The Ultimate A-Z Glossary of Baking Terms

March 24, 2018 1 Comment

Common baking terms

Know the difference between creaming, folding, and beating? How about dough and batter?

Reading recipes can be especially difficult when they’re peppered with jargon. To help you along, we’ve compiled a comprehensive A-Z list of common baking terminology that’ll make baking a breeze. Don’t forget to bookmark this page for future reference, and share it with your friends! 

Check out our latest baking kits here!

Aerate

To incorporate air into something, usually a batter.

Bain-marie

Also known as a hot water bath, it is usually used to melt chocolate and butter gently and gradually over a pot of simmering water.

Bake blind

Baking the crust of a pie/tart without the filling. It can be done with a variety of methods. One would be to prick the bottom of the crust before filling it with pie weights, rice, pulses, or beans prior to baking.

Batch

Amount of bread, cookies, etc made from one bake.

Batter

A mixture of dry and liquid ingredients such as eggs, flour, and milk or water. Similar to dough but it has a much thinner consistency and cannot be kneaded.

Beat

Mixing a mixture rapidly and intensely to combine ingredients and incorporate air into the mixture. Typically done with a whisk or mixer.

Blend

Mixing two substances together so that they become incorporated together.

Bloom

For gelatin: softening gelatin using a liquid before use. Typically done by sprinkling the gelatin onto the surface of a liquid and letting it sit for about 5 minutes.

For cocoa powder: Mixing cocoa powder with hot water and stirring to remove any lumps before letting it sit for a minute or two. This will release the flavour in the cocoa particles, increasing the intensity of the chocolate flavour.

Boil

For liquids: to heat the liquid until it reaches its boiling point.

For a subject: to place the thing into boiling liquid.

Butter 

(verb) To spread/add butter onto something.

Buttercream

A type of icing used to fill, top, coat, and decorate cakes or cupcakes. Typically made by creaming butter with powdered sugar and adding any extra colourings and flavourings.

Caramelize

Process of cooking sugar until it turns brown. When sugar is heated to high temperatures, it undergoes chemical changes and breaks down. Cooking can also caramelise the natural sugars found in various fruits and vegetables such as onions.

Chop

Using a knife or sharp object to repeatedly cut something into small pieces.

Coat

To cover something with a wet or dry substance. For example, after baking, bread loaves are usually coated with a layer of butter.

Combine

To mix two ingredients together.

Consistency

The texture and thickness of a substance.

Cool

Allowing something to reduce in temperature.

Cream

Softening butter or other solid fats such as lard and mixing them with other ingredients. This technique is commonly used for butter and sugar.

Crimp

Technique of pinching the sides and tops of pie or tart crusts.

Crumb

Used to describe the small particles of cakes or bread. Usually described as tight, loose, moist, dense, etc.

Crust

The outer skin of a bread or pie. Typically hard in texture.

Curdle

Happens when a liquid separates and forms curds and lumps. Typically used to describe things like eggs, batter, and milk.

Defrost

To remove the ice or frost from something frozen by increasing its temperature.

Dilute

Thinning a liquid by adding in water or another solvent.

Dip

(verb) to immerse something into a dry or liquid mixture.

Dissolve

To incorporate a solid ingredient/food to a liquid to form a solution or mixture.

Double Boil

See bain-marie.

Dough

A thick mixture made by combining flour/meal with a liquid. Usually refers to bread or pastry dough and it is stiff enough to be kneaded and rolled.

Drizzle

The process of pouring a thin stream of liquid such as glaze or butter over food.

Dust

The process of sprinkling a thin layer of powdered ingredient such as cocoa powder, flour and confectioners’ sugar over food.

Egg Wash

(noun) Beaten eggs. Sometimes additional liquid such as milk and water are added.

(verb) To brush a layer of beaten egg mixture over the surface of food, typically to add colour after it is baked.

Emulsion

A mixture containing liquids that are immiscible such as oil and water.

Essence

For baking flavourings: an artificial substance. For example, vanilla essence is made synthetically unlike vanilla extract. Hence, it is cheaper and less fragrant.

Extract

Refers to the natural substance that has been extracted straight from its source. For example, vanilla extract is the substance that has been retrieved straight from vanilla pods.

Fold

A technique used to describe the gentle incorporation of dry to liquid ingredients. It is typically done using a whisk or rubber spatula.

Glaze

To make the surface of a food shiny by coating with a layer of sugar, butter, or any other glossy liquid.

Gluten

Name for the proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. It gives food their structure and helps to maintain their shape.

Grain

The seed(s) from a food plant such as grass and cereal crops.

Grainy

Refers to the texture of a substance - not smooth/fine, has granular bits.

