Baking Terminology

In my blog posts, I try my best to explain each step of the baking process. However, if you are new to baking sometimes reading recipes can be confusing especially if they are peppered with jargon. So I have decided to write an A-Z list of common baking terminology to explain the jargon and make baking so much easier.

Photo by Calum Lewis on Unsplash

A

Almond Flour – Is made from ground almonds. It may also be known as ground almonds depending on where in the world you live.

B

Bake – Cook with dry heat in an oven

Bake Blind – Is when you bake the crust of a pie or tart without the filling. Normally you would prick the bottom of the crust with a fork before filling it with baking beans or rice.

Baking Powder – This is a raising agent which is normally used in cake-making. It is made from bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar plus corn flour. Baking Powder is activated when a liquid is added producing carbon dioxide and forming bubbles which causes your mixture to expand or rise.

Balloon whisk – This is the most common type of whisk, with wires formed into large wide loops. This is a great baking tool for whisking egg whites.

Batter – A mixture of eggs, dairy, flour and other ingredients for example when you mix all your ingredients together to make a cake it is known as cake batter. Depending on the recipe but most cake batters are liquid and are pourable.

Beat – Stirring together ingredients very quickly to incorporate air. This is normally achieved using a fork, whisk, or electric mixer.

Bicarbonate of Soda – This is an alkali which is used as a raising agent when making soda bread and cakes such as gingerbread, fruit and carrot cake. Unlike Baking Powder, Bicarbonate of Soda needs an acid to activate it. It is often combined with yoghurt or buttermilk.

Black Treacle – May also be known as Molasses. It is a thick dark syrup which comes from refining sugar.

Boil – To heat the liquid until it reaches boiling point. For example, water boils at 100C.

Bread Flour – May also be known as strong bread flour is a high protein flour. It is normally around 13% protein and can be used to make bread, rolls or pizza dough.

Bundt Cake Tin – This is a cake tin that is shaped into a distinctive doughnut shape. The tin tends to have fluted or grooved sides but it also has a “chimney” in the middle which leaves a hole through the centre of the cake.

Buttercream – This may also be known as American Buttercream or ABC and is the most common way to decorate a cake. It is made using icing sugar and butter mixed together.

C

Cake tins – A metal container which you bake your cakes in. Cake tins can come in many shapes and sizes.

Caramelise – Cooking sugar until it turns brown and to caramel.

Caster Sugar – Is commonly used in baking cakes, cookies and cupcakes. It is a finer sugar and dissolves easily.

Cocoa powder – An unsweetened chocolate powder created after the cocoa butter is removed from the cacao bean during processing. This adds a chocolate flavour to your bakes.

Combine – Stir ingredients until they are mixed and there are no clumps of any one ingredient left.

Cookie Scoop – These are a spring-loaded scoop that helps you measure cookie dough and cake betters. You could also use an ice cream scoop.

Cooling Rack – May also be known as a wire rack is used to cool your bakes down on. Because the rack is made from wires it allows the air to circulate freely and cool your bakes down.

Corn flour – This may also be known as cornstarch or maize starch. It is used to thicken mixtures like soups. It is also used in baking as when cooked provides a sweet taste to your cakes, cupcakes, muffins etc.

Cream – Beating together butter and sugar to incorporate air. The butter should had a light, creamy texture and should be paler in colour.

Cream of Tartar – Also known as potassium bitartrate and is used in baking to stabilize egg whites and whipped cream. It may also be used to prevent sugar syrups from crystallising.

Crumb Coat – This is a thin layer of buttercream which seals in any crumbs before decorating a cake.

Curdling – This can happen when a liquid separates and forms lumps.

D

Dark Chocolate – A form of chocolate containing cocoa solids but does not contain any milk or butter.

Desiccated Coconut – Dehydrated coconut.

Drizzle – Pouring a thin stream of liquid over food.

Dry ingredients – Ingredients that are dry and don’t contain any moisture. For example, flour, sugar, cocoa powder

E

Egg Wash – This is eggs that have been beaten. You can also add milk or water to them. A recipe may call for you to brush a layer of the beaten egg over the top of your food.

Egg Whites – The white or clear liquid contained within an egg.

Egg Yolks – The yellow centre of an egg.

Essence – An artificial flavouring.

Extract – A natural substance that has been extracted straight from the source. For example, vanilla extract comes straight from vanilla pods.

F

Fold – Gently mixing dry ingredients to liquid ingredients. Normally done using a whisk or rubber spatula.

Fondant – An icing used to decorate cakes.

Food processor – A motor-driven appliance which has multiple uses in baking. Normally, it is round and has a blade in the centre.

G

Ganache – A mix of chocolate and cream to which is used as a glaze or icing.

Glace Cherries – Candied cherries. Normally maraschino cherries that are candied in sugar syrup.

Gelatin – is an ingredient derived from collagen taken from animal body parts. It is translucent, colourless and flavourless. Can be used as a stabilizer, thickener or texturizer in food.

Golden Caster Sugar –  This is caster sugar with added molasses. It can be substituted in recipes for caster sugar and will give a recipe a slightly caramelly colour.

Golden Syrup – Is a thick amber coloured liquid. Made in the process of refining sugar cane.

