Baking Glossary


The amount of water flour can hold while being made into a simple dough. *Based on predetermined standard dough consistency.


The process of incorporating air into a batter by two methods: creaming or foaming. The air expands during baking and leavens the product.


A dried, tasteless seaweed that is used as a gelatin substitute or thickening agent for soups, sauces or jellies. Agar sets up at room temperature.


Allspice has a flavor that is similar to the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. The flavor is best if stored in a whole berry form and ground just before use. It is generally used in cookies, cakes and pumpkin pie spice.

Almond Extract

The mixture of sweet or bitter almond oil and alcohol. The flavor of almond extract is very intense so a little goes a very long way.

Almond Paste

A mixture of finely ground almonds and sugar.

Angel Food Cake

A light, airy sponge-type cake made with stiffly whipped egg whites, but no egg yolks or any other fats.


Used as a thickening agent for pudding or sauces. Thickening power is stronger than wheat flour and more easily digested. Arrow root is tasteless and clear when cooked.


A cookie makeup method, in which the dough is shaped and deposited onto the baking sheet with a pastry bag.

Bain-Marie (bahn mah-REE)

A cooking technique that consists of placing a container of food over a large shallow pan of warm water which surrounds the food with gentle heat. This technique can be done in the oven or on the range top. Designed to cook delicate items such as: custards and sauces.

Bake Blind

A term for partially baking an empty pastry shell before it is filled with a liquid filling. Generally baked using pie weights so shell retains it’s shape.

Baking Powder

A leavener containing a combination of baking soda, an acid (such as cream of tartar) and a moisture absorber (such as cornstarch). Baking powder releases carbon dioxide gas bubbles when mixed with a liquid, causing a cake to rise. Double acting (most common): releases some gas when it becomes wet and the rest of the gas when exposed to the heat of the oven. Single acting: releases their gases as soon as they become wet.

Baking Soda

Also known as bicarbonate of soda, baking soda is an ALKALI used as a leavener in baked goods. Baking soda produces carbon dioxide gas bubbles when combined with an acid ingredient such as buttermilk or molasses causing a batter to rise. **NOTE: Baking soda reacts immediately when it gets wet so always mix with other dry ingredients first before adding any liquid.

Bar Cookie

Cookie method made by pouring batter or pressing soft dough into a baking pan. When baked and cooled it is cut into bars, squares or diamonds.


A semi-liquid mixture containing flour and other starches, used for the production of such products as cakes, breads and coating products to be deep fried.


To stir rapidly in a circular motion, generally, 100 strokes by hand equals about 1 minute by electric mixer.


A whitish coating on chocolate, caused by separated cocoa butter.

Boiled Icing

Fluffy cake frosting that is made by gradually pouring hot sugar syrup into stiffly beaten egg whites. Italian meringue is made in the same manner.

Bread Flour

Strong flour used for breads with a higher percentage of protein. It feels slightly coarse when rubbed between the fingers. Color is a creamy white.

Brioche (BREE-ohsh)

Light yeast bread that is rich with butter and eggs, created by the French.


A dense, chewy, cakelike cookie that is generally chocolate flavored. Also, a variety using butterscotch or vanilla is called a Blondie.

Brown Sugar

Mostly a sucrose, but also contains amounts of caramel, molasses and otherimpurities, which gives it its characteristic flavor. Keep in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out and hardening.


An icing made of butter blended with confectioners’ sugar or sugar syrup and sometimes other ingredients.


A flavor that is a blend of butter and brown sugar.

Cake Flour

Weak low-gluten flour made from soft wheat. It has a very soft smooth texture and is pure white in color.


Mixture produced when sugar has been cooked until it melts and becomes a thick, clear liquid that can range in color from golden to deep brown (320 - 350F) Soft Caramel is a blend of caramelized sugar, butter and milk or cream.


The browning of sugars caused by heat.


An aromatic spice that is part of the ginger family used in baked goods. It is spicy and sweet, but a little goes a long way.


The metric system temperature scale in which 0 represents freezing and 100 represents the boiling point of water.

