Explaining Common Baking Terms and Methods

Not everyone has the opportunity to be able to have a baking tutor to guide you through a complicated dessert. When trying out a new recipe, you might come across some words that you don’t understand.
 
Here are some common baking terminology explained for beginners!
 

1. Folding

One of the most common baking terms is “Folding”. It means to mix gently by bringing a spatula down through the mixture, across the bottom, up and over top until the batter is blended.
 

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It’s different from whisking or simply mixing. Folding your batter with a proper spatula makes sure that you don’t deflate your batter. This gentle mixing method is usually used for when you are combining light mixtures like beaten egg whites with heavier mixtures like cake batter.
 
Beaten egg whites in particular is the leavening agent that deflates the easiest so it’s best to be gentle with it until your batter is ready to cook or bake.
 

2. Double Boiler Method

It is also commonly referred to as the Bain-marie method. When a recipe asks you to use the double boiler method, it means to cook with indirect heat on a stove by fitting a bowl on the mouth of a pot of boiling water.
 
The reason why you would want to use a double boiler method is because some ingredients burn or cook easily when all you may want to do is warm it up or melt it down. Examples of such ingredients are butter and cream respectively.

 

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There are a few different ways you can execute the double boiler method. The first is to simply use a double boiler pot with water at the bottom and your ingredients at the top. The other more economic path is to place a glass or metal bowl on top of a pot that you already own. The glass bowl should fit snugly on the rim of the pt with moving or slipping.
 

3. Stiff Peaks

When it comes to whipping your various different types of creams, one phrase that you will almost definitely come across is “whip until you get stiff peaks”.
 
How you will know when your cream has formed “stiff peaks” is when upon removing your whick from the cream, a strand of cream will stand up on its own.
 
Yes, stiff peaks also means that there are “soft peaks”. This is when the strand of cream falls over on itself.
 

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As a side note, you may also be asked to get stiff peaks from non-cream related ingredients as well like the previously mentioned egg whites. This is because stiff peaks are simply a standard for knowing when a particular mixture and ingredients is stable enough.
 

4. Caramelize

A term used not just in baking but cooking as well!
 
To caramelize something is to cook it until it turns a shade of golden-brown. However, in baking it is likely used literally when cooking sugar to caramel. After all, there are plenty of delicious caramel desserts that people love.
 

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The thing about caramelizing food is that there’s always a thin line between caramelized food and burnt food. So you should always pay full attention when attempting to caramelize something.
 

5. Cream

Not only is cream a common baking ingredient, it’s a baking term for a type of action as well. So it’s normal to be a bit confused if you haven’t seen it before.
 

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The phrase “cream your ingredients” is to beat your ingredients together until the mixture is smooth, soft and fluffy. The process of creaming is very important because it ensures that the ingredients are mixed thoroughly together.
 

6. Dusting

“Dusting” is a baking term that is interchangeable with “sifting”. However while sifting is a general term, dusting is used only when referring to the post-baking process.
 
You “dust” powders like icing sugar, cocoa powder and coffee powder on top of your desserts after it has cooled down. You should only do it after it has cooled down because you would be melting the powder otherwise.
 

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“Dusting” is a very simple process wherein you use a sieve and gently tap its rim to let fine powder fall through and evenly cover the surface of your dessert.
 

7. Core

The word “core” is used interchangeably with the word “pit”, though the latter is much less common. It means to take out the seeds from fruits.

 

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The act of coring fruits is used whenever fruits have hard, inedible seeds or tough and rough cores.
 
Apples are a great example of this. Apples are commonly used in baking in various different ways. Using only the juicy flesh of the fruits helps to keep a consistent texture no matter what you’re using it for.
 

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Any chef will tell you that you need to be properly armed before tackling any dish. Arming yourself with the appropriate wits to tackle the challenge of a new recipe is the