Ever want to stop baking before you’ve even begun, because you didn’t understand the recipe?
We’ve all been there.
Whip this until it’s at medium peaks! Cream that until it’s fluffy! How about stop telling me what to do?
If you’re not in on the baking lingo, it can seem like another language, so I’ve started this list, a Baking Glossary if you will, of unfamiliar words or phrases you may come across in recipes.
Let’s demystify all that jargon, so we can get back to baking!
This is an ongoing list that I will update frequently, so feel free to leave suggestions in comments for words you’d like to see added to this glossary.
Happy Sifting !
Bain-marie: See Double Boiler.
Cream: To beat butter and sugar together with the goal of incorporating air into the mixture. Cream butter and sugar until “light and fluffy,” and your baked goods will have a lighter texture.
Crème Pâtissière: Pastry cream in French. Don’t let the accents scare you.
Cut In: Cut in refers to a method of blending cold butter or other solid fat with flour usually to make pie crust, biscuits, or scones. To cut in butter, take a pastry blender, bench scrapper, knife, or even your fingers and cut or break apart butter into a bowl or on a cutting board with flour until the butter pieces are a little smaller than pea sized.
Double boiler: A type of hot water bath, consisting of a medium-sized pot with a few inches of steaming hot water and topped with a heatproof bowl. It’s used for gently warming ingredients in the bowl like chocolate or certain custards. Also called a bain-marie.
Egg Wash: A mixture of lightly beaten egg and water or milk that’s brushed onto dough before baking. It’s helps create a shine and golden brown color on your baked goods. My egg wash recipe is usually one egg plus one tablespoon of water.
Marzipan: A stiff paste of sugar and ground almonds usually used for decorative work.
Medium Peaks: The stage at which egg whites or cream are whipped up with enough air that when a whisk is lifted up out of the mixture a peak forms and stands straight up except for the tip of the peak, which gently curls over.
Pastry Blender: A handheld tool that’s used to cut in cold butter or other hard fats into flour.
Pâte à choux: Pâte à choux is a light pastry dough that when baked, makes a crispy shell with a hollow yet custard-like interior. It’s the dough used to make eclairs, croquembouche and, cream puffs.
Proof: To let a yeast-based dough rise. When the yeast inside these doughs eats sugar, it releases carbon dioxide. That air causes the dough to rise and creates the bready texture we all know and love.
Ribbon Stage: When egg yolks have been whipped up with enough air that they triple in volume, turn a pale yellow color, and when a whisk is pulled out of the mixture and then allowed to fall back into the bowl, leaves a thick ribbon on the surface for a few seconds before melting back into the whipped yolks.
Sift: When dry ingredients like flour are pushed through a sieve or fine mesh to remove lumps and create a lighter texture.
Simple Syrup: A mixture that is equal parts water and sugar that’s heated until the sugar dissolves. Once cool, it’s a slighty thick syrup that has many uses, including adding flavor or moistening baked goods.
Soft Peaks: The stage at which egg whites or cream are whipped up with enough air that when a whisk is lifted up out of the mixture a peak begins to form but the top of the peak completely curls on itself.
Stiff Peaks: The stage at which egg whites or cream are whipped up with enough air that when a whisk is lifted up out of the mixture a peak forms and stands straight up in a point.
Temper: The act of combining hot liquids with cool or room temperature eggs. Pour a small amount of the hot liquid into the eggs and stir vigorously. Slowly add the egg mixture into the hot liquid while quickly whisking the two together.
Didn’t find the word you were looking for? Comment below, and I’ll add it to the Baking Glossary!