The Baker's Dictionary: A Guide To Baking Terminology
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When you first begin baking, you will come across a number of concepts that at first glance could seem like a confusing web of culinary jargon. To produce delicious baked goods, every stage of the baking process is crucial, from the crucial aeration method to the construction of firm peaks. Understanding these terms will enable you to enter a world where precision and a passion for baking together, regardless of your level of baking experience. Discover these fascinating terms to elevate your baking abilities to a whole new level.


Also known as aeration, this is the technique of enabling air to be mixed into materials to give them additional volume and/or lightness. Sifting flour, for instance, eliminates lumps and provides air, giving the flour and usually, the food item made with it a lighter texture and consistency. The volume can be increased by beating egg whites or by whipping butter, which both introduce air.


In the realm of cooking, a bain-marie (pronounced bane mah-REE) is just a fancy term for a hot water bath. It is frequently used to prepare delicate dishes like custards, producing a uniform cooking procedure by gently heating the food around it. The most popular use of a bain-marie is presumably in the setting for crème brûlées. This method aids in keeping the custard tops from cracking while keeping the interior soft.

Bread Flour

It is the flour used to make bread, as the name implies, and it is manufactured from hard spring wheat, which has 13–14 percent gluten. Yeast and high protein content are essential for bread flour because they provide the bread structure and contribute to its soft, thick texture. The most common varieties of bread that use this flour are sourdough, bagels, pretzels, and even pizza dough. Since bread flour is higher in gluten, it doesn't need as much kneading or stretching as compared to all-purpose flour to activate the protein, which is the only major difference between the flours while making bread.

Confectioner's Sugar

Any sort of refined sugar that has been coarsely crushed into a powder is referred to as confectioners' sugar. It's just another term for icing sugar (in the UK and Canada) and powdered sugar (in the US). Because of how much finer the consistency is than table sugar (also known as granulated sugar), you may even hear it referred to as "10X sugar." Its texture makes it perfect for sweets, fudge, frosting, and icing. It may also be used to make cookies or as a garnish for baked goods, fruits, and desserts.


It refers to the act of decorating or flavouring food by brushing it with a very thin stream of liquid, such as melted butter or a sugar glaze. A further example of this is that chocolate syrup is frequently poured (drizzled) on cake or ice cream to enhance the presentation and flavour. Drizzling is frequently used to enhance a dish's flavour or moisture content or to showcase food in a visually appealing way. Drizzling should provide a thin, even coating of liquid over the food without overpowering any other flavours or textures.

Egg Wash

When applied to an item's unbaked surface, egg wash provides baked goods' crusts with a deep hue or glossy finish. To make it, whisk together one whole egg, one egg white, or one egg yolk with one tablespoon of chilled milk or water. When creating pastries, such as hand pies or turnovers, a wash can also be glazed over the edges to aid in sealing one crust to another. Additionally, in the traditional breading method, items like fish fillets, pork cutlets, or vegetables are dipped in egg wash and then coated with cornmeal or breadcrumbs.

Firm Peaks

Firm peaks denote a certain level of whipping. Peaks should maintain their form better than mushy peaks when being lifted with beaters or a whisk. Their ridges are more pronounced, yet their tips are somewhat curved. In recipes that call for meringue or whipped cream for stability and texture, reaching firm peaks is essential.