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Common Baking Terms

Baked by Alie Romano

Professional Baker and Recipe Developer

* Make sure to read the entire blog post. Every step matters, and I’ll provide helpful tips along the way!

Tool kit

Bake:  To cook with dry heat in an oven.

Batter: A flour and liquid mixture, often containing other ingredients which is thin enough to pour.

Beat: To soften hard fats by incorporating air into the mixture of dry and wet ingredients, normally done with a stand mixer.

Blend:  Stir ingredients together until combined and mixed.

Caramelize:  To cook sugar (normally sugar and water) until the sugar dissolves and turns golden to rich brown in colour.

Chill:  To refrigerate until evenly cold.

Chop:  To cut pieces approximately 1/2inch.

Cream:  To beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.

Cut-In:  To break up cold fat (butter or lard) into dry ingredients. Can be achieved with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly with a few large pieces.

Dough:  A flour and liquid mixture that is stiff enough to knead or shape with your hands.

Dust:  To sprinkle a fine powder such as icing sugar or cocoa on top of baked goods.  Normally done with a sifter.

Fold:  To gently combine two substances in  an effort not to deflate a delicate light mixture with air (such as beaten egg whites). Using a spatula, fold the bottom of the bowl up and over the top, turn the bowl 90 degrees, fold again, and repeat the process until comb. Normally the process is done without lifting the spatula out of the mixture.

Glaze:  To create a shiny surface on top of baked goods.

Grease:  To prevent sticking, coat the inside of a baking dish or pan with a fatty substance (oil, butter, lard).

Knead:  Using your hands, fold, push and turn dough with pressure until it is firm, stretchy, and no longer sticky. Kneading develops the gluten in the flour that gives strength to the breads. Normally dough is yeast-based.

Mix:  To use a whisk, spoon, or fork to combine two or more ingredients.

Pipe:  To squeeze a pastry bag (or a sturdy plastic bag with the corner snipped off) in order to force frosting or other paste-like mixtures through the tip of the bag for the purpose of decorating or creating special shapes.

Preheat:  To heat the oven ahead of time, at least 15 minutes before baking.

Proof:  Allowing bread/dough to rise or yeast to activate.

Reduce:  To boil down a liquid normally on high heat and uncovered.

Ribbon:  A stage when the batter falls into thin bands like a ribbon.

Scald:  To heat cream or milk almost to boiling.

Score:  To make shallow cuts on the surface of yeast bread to ensure even rising and baking.

Sift:  Use a sieve or flour sifter to break up lumps in dry ingredients.

Simmer:  To heat a liquid until it gently bubbles on the surface.

Stir:  To use a spoon, or whisk in a circular motion to combine two or more ingredients.

Whip:  To beat a liquid (such as cream) briskly with a whisk to incorporate air until soft or hard peaks form.   

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I'm a professional baker, recipe developer & photographer behind Baking For Friends. I specialize in classic & comforting baking. I hope you enjoy the recipes & find inspiration of your own to bring your family & friends together over home-cooked food!

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