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Baker Glossary

All-purpose flour
A white flour that works for all types of baked products
Almond paste
A paste made of ground almonds and sugar, used as a filling in pastries, cakes and confections.
Bake
To cook in the oven, instead of on the stovetop. Always pre-heat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
Baking dish
A glass or ceramic container without a lid used for cooking food in the oven.
Baking pan
A metal pan without a lid that is used to cook foods in the oven.
Baking sheet
A flat metal tray used to bake cookies or rolls.
Batter
A mixture of flour and other ingredients that’s thin enough to pour (not thick and gooey like dough).
Beat
To stir ingredients quickly together until they’re all combined, either with a spoon, a whisk or an electric beater.
Blanch
To partially cook food by boiling briefly, then plunging into cold water to stop the cooking process.
Blend
To combine ingredients into a smooth mixture that’s all the same color and texture.
Boil
To heat a liquid until bubbles form, rise to the top and pop.
Brown
To cook or bake something until it turns brown.
Cake Flour
A soft wheat flour used to create tender baked goods like angel food and chiffon cakes.
Caramelize
To heat sugar until it melts and browns. Caramelized sugar is used in a variety of desserts and custards, such as flan and crème brulée.
Chop
To cut into small pieces with a sharp blade.
Combine
To stir ingredients together until they’re mixed.
Cool
To let something hot sit until it gets to room temperature.
Cream
To mix ingredients together until they’re fluffy and smooth.
Crimp
To seal the edges of two layers of dough (as in pie crusts or dumplings) with the tines of a fork or your fingers.
Cut in
To distribute a solid fat like shortening, butter or lard through dry ingredients using a pastry blender or fork.
Dash
A very small amount of an ingredient (less than the smallest measuring spoon can hold).
Dissolve
To stir a dry ingredient into a liquid until it disappears.
Dot
To distribute bits of margarine or butter evenly over a surface.
Dough
A mixture of ingredients that includes flour and is soft and thick.
Drizzle
To drip a topping or icing onto a food, often using a fork or a spoon.
Dust
To lightly sprinkle with sugar, flour or cocoa.
Flute
To press a wavy pattern into the raised edge of pastry dough.
Fold
To carefully combine heavier ingredients with light ones like whipped cream or eggs by gently mixing together, usually by running a spatula along the bottom of a bowl then lifting it toward the top.
Frost
To put a sweet topping on a cake, cookie, or cupcake. The topping is spreadable, but will stay a little fluffy.
Garnish
To decorate food items.
Glaze
To coat with a thin icing or sauce before or after a dish is cooked.
Gluten
The elastic protein present in wheat flour that gives structure to baked goods.
Grate
To shred with a hand-held grater or food processor.
Grease
To rub the inside of a pan with something that keeps baked goods from sticking – usually butter or margarine.
Ice
To put a thin, sweet topping on a baked good.
Knead
To mix together ingredients – usually with your hands – by pushing and pulling on it until it gets smooth and stretchy.
Lukewarm
Lukewarm
Marble
To gently swirl light and dark batters into one another to create a marbled effect when baked.
Mash
To beat or press a solid food to create a smooth mixture using a fork, potato masher, food mill, potato ricer or an electric mixer.
Mix
To combine more than one ingredient together.
Mixing Bowl
A bowl that is large enough to hold all the ingredients of a recipe; it’s used for stirring or blending things together.
Pack
To pat ingredients down flat into a measuring cup so that as much as possible fits inside.
Pack
To remove the outer covering of a fruit, vegetable or egg.
Pipe
To decorate a food by forcing whipped cream, frosting or mashed potatoes through a bag with a round plastic or metal tip.
Plump
To reconstitute dried food, like raisins, dried fruit and mushrooms, by soaking in hot liquid.
Pre-heat
To turn the oven on before you put something into it so that it can warm up to the right temperature.
Proof
To allow yeast dough to rise before baking.
Purée
To turn a solid food into a liquid or smooth paste using a food processor, blender or food mill.
Refrigerate
To chill in the refrigerator until a mixture is cool or a dough is firm.
Rind
The thick outer skin of foods like citrus fruit or cheese.
Rolling boil
To cook a liquid until the surface waves instead of bubbles.
Rounded teaspoon
To mound ingredients slightly in a measuring teaspoon.
Scald
To heat a liquid to just below the boiling point.
Score
To cut shallow slits in food with a sharp blade.
Shortening
A solid fat made from vegetable oils, used to create tender, flaky pie crusts and biscuits.
Shred
To cut food into short, thin strips using a grater, food processor or two forks (as with shredding meat).
Sift
To smooth out any lumps and put air into a dry ingredient, usually by using a sifter.
Simmer
To cook something on the stove so that it gets hot, but not so hot that it boils.
Soft peaks
To beat egg whites or whipping cream until the mixture forms soft, rounded peaks on the beater or whisk.
Soften
To let margarine, butter, ice cream or cream cheese warm to a state that is soft enough to blend, but not melted.
Steam
To cook food on a rack or in a wire basket over boiling water.
Stiff peaks
To beat egg whites or whipping cream until the mixture will hold stiff, pointed peaks on the beater or whisk.
Stir
To combine ingredients by moving your hand in a circle with a whisk or a spoon.
Toss
Using two spoons to combine ingredients by lifting them.
Whip
To mix up ingredients by beating them rapidly – and lightly – with a whisk or an electric mixer.
Whisk
A kitchen tool with a long handle that is made of thin metal wires shaped into loops.
Zest
The colored, outer peel of citrus fruit, used to add flavor to dishes. To remove the zest, gently grate or cut away the zest, avoiding the bitter white pith under the skin.
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