Grease 

(verb) To lubricate or oil something (usually a pan) with a fat, usually butter.

Icing/Frosting

A sweet glaze used to cover or decorate food such as cakes, pastries, and cookies.

Incorporate

To add one substance to another and mix them together such that they are evenly distributed.

Infuse

To immerse/steep/soak something into a liquid to extract its flavours.

Knead

To work dough (usually for bread) by massaging, stretching, pulling and folding it.

Laminate

The process of alternating layers of dough with butter. The butter between the thin layers of dough let out steam during baking, helping the pastry puff up and rise, giving pastries such as croissants their delicate, airy and layered texture.

Light and Fluffy

Typically used to describe the final/optimal state of creaming butter and sugar.

Lumpy

Used to describe the texture of a substance - not smooth, has lumps.

Macerate

The process of softening a food by soaking it in liquid.

Mature

For food: taste has developed fully to produce a strong and rich flavour.

Melt

Heating a solid product to form a liquid.

Mince

Using a knife or sharp object to chop something very finely/into very small pieces.

Mix

To combine two or more substances together.

Mold

To pinch or give shape to something, such as bread or pie dough.

Nonstick

For pan/surface: covered with a substance that prevents food from sticking.

Oil (verb)

See grease.

Parchment

Used to line baking pans to prevent food from sticking to them.

Peel

(noun) the outer skin or covering of a food such as orange or lemon.

(verb) Removing the outer layer or skin of something.

Pinch

Using your fingers to press something (usually a pie dough) together.

Pipe

To squeeze a liquid substance (usually a frosting) through a piping bag for decorating purposes.

Preheat

Turning the oven/pan beforehand to let it come to the desired temperature.

Proof

Letting the shaped bread dough have its final rise before baking.

Reduce

The process of thickening and reducing the amount of liquid in a liquid substance through simmering or boiling in order to intensify its flavour. Opposite of dilute.

Rubbing in

Typically used to refer to the process of crumbling and breaking butter into small pieces rubbing them into flour. Usually used to make food like crumble topping and shortcrust pastry.

Score

Slashing the surface of food such as bread/pie dough, cakes and meat using a sharp knife.

Scraggly (adj)

Typically used to describe dough which is too dry, hasn’t been fully kneaded, rough, and irregular in texture.

Scrape

Using a sharp edged instrument to remove something from a surface. For example, scraping bread dough from a work table.

Shelf Life

The length of time that a product is usable, fit for consumption, and can be kept.

Sieve

Putting a food through a sieve to separate solids from liquids, or lumps from powdered material.

Simmer

The process of bringing a liquid to a temperature that is slightly below its boiling point, and letting it bubble gently.

Skin

(noun) the outer layer of a fruit, vegetable, or meat.

(verb) to remove the outer layer of a fruit, vegetable, or meat.

Sponge

Refers to the sponge and dough method for making bread, consisting of two steps. The first step is the making of a yeast starter or yeast pre-ferment (aka sponge). After the sponge is left to ferment, it will be added to the final dough.

Sprinkle

To lightly scatter something (sugar, toppings etc) over a food.

Stir

Mixing a substance by moving a kitchen utensil/tool in circular motions.

Temper

A technique used to raise the temperature of a substance gradually. Typically used for eggs and chocolate. When tempering eggs, a hot liquid is slowly added to the mixture in small amounts to prevent the eggs from scrambling.

Turntable

A cake stand with a rotating base that is used for decorating cakes.

Whisk

A kitchen tool used to blend, beat, and incorporate air into a mixture.

Yield

The amount of baked goods one can get from one recipe. Similar to batch.

Zest

Made by scraping the outer layer of the skin of citrus fruits using a grater. Used to add flavour to food.

Got any other terms that we should include? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Test yourself! 

For more handy baking tips and tricks, follow us on Instagram @bakestarters, and like us on Facebook!

Get free recipes, baking tips and tutorials sent straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter.

Put your knowledge to good use by baking something from scratch

 




1 Response

Jane walker
Jane walker

March 21, 2019

What does "pulse"mean in baking terms? Not heard of this! Thanks

Leave a comment

About This Blog

The Bakestarters blog features tips and lessons to baking in Singapore, along with useful tips when using our signature baking kits.

Our Socials


Also in The Big Bake Theory | Bakestarters

March 27, 2019

Continue Reading

December 06, 2018

Adorn your Christmas cakes with these adorable Snowmen Meringues, perfect for Christmas.

Continue Reading

July 17, 2018

Make these quick, super simple, decadent Matcha White Chocolate Truffles with just FOUR ingredients in your kitchen.

Continue Reading