Chemical Leavener

A leavener such as baking soda, baking powder or baking ammonia which releases gases produced by chemical reactions.

Coating Chocolate

A chocolate that has replaced cocoa butter for a substitute fat such as vegetable oil so that it hardens without tempering. Used for coating candy and decorating desserts.

Common Meringue

Egg whites and sugar whipped to stiff foam, also known as French Meringue.

Confectioners’ Sugar

Sugar that is ground into a fine powder and mixed with a little cornstarch to prevent clumping.

Convection Oven

A gas or electric oven that is equipped with a fan that provides continuous circulation of hot air around the food. Oven cooks more evenly, and up to 25% faster. Oven temperature can be reduced by 25 degrees and usually no preheating is needed.

Corn Syrup

A thick liquid sweetener created by processing cornstarch with acids. Corn syrup inhibits crystallization and retains moisture in products, used in frostings, candy and jams.


Cornstarch is a fine white powder that is used to thicken fruit glazes and sauces. Cornstarch becomes transparent when dissolved and brought to a boil. It must be dissolved in a small amount of cold water first before adding to a hot mixture or it will clump.


A sweetened fruit puree used as a sauce.


Natural sweet chocolate containing no added fats other than natural cocoa butter.


The process of beating fat and sugar together to blend smoothly and to incorporate air, a mixing method used for cakes and cookies.

Cream of Tartar

A fine white powder that is used as the acid ingredient in some baking powders. It is added to frostings and candies for a creamier consistency and added to egg whites before beating to improve stability and volume.

Croquembouche [kroh-kuhm-BOOSH]

Elaborate French dessert made from custard filled cream puffs that are topped with a hardened caramel and stacked in a pyramid. French for “crisp in mouth.”


A small individual-size cake that’s usually baked in a muffin pan.

Cut in

To mix a solid, cold fat (such as butter) with dry ingredients (such as flour) until the combination is in the form of small particles resembling cornmeal.


A measuring term referring to a very small amount of seasoning, can be considered somewhere between 1/16 and 1/8 teaspoon.

Desiccated Coconut

An unsweetened coconut that has been shredded and dried.


To cut food into tiny 1/8 to 1/4 inch cubes.


To reduce a mixture’s strength by adding liquid.


To incorporate a dry ingredient into a liquid so thoroughly that no grains of the dry ingredient remains evident by touch or sight (dissolving sugar into water).

Double Boiler

Double pan arrangement whereby two pans are formed to fit together and one pan sits partway inside the other, the lower pan is used to hold simmering water, which gently heats the product in the upper pan. Used to melt chocolate.


To slowly pour a liquid mixture in a very fine stream over a food product (such as glaze over a cake).

Drop Batter

A batter that is too thick to pour but will drop from a spoon in lumps.


In cooking, this term means to lightly coat a food with a powdery ingredient such as flour or confectioner’s sugar.

Egg Wash

Egg yolk or whole eggs mixed with a small amount of water or milk, the mixture is then brushed over pastries or baked goods before baking to give them color and shine.


Ingredient used to bind together substances that normally do not mix, such as oil and water. Egg yolk is a natural emulsifier (contains lecithin) and is used to thicken sauces and combine ingredients in baking. Commercial emulsifiers (xanthan gum) are used to keep baked goods from going stale.


A uniform mixture of two or more unmixable ingredients. Emulsion must by slowly adding one ingredient into the other while at the same time mixing rapidly (mixing creamed butter and eggs together).

Firm-ball Stage

A test for sugar syrup, on a candy thermometer the firm-ball stage is between 244 degrees and 248 degrees.


It describes a food with a dry texture, such as pie crust, that breaks easily into flat, flake-like pieces.

Flat Icing

A quick, simple icing made from confectioners’ sugar and water.


The process of whipping eggs to incorporate air, can be done with or without sugar added.


A Mixing technique used to gently combine a light and airy mixture with a heavier mixture (example: folding whipped egg whites into a custard).


A mixture of sugar-water-cream of tartar that is cooked to soft ball stage and can be used in a solid or liquid form. In solid form it can be used as candy or as decoration. In liquid form it can be used as an icing.

