit cakes before they are finished with a layer of royal icing. Marzipan can be shaped, then tinted with food dyes to resemble fruits, and used to decorate cakes.
A heating method that cooks food with radiation generated by a special oven. The waves’ non-ionizing radiation agitate water molecules in the foods, creating friction and heat; this energy then spreads throughout the food by conduction.
A specific type of caramelisation in which protein and fat react with sugars to aid in the browning process.
The process in which grains are cleaned, hulled, cracked, and sifted in order to break down the seed into the germ, bran, and endosperm.
Is a blend of ground spices, usually allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. It adds a lightly spicy flavour to cooked fruit such as apples, and to cakes, fruit cakes, puddings and biscuits.
Any of five classical French sauce preparations, which are used to produce a myriad of other sauces known as small sauces. The five mother sauces are veloute, béchamel, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato.
The process of growing food, both plants and animals, using no chemical herbicides, pesticides, hormones, or GMO’s.
The process of completing the internal cooking of food in an oven after it has cooked sufficiently on the surface through another method, such as searing, grilling, or sautéing.
The percentage of air churned into ice cream. A 100 percent overrun means that the final product will be 50 percent air.
Rich, creamy starch-thickened custard cooked by the stirring method. It is used to fill tarts, éclairs, and other pastries.
Mashed, strained, or very finely chopped vegetables or fruits. The term is used as both a noun (the raspberry purée) and a verb (to purée the raspberries).
Heating a liquid to evaporate its water content. Chefs speak of reducing a mixture by one half, one third, or some other fraction, meaning that the finished product is one-third, or some other fraction, meaning that the finished product is one-third less than what you began with. If heating continues until the pan is nearly dry, it is call au sec. Reduction is a way to concentrate flavours.
Eggs and sugar are beaten, either with an electric beater or hand whisk, until the sugar has dissolved and the egg becomes pale and firm with very small bubbles. The beater or whisk will leave a raised mark on top of the mixture when the ribbon stage is reached. The term is used when sponge cakes are being made. The result of the beating is a very light aerated cake.
1. A cooking method for grains (especially rice) in which the grains are first lightly sauteed in fat, and then liquids are gradually added. The mixture is simmered with nearly constant stirring until the still-firm grain merges with the liquid, creating a creamy but toothsome dish.
2. The finished dish prepared by the risotto method
One that contains the maximum amount of a substance that can be dissolved and still have a stable solution.
A thickened liquid used for seasoning food.
To cook in a pan over very high heat using a very small amount of fat as the cooking medium. Pan-frying uses a similar process but the food is cooked in more fat.
A dry-heat cooking technique in which the surface of a food is browned quickly over very high heat; often done to add colour and flavour as the first step in a combination cooking method.
A frozen dessert made with fruit juice, sugar, water, and some milk or cream. It is not as smooth as ice cream, nor as granular as sorbet.
To pass through a mesh to get an even consistency.
To pass dry ingredients through a mesh to remove lumps and/or foreign matter, or to mix evenly.
A mixture of sugar and water. Syrups may be light, medium, or heavy, depending upon sugar concentration.
The temperature at which a fat burns. Saturated animal fats tend to smoke at lower temperatures than vegetable oils.
A frozen dish made with pureed fruit or fruit juice and sugar. Because it contains no dairy products, sorbet forms ice crystals that are larger than those in ice cream; it is slightly gritty or granular.
A polysaccharide composed of hundreds of thousands of connected sugar molecules.
A moist-heat cooking method in which food is cooked by direct contact with the hot steam rising off of a boiling liquid; the food is placed in a basket or rack above a boiling liquid in a covered pan.
Stiffly Beaten Egg White
Beaten until peaks formed will hold their shape, but tips bend over. Mixture should be glossy.
A clear, unthickened liquid flavoured meat, poultry, or fish bones, aromatic vegetables, and seasonings.
Straight Dough Method
A one-stage process for making bread in which all of the ingredients are simply combined and mixed.
There are several types of sugar. The most common one used is white sugar. Other types used are: Brown sugar, Raw sugar and Demerara sugar. Sugar is used extensively in baking as it adds flavour, taste and moisture, and has a tenderising effect. (When measuring Brown sugar, it needs to be firmly packed so that the sugar will hold the shape of the cup when tipped out).
Blend of concentrated refinery syrups and extract molasses. It is used in baking to give a distinctive colour and flavour. It also adds moistness and keeping qualities to a baked product. Golden syrup can be substituted in baking.
A sweet mellow vanilla flavoured sugar, made from processing two vanilla beans with 1 cup of caster sugar. Ideal for use in baking where a subtle flavour of vanilla is required.
An oil-and-liquid emulsion typically used to dress salad greens.
Whole kernels of wheat. When the berries are broken into different-size fragments, they are called cracked wheat.
Microscopic fungi that eat sugars and produce carbon dioxide and alcohol through a process known as fermentation.
Zest or Rind
Is the outside rind of any citrus fruit. Grated or shredded rind is used to flavour cakes, biscuits, syrups and doughs.