We have been creating lots of baking related blog posts and we feel that we also need to help aspiring bakers out there by giving you a handy guide of the most common baking terms out there so in case you encounter terms that are confusing, you can always use our guide as your reference.
Common Baking Terms
Aerate- Incorporating air during the production process to increase volume.
Aged egg whites – Normally used in baking French macarons. Process of separating egg whites from yolks, storing in a loosely covered container for 24-48 hours
Bake- A method of cooking food using an oven to surround food in heat.
Bain-marie – Water bath. Its a pan of hot water over a container for the purpose of cooking via indirect heat.
Blind Baking- Term given to the process whereby the pastry case is partially or completely pre-baked without the filing. This technique is used when you have filling that has little to no cooking. Specially used in baking pie crusts by placing beans on top of the dough which serves as weights.
Beat- Stirring ingredients together to incorporate air. When a recipe says you beat the ingredients, that means you have to use the paddle attachment when using a stand mixer.
Blend- Mixing two or more ingredients to produce a single product
Bloom – term used normally for gelatine by soaking it in water for a few minutes.
Brulee – Any food that is sprinkled with sugar, which is baked or torched to caramelize the sugar forming a hard crust
Caramelize- Heating sugar to the point it changes to a brownish color with a syrupy consistency
Creaming- Term used to describe the beating of sugar and softened butter together producing a lighter and aerated mixture.
Curdling- Popular in cheese making.Process of separating a food mixture into its component parts. Usually achieved by adding a catalyst like yeast.
Cut In- Incorporating butter into flour until the consistency is small and granular, resembling sand particles. This is done by two knives in a criss cutting motion.
Double Boiler – by using 2 pans of the same size on top of each other with water inside the bottom pan. In baking, this is commonly used in melting chocolate but also is a cooking technique to steam dumplings.
Drizzle- Pouring a thin stream of any kind of liquid to food.
Dusting- Process of coating a surface with some dry substance like flour or sugar.
Emulsion/Emulsify- Process of combining oil and water these two liquids dont mix well and sometimes an emulsifier is used to retain the mixture.
Fermentation- Fermentation is the chemical change happening in food during the baking process wherein enzymes like yeast leavens a dough and helps add flavor. In baking it is the first stage in which bread dough is allowed to rise before being shaped.Fold-in
Glaze-To coat food with a liquid, icing, or a jelly before or after the food is cooked.
Grease- To rub fat on the surface of a pan or dish to prevent sticking.
Icing-. Icing is a term used both for the action of covering a cake and for the covering itself (cake icing) which is also called frosting.
Infuse- Soaking an item in liquid to extract the flavor.
Knead- Kneading is the process of working dough with the heels of one’s hands, pressing and folding it and turning it a quarter of a turn after each time the dough is pressed and folded.
Leaven- The process of adding a substance to bread dough (and other baked goods) that enables the dough to rise
Line – Line your pan means place parchment / greaseproof paper on your pan
Pasteurized egg whites- Process of pasteurization (sterilization via heat) to kill bacteria leading to foodborne illnesses. Not the easiest to whip but can still be achieved by adding cream of tartar or some lemon juice
Piping-Decorating technique created using a decorating bag and using various metal decorating tips. .
Pre-heat oven- Cooking process by setting the oven to desired temperature before placing the food item inside ensuring that food cooks quickly. Pre heating ovens is especially crucial if working with food with yeast, baking powder and baking soda that reacts quickly in heat.
Proof- Allowing bread/dough that has yeast to rise before baking. Proofing doung involves covering and placing dough in cool dry place/sometimes refrigerate allowing yeast enough time to interact with the flour to produce Co2 and let the dough rise.
Ribbon Stage- Baking term that describes the stage that is reached when beating eggs together with sugar. It is when the batter forms a flat ribbon falling back upon itself when the electric mixer beater is lifted. Or when a whisk, spoon or your finger is moved through the mixture leaving a trail behind that is visible for a couple of seconds before disappearing back into the mixture.
Rolling Boil- When water in an open saucepan reaches boiling point and all of the liquid is moving with bubbles continually rising and breaking on the surface.
Rest- Also called carry-over cooking. This is when cooked/baked food is removed from a heat source to let the internal temperature to rise and let the food continue cooking.
Scald- Heating a liquid to almost boiling
Sift / Sieve- Process of passing dry and mostly powdery ingredients like flour, cocoa and sugar thru a sieve to aerate and remove lumps.
Simmer- Slowly cooking liquid under low heat until it forms bubbles
Soft Peaks-Egg whites or cream that has been whipped to the point at which a peak will bend or slump over to one side.
Stiff Peaks-Egg whites or cream that has been whipped to the point at which a peak will stand completely erect.
Stir-Using a spoon or ladle to mix liquid ingredients together in either in a circular or figure 8 motion
Temper/ing- The process of heating chocolate to produce a glossy sheen. It allows the sugar crystals to align together to produce a crunchy texture as well
Trimming-– Formed when cutting or shaping pastry or dough
Wash- Coating a food item using egg/water/milk during the pre baking process. Term can also apply after the baking process using icing or a glaze on a food item.
Whip-To aerate liquids using a rotary beater or a whisk to usually increase the volume
Whisk- A kitchen tool made of wire loops that tends to add air as it mixes substances together.
Zest-Zest is the thin, outer skin of a citrus fruit. It is fragrant and removed with a paring knife, vegetable peeler, or citrus so that it can be added to baked gods for a citrus flavor.