Baking Tips

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Baking Terms

Angel Food Method

A cake mixing method by folding a mixture of flour and sugar into a meringue.

Bake

To cook with dry heat in an oven or under hot coals.

Batter

A semi liquid mixture of flour or other starch, used for making such goods as cakes and bread and for coating food to be deep fried.

Beating

To mix ingredients rapidly with a utensil either by hand or with a mixer.

Blend

To combine a number of ingredients to make a mixture of uniform consistency.

Boil

To heat liquid until bubbly; the boiling point of water is about 212 degrees.

Brown Sugar

Made by mixing refined molasses syrup with granulated sugar. Light and dark brown sugars are two types available; the darker has a more intense flavor.

Butter

When using salted butter in a recipe that calls for unsalted butter, omit any additional salt the recipe calls for. When using unsalted instead of salted, add ½ teaspoon salt to recipe.

Buttercream

An icing made of butter and/or shortening blended with confectioners' sugar or sugar syrup and other ingredients such as flavorings.

Caramelization

To stir sugar in a skillet over low heat until it melts and develops distinctive flavor and golden brown color.

Chiffon Cake

A light cake made by the chiffon method.

Chiffon Method

A cake mixing method involving the folding of whipped egg whites into a batter made of flour, egg yolks, and oil.

Chill

To cool in the refrigerator or over cracked ice.

Cocoa

The dry powder that remains after cocoa butter is pressed out of chocolate liquid.

Confectioners' Sugar

Sucrose that is ground to a fine powder and mixed with a little cornstarch to prevent caking.

Creaming

Combine butter, sugar and eggs and beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. This gives cakes a fine texture.

Creaming Method

A mixing method that begins with blending fat and sugar; used to make cakes, cookies, and similar items.

Cut In

To combine butter/shortening into dry ingredients using two knives or pastry blender until crumbly.

Devil's Food Cake

A chocolate cake made with a high proportion of baking soda, which gives the cake a reddish color.

Dredge

To sprinkle thoroughly with sugar or another dry powder.

Drop Batter

A batter that is too thick to pour but will drop from a spoon in lumps.

Dutch Process Cocoa

Cocoa that has been processed with an alkali to reduce its acidity.

Flute

To make decorative indentations.

Foaming

The process of whipping eggs, with or without sugar, to incorporate air.

Folding

To blend a light ingredient into a heavier mixture with a series of gentle downward , across the bottom, then upward strokes with a rubber spatula.

Ganache

A rich cream made of sweet chocolate and heavy cream.

Garnish

To add a decorative touch to food.

Gateau

French word for "Cake".

Genoise

A sponge cake made with a batter containing melted butter.

Glaze

A shiny coating, such as syrup, applied to food, or by browning it under a broiler or in a hot oven.

Gluten

An elastic substance, formed from proteins present in wheat flours that gives formation and strength to baked goods.

Gram

The basic unit of weight in the metric system; equal to about one-thirtieth of an ounce.

Granulated Sugar

Highly refined cane or beet sugar.

Grease

To rub the inside of a pan with solid shortening to prevent food from sticking during baking. Non-stick cooking spray may be used.

Grease and Flour

To rub the inside surface of a pan with solid shortening before dusting it with flour, to prevent food from sticking during baking. After flouring the pan, turn it upside down and tap bottom to remove excess flour. If the batter being used is chocolate, cocoa may be used in place of flour to add a rich brown coating to the final product.

Hard Wheat

Wheat high in protein.

Homogenized Milk

Milk that has been processed so that the cream does not separate out.

Hydrogenation

A process that converts liquid oil to solid fats (shortenings) by chemically bonding hydrogen to the fat molecules.

Knead

To press, fold and stretch dough until it is smooth and uniform.

Ladyfinger

A small, dry, finger-shaped sponge cake or cookie.

Leavening

The process that happens when an agent, such as yeast or baking powder/soda, causes batter or dough to rise or lighten.

Liter

The basic unit of volume in the metric system; equal to slightly more than a quart.

Macaroon

A cookie made of eggs (usually whites) and almond paste or coconut.

Marble

To partly mix two colors of cake batter or icing so that the colors are in decorative swirls.

Mixing

To combine or blend evenly into one mixture. When mixing dry ingredients, use a whisk and mix by hand or re-sift.

Net Weight

The weight of the total contents of a can or package.

One-Stage Method

A cookie mixing method in which all ingredients are added to the bowl and mixed at one time.

Pasteurized

Heat treated to kill bacteria that might cause disease or spoilage.

Pastry Flour

A low-protein flour used for pastries and cookies.

Plump

To soak fruits, usually dried, in liquid until they appear puffy and swollen.

Preheating

To heat oven beforehand so it gives you steady heat at the right temperature.

Preparing Pans

To get pans ready for batter. Grease or don't grease as the recipe tells you. Butter is generally preferred because it gives a richer flavor. Non-stick cooking sprays with and without butter/flour are available to help prevent sticking. Coat with flour rotating the pan until all surfaces are covered. Discard excess flour. Your recipe may call for lining the bottom of the pan with waxed paper.

Punch Down

To deflate a risen yeast dough by pushing it down with the fist.

Reduce

To reduce volume of liquid by rapid boiling in an uncovered pan.

Royal Icing

A form of icing made of confectioners' sugar and egg whites, used for decorating.

Scone

A kind of biscuit or biscuit like bread.

Shortbread

A crisp cookie made of butter, sugar and flour.

Shortening

Any fat used to tenderize the product by shortening gluten strands or a white, tasteless solid fat that has been formulated for baking or deep frying.

Sieve

To pass dry and wet ingredients through a closely meshed metal utensil so as to separate liquid from solid and fine from coarse.

Sift

To pass dry ingredients through a fine wire mesh to remove lumps and to create a uniform consistency.

Soft Wheat

Wheat low in protein.

Soften

To allow cold food to stand at room temperature until no longer hard. (Butter, margarine or cream cheese)

Sponge Cake

A kind of cake made by whipping eggs and sugar to a foam, then folding in flour.

Sponge Method

A cake mixing method based on whipped eggs and sugar.

Stir

To combine ingredients with a figure-eight motion until they are well combined.

Streusel

A crumbly topping for baked goods, consisting of fat, sugar and flour rubbed together.

Two-Stage Method

A cake mixing method, beginning with the blending of flour and shortening, followed by the addition of liquids. Also called the high-ration method.

Whip

To briskly beat mixture until air is incorporated and it is light and frothy.

Zest

The outermost part of the rind of an orange, lemon, lime or other citrus fruit used as flavoring. To prepare zest, grate the skin from a clean, dry fruit. Be careful not to include the bitter white pith underneath the skin.

Baking tips from bakers like you:
  • Reduce your clean up time by lining pans with aluminum foil.
  • Always use large eggs unless a recipe calls for otherwise.  Check for freshness by cracking eggs individually into another bowl before adding to other ingredients.
  • If you don't have a  metal cake tester try using a strand of uncooked spaghetti.