Food Processor

A kitchen appliance that is a fast and efficient way to chop, grind or puree most foods. A food processor can also be used to knead dough.

Fraise (FREHZ)

French term for strawberry.

Framboise (frahm-BWAHZ)

French term for raspberry.


Sweet, sugar-based mixture that is used to fill and cover cakes, pastries and cookies. Frosting must be thick enough to coat the food item, yet soft enough to spread easily.

Fructose (FRUHK-tohs)

Fruit sugar, an extremely sweet substance that is natural in fruits and honey.


A mixture of melted chocolate and whipping cream that can be used as a filling or icing.


An odorless, tasteless and colorless thickening agent, which when dissolved in hot water and cooled it forms a jelly.

Genoise (zhayn-WAHZ)

A sponge cake made by whipping whole eggs with sugar and folding in flour and sometimes melted butter.


A shiny coating, such as syrup, that is spread over a food product.


A simple sugar in the form of thick, clear and tasteless syrup.


The protein in wheat flour that builds structure and gives strength into baked goods.

Gianduja (zhahn-DOO-yah)

A mixture of equal parts chocolate and hazelnut paste that is very smooth and creamy.

Gum Paste

A type of sugar paste or pastillage that is used to form flowers and decorations for cakes.

Icing Sugar

Another name for powdered sugar.


Flavor is taken from an ingredient such as fruit or tea by steeping it in liquid that is hot or cold.

Italian Meringue

A meringue made by whipping boiling sugar syrup (244-246 degrees) into egg whites.


A technique used to mix dough on a table while stretching and expand the gluten strands.


Products that are used to lighten the texture and increase the volume of baked goods (cakes, cookies, breads).


A cookie made from combining sugar and egg whites into almond paste or coconut.


Temporary soaking food (usually fruit) in a liquid to infuse favors.


A light sponge cake that is baked like a cookie in a special pan that has elongated scallop shells. These cookies have a crisp outside with a light and airy inside that are best served warm out of the oven.


A paste made from almonds and sugar.


A rich triple cream-cheese from Italy commonly used in a tiramisu dessert.


To cover a cake with icing or press loose items into the sides of the iced caked (nuts, coconut, chocolate).

Meringue (muh-RANG)

A beaten mixture of egg whites and granulated sugar, can be beaten to different levels depending on use: soft peak, medium peak or stiff peak.

Mise en place (MEEZ ahn plahs)

Translation: Put in place. The preparation and assembly of ingredients, utensils and pans needed up to the point of combining and cooking.


Mixture of caramelized sugar and nuts (can also be called Praline).

Pastry Cream

A thick custard sauce containing eggs and starch that is generally cooked on the stovetop.

Pate a Choux (pot ah shoo)

Dough made by mixing flour into boiled water and butter, then beating in a high amount of egg. Used to make cream puffs and éclairs.

Pate Sucree (paht-sue-kray)

A rich, sweet dough that is used for tarts and pastries. This sugar dough is normally made by the creaming method.


Any food that is mashed to a smooth, thick consistency.


A make-up method for cookies where dough is rolled out and cut into shapes.

Royal Icing

Icing made from confectioners’ sugar, egg whites and cream of tartar or lemon juice, mainly used for decorations.


A Scottish quick bread that is biscuit-like.


Technique for tempering chocolate by adding grated tempered chocolate into melted chocolate to cool it.


Occurs when even a drop of liquid comes into contact with melted chocolate, causing it to clump and harden.

Simple Syrup

A syrup consisting of sugar and water in varying portions and cooked on a lower heat until it boils for at least a minute.


A crumbly top for baked goods consisting of flour, sugar and fat rubbed together.

Swiss Meringue

Egg whites and sugar warmed together to 120 degrees over a water bath then whipped into a stiff foam.


The process of melting and cooling chocolate to specific temperatures to prepare it for coating and molding.


A condition of muffin or cake products that have large, long holes cause by over mixing.


The outer portion of the peel on citrus fruits.