Pastry School Baking Terminology

baking terminology cheat sheet title on yellow background with brownie pie

Chapter 5

Baking Terminology Cheat Sheet

This baking terminology overview is intended to help you learn some of the most used baking language. Getting comfortable with these descriptions will help you to better understand the recipes and baking methods practiced throughout each module in the Kira Bakes Pastry School.

There is also a printer friendly version available to download here.

Aerate: to whip, sift or beat air between particles.

Bake: cook with dry, radiant heat in an oven. 

Batter: an unbaked mixture that can be poured or scooped.

Blend: stir ingredients together until well mixed.

Boil: heating liquid until bubbles rise to the surface and break. Boiling raises the temperature of the liquid and changes it into a vapor.

Caramelize: caramelization is when sugars or baked goods begin to darken and turn brown during the cooking/baking process. 

Crimp: decorative method of folding the edges of dough.

Curdling: when food separates into its component parts. 

Coat: to thoroughly cover a food with a liquid or dry mixture.

Cool: allowing food to cool to room temperature.

Dough: thick unbaked mixture of liquid and flour that can be rolled out or shaped by hand. 

Dusting: lightly cover a baked good or work surface with flour, sugar or spices.

Convection: the movement of heat through air and water currents.

Creaming: rigorous mixing of ingredients to thoroughly combine ingredients and to incorporate air.

Crumb: internal description of bread, quick bread and/or cake.

Cutting In: the process of combing a cold fat (such as butter) with flour.

Emulsion: the mixing of two unmixable liquids (fat and water) to create a homogenous mixture.

Fermenting: the process of yeast feeding on sugars and starches.

Folding: to gently combine ingredients (light mixture with a heavy mixture) by lifting them over on themselves, while retaining air. 

Glaze: coat with a sugar or chocolate based liquid.

Gluten: a protein network that forms when the proteins found in wheat (glutenin and gliadin) are combined with water and agitated. The more agitated the more the gluten forms.

Grease: using fat to cover the bottom and/or sides of a pan to prevent sticking.

Hydration: refers to the amount of water in a recipe.

Inclusions: adding ingredients to a recipe that do not contribute to the structure or function. 

  • Laminate: to fold over and roll out a dough repeatedly to create many layers.
  • Leavening: the Process of trapping gases as they form and expand in order to increase the volume of a baked product. 
  • Oven set: a method of baking custard in a bain marie in the oven.
  • Oven Spring: the last rise a bread achieves in the oven before the heat kills the yeast.
  • Par Bake: to partially bake an empty pie shell.
  • Meringue Peaks: egg whites or cream that has been whipped to the point at which a peak will bend or fall over to one side:
    • Soft peaks barely hold their shape. 
    • Medium peaks hold shape but the peaks curl at the tip. 
    • Stiff peaks stand straight up and do not curl over.
  • Proof/Proofing: to allow yeast dough to ferment (prove the yeast is alive).
  • Sabayon: an aerated egg foam mixture containing egg yolks or whole eggs. Can also contain other liquids and/or sugar.

Sift: passing flour and other dry ingredients through a fine mesh sifter or sieve. The process breaks apart lumps and aerates the mixture. 

Softened: butter that is at room temperature. Appox 65F/18C.

Whip: mixing rapidly with a wire whisk to incorporate air into a mixture to lighten and increase volume.

Whisk: wire loops that add air as it whips and combines ingredients together.

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