Baking Terminology 101By: Bob's Red Mill | August 12 2018
The baking world seems to contain plethora of baking terms, baking lingo and baking terminology.
From baking measurements like spoons and cups to baking flours like tapioca and almond, there are a lot of words and ingredients to become familiar with before you dive deeply into baked goods.
Luckily, there’s no need to fear! The Bob’s Red Mill team is here. We know baking terms can be intimidating. That’s why we’ve compiled a wide list of baking jargon so you can feel confident from the second you step foot in the kitchen and put on that baking mitt, to the moment you pull your perfectly browned chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.
First, let’s start with baking measurements.
A baking dish refers to a glass or ceramic dish used for things like casseroles, cakes and breads. If a recipe calls for a metal baking pan, feel free to use a baking dish instead (just lower the temperature by 25 degrees).
A baking pan refers to a metal dish (circle, square, rectangle, etc.) that is used in the oven. You can also find these dishes in the shapes of hearts, stars and bundt pans for an extra elegant dessert. To prevent sticking, make sure to grease them with butter or cooking spray prior to pouring in your batter.
Baking stones are typically heavy and thick, and used to replicate the baking style of bread ovens that are seen in commercial bakeries.
Measuring spoons may be plastic, ceramic or stainless steel. Use them to measure ingredients like baking soda and baking powder.
Make sure to differentiate whether you are measuring dry or wet liquids (as there are different types of measuring cups for each). To easily spot the difference, dry measuring cups can be filled to the top and then leveled off with a straight edge like a knife. Liquid measuring cups tend to have a pour spout.
Next, let’s take a look at an assortment of baking flours (and when to use them)
Cake flour is made with soft wheat to produce a fine and delicate flour. It tends to be good for desserts like angel food cakes.
All-purpose flour is one of the most common dry ingredients, which refers to a regular white flour that is generally a combination of both soft and hard varieties of wheat which is commonly used for bread dough. It works for all sorts of baked products, including breads, cookies and cakes. You can find it both bleached or unbleached.
Gluten flour is often referred to as wheat gluten. It’s made by removing starch from hard wheat flour.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is ground from the wheat berry and contains both the wheat bran and wheat germ. It tends to be coarser in texture than white flour.
Almond flour is typically made from ground sweet almonds. It can be used for everything that goes on a baking sheet, such as cookies and breads to macaroons.
Gluten Free Flour
Gluten Free Flour can be used in brownies, cookies, cakes and more. Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Flour can be used as a direct replacement for all purpose baking flour.
Coconut Flour is ground from dried and defatted coconut meat. Bob’s Red Mill high fiber Coconut Flour can be used to replace up to 20% of the flour called for in a recipe.
Tapioca Flour is a grain free flour made from cassava root. It is both starchy and slightly sweet and a staple in gluten free baking. It can also be used to thicken soups, sauces and pie fillings.
Hazelnut Flour is a Paleo-friendly, grain free flour used for making baked goods (it can also be used to bread chicken or fish and is tasty when added to smoothies).
From here, let’s look at baking techniques. Because who knows the difference between crimp, mash and drizzle, anyways?
To beat, combine a mixture by whipping it (this can be done with a fork, electric mixer or spoon).
To mash, press the mixture with a fork or potato masher to make it smooth.
To plump, soak the ingredient in liquid.
To grease, coat your baking pan in cooking spray, butter or oil.
To crimp, pinch your pastry dough together using your fingers. You’ll typically find this instruction in pie recipes.
To drizzle, pour icing (or something similar in liquid form) in a steady stream over your desired ingredient. You’ll often find this in cake recipes.
To sift, remove the lumps from ingredients like powdered (or confectioner’s) sugar or flour. You can do so using a sifter or sieve.
To simmer, cook your ingredients below boiling point on a low setting until bubbles begin to form.
To marble, swirl your ingredients together. Marble cakes, for examples, mix light and dark batters.
To ice, frost your baked good. This is often seen in cookies when a thin layer of frosting is desired.
To puree, turn your food into a paste. You can do so with a food processor or blender.
To zest, use a grater to gather the outer portion of citrus fruit like lemon, orange or lime. This portion has oils and adds a beautiful aroma and flavor to baked goods.
To blend, combine two or more ingredients until the texture becomes smooth.
To knead, work your dough with the heels of your hands. You will press and fold until your dough is elastic. This method is typically used while making breads.
To fold, scoop in a downward motion and mix your ingredients gently. You can use a rubber spatula to do so.
To garnish, use small ingredients (like edible flowers or herbs) to add both decoration and flavor to the end result.
To pipe, use a piping bag or a plastic bag with a hole to add frosting to baked goods like cupcakes and cookies.
To dust, sprinkle your baked item with an ingredient like edible glitter or powdered sugar for a hint of magic.
To boil, cook the ingredient at a high temperature so that it causes steady bubbles. Rolling boil refers to a fast boil--the surface of the liquid will be entirely covered with bubbles.
To caramelize, heat and stir your sugar. Doing so will cause it to melt and brown.
If you’re looking for some simple yet delicious ways to incorporate your newfound baking knowledge into your daily routine, here are some of our favorite recipes.
These Protein Packed Peanut Butter Cookies are easy to make and perfect as an on-the-go snack for both parents and kids alike. Throw them in a lunchbox during the school year or your beach bag in the summer as a nutritious snack option. These are made with no flour—just Vanilla Protein Powder Nutritional Booster, egg, sugar, peanut butter, salt and dark chocolate chips. Put your baking terminology to use by greasing your cookie sheet before combining all ingredients in a mixing bowl until batter is smooth and the consistency is thick. From there, scoop out one tablespoonful and roll until a ball is formed. Use a fork to make the traditional crisscross pattern across the top of the cookie. Bake in the oven. Cool and enjoy!
These Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies are super simple and delicious. They’re a beautiful treat to bring to the table during the holiday, but make for a special addition to any meal, any time of year. This recipe comes courtesy of Erin Lynch from Platings and Pairings and uses just seven ingredients: unsalted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour, salt, semisweet chocolate and crushed candy canes (if desired).
Banana bread is another wonderful way to stretch those new baking skills. This recipe for Gluten Free Banana Bread is quick to make and tastes delicious when spread with butter or cream cheese and the jam of your choice. It’s made with Gluten Free Muffin Mix, water, bananas, eggs and chopped walnuts. Bake this bread and throw it in your purse or bag when you’re on the go and in need of a fast and nutritious snack.
Once you feel like you’ve mastered the art of stirring, scooping and measuring, give this elegant and gorgeous Key Lime Bundt Cake a try. It’s fresh, fruity and fantastic for holidays and parties of all sorts. Thanks to Jessica Toothman from A Million Moments for sharing her creative and tasty recipe with the Bob’s Red Mill team. Made with ingredients like Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour, fresh key lime juice and key lime zest (and good for both breakfast and dessert), it’s sure to be a hit.
Whether you’re trying to brush up on your current baking skills, or have absolutely no idea about the difference between a cup and a tablespoon, we hope this rundown of baking terminology has given you the inspiration to get messy, take risks and create a cake or two every so often.
What are your favorite baking recipes? Let us know in the comments below!