Granulated Sugar – Made from cane sugar this sugar is commonly used in North America and Europe.

Grease – To lubricate or oil something. In baking, you may grease a cake tin with butter.

Greaseproof paper – A water tight paper that is used in baking. It may also be known as parchment paper.

Ground Almonds – May also be known as almond flour or almond meal. It is made from ground sweet almonds. Normally used to make marzipan or macarons.

H

Hand Mixer – A mixer which is held. It contains a gear driven mechanism which rotates a set of beaters to mix food or liquids.

I

Ice Cream Scoop – A kitchen utensil that is made to form ice cream into a smooth ball shape.

Icing Sugar – Depending on where in the world you live this may also be called powdered sugar or confectioners sugar. It is finely grounded granulated sugar. Maize starch or tricalcium phosphate is also added to absorb moisture.

Icing Smoother – A tool used when smoothing buttercream. It is normally made of metal or plastic and has a smooth flat edge.

Italian Meringue Buttercream – A thick and creamy frosting made using whipped egg whites, sugar syrup and softened butter.

J

K

Knead – Massaging, stretching, pulling and folding dough normally for bread.

L

Loaf tin – A rectangular tin which is commonly used for baking bread.

Loose based Tin – A cake tin with a loose base, that once the cake has been baked can be pushed upwards to remove the cake from the tin.

Light Brown Sugar – White sugar that has been flavoured with molasses. When used in baking can give a caramelly flavor and colour to bakes.

M

Measuring Jug – A jug or cup marked with graded amounts.

Measuring Spoons – A set of spoons used for measuring ingredients either dry or wet.

Milk Chocolate – Made from cocoa, sugar and milk. It is a sold form of chocolate.

Mixing Bowl – A bowl which comes in many sizes that can be used for mixing ingredients.

Muffin Tin –  May also be known as a cupcake tray. Is a baking tray which normally contains 6 or 12 cups that muffins or cupcakes can be cooked in.

N

O

Offset Spatula – A long narrow metal blade with a plastic or wooden handle. The long blade makes it easier to smooth cake batter into the corners of a cake tin.

Oven Thermometer – A utensil used to check the temperature of the oven.

Oven Trays – May also be known as a sheet pan is a flat rectangular pan used in the oven.

P

Palette Knife – A flat metal blade used to spread the buttercream onto a flat surface.

Piping Bags – Shaped like a cone or triangle is a bag that is filled with buttercream and squeezed. It is used to decorate cakes, cupcakes and cheesecakes.

Piping Tips – May also be known as a piping nozzle are used in cake decorating to add designs to your cakes using buttercream.

Plain Flour – Contains around 75% of wheat grain and is commonly used for cakes, pastries and biscuits.

Preheat – Turning the oven on to allow it to heat to the desired temperature before baking.

Proving – Where a dough is left to rest and rise before baking.

Pulse – When you press a button on a blender which stops when you stop holding it. It makes it easier to control when blending ingredients.

Q

R

Rolling Pin – A cylinder utensil used to shape and flatten dough.

Royal Icing –A white hard icing made from beaten egg whites, icing sugar and lemon juice.

Rubbing in – Rubbing butter into small pieces and rubbing them into flour using your hands.

S

Scales – Used to measure the weight of ingredients or other food.

Self-Raising Flour – A combination of plain flour, baking powder and salt. Used when making cakes the baking powder helps the cake to rise.

Sifting – Normally used to break up clumps of flour or another dry ingredient by pushing it through a cup with a fine strainer at one end.

Simmer – Bringing a liquid to a temperature slightly below its boiling point.

Skewer – A long piece of wood or metal used for holding pieces of food together.

Soft Peaks – Whipping a mixture normally cream or eggs to the point that the hold there own shape when the whisk is lifted. They are soft and melt back into the mixture after a few minutes.

Spatula – A utensil with a flat blunt blade used for mixing and spreading things.

Springform Tin – A cake tin which has a clip on the side that allows the sides of the tin to be removed.

Sprinkle – To scatter something over food.

Square cake tin – A tin in which cakes are baked that is shaped like a square.

Stiff Peaks – Whipping a mixture normally cream or eggs to the point that they hold their own shape in peaks which do not collapse when the whisk is lifted.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – A type of frosting made from cooked egg white, sugar, butter and flavourings such as vanilla.

T

Tbsp – This stands for tablespoon and is used when measuring ingredients.

Tsp – This stands for teaspoon and is used when measuring ingredients.

Turntable – A turntable is a rotating surface that you can place your cake on to decorate.

U

Unsalted Butter – Butter in its purest form. It contains no salt.

V

W

Whisk – A kitchen utensil used to blend, beat and incorporate air into a mixture.

White Chocolate – Made from cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids and occasionally vanilla. It is a bar of chocolate which is white in colour.

Wooden Spoon – A spoon with a large handle made from wood used in food preparation.

X

Y

Yeast – A leveling agent which causes bread to rise by converting the fermentable sugars ni the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol.

Z

Zest – Grating the outer skin of citrus fruit.

I have tried to include as many baking terms as I can think of but if you can think of any more that aren’t included in this list please let me know. You can contact me either using the Facebook messaging icon in the bottom right of this page. You can also find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or you can email me at aspoonfulofvanilla@outlook.com

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