Baking Glossary


Angel Food Cake: a light and airy cake made with no fat, therefore is cholesterol-free. It has a fluffy, delicate texture that almost melts in your mouth

Beat: a preparation vigorously beaten until thickened. It is a term that is usually used to refer to cream and egg whites. Beating makes batters smooth and adds volume to egg whites and cream by incorporating air into them.

Blanch: to remove the outer skins of fruit or nuts. Blanching is normally done by placing the fruit, such as peaches, or nuts in hot or boiling water for about 1 minute, then immediately putting in cold water to stop the cooking process. The skins are then easily removed.

Blend: to fold or mix ingredients together.

Blind Bake: to partially or completely bake an unfilled pastry crust.

Caramelization: the process of cooking sugar in the presence of heat.

Creaming: blending fats and sugar together to incorporate air.

Double Boiler: used for applying gentle heat on the stovetop, for delicate tasks like melting chocolate, sauces, custards. Bring water (no more than two fingers height) to a simmer in the pot, and then place a glass or metal bowl over the top of the pot. The steam from the simmering water heats the contents of the bowl. The water should not reach the top bowl. 

Dough: a mixture of ingredients high in stabilizers and o en s enough to cut into shapes.

Emulsion: the combination of two ingredients that do not usually mix. Butter is an emulsion of water in fat.

Flaky: a pastry item with a light crisp texture, such as flaky pie pastry.

Foaming: the process of beating eggs (whole eggs, yolks, or whites) to incorporate air until they form a light, fluffy substance with many small air bubbles.

Folding: Incorporating a lighter mixture into a heavier one.

Ganache: an emulsion of chocolate and cream. Ganache may also be made with butter or other liquids in place of the cream.

Infuse: to avor by allowing an aroma to steep in the substance to be avored. Infusions may be made either hot or cold.

Italian Meringue: a mixture of whipped egg whites and hot sugar syrup (140°F/60°C), whipped further until shiny, and cool.

Melt: the action of melting solid foods by heating them.

Meringue: a white, frothy mass of beaten egg whites and sugar.

Mise en place: French for “put in place.” The action of preparing on and assembling of ingredients, pans, utensils, and plates or serving pieces needed for a particular dish or service period.

Mixing: the combination of ingredients.

Petit Four: a small bite-size cake, pastry, cookie, or confection. The term is French for “small oven.”

Reverse Bath: insert a small container into a larger one containing cold water. This will slowly cool the contents of the smaller bowl, in a smooth and constant way.

Room temperature: the average normal room temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F. Some baking ingredients, such as butter, are best used at room temperature.

Sift: Pass the flour, sugar, or yeast through a sieve to obtain finer textures and avoid subsequent lumps in the dough.

Tart: a shallow, usually open-faced pastry shell with filling.

Tartlet: a small, single-serving tart.

Soak: Use a flavored liquor or syrup to soak a cake so that it is provided or given consistency.

Swiss meringue: a mixture of egg whites and sugar heated over simmering water un l it reaches 140°F/60°C; it is then whipped until it reaches the desired peak and is cool.

Whip: to beat an item, such as cream or egg whites, to incorporate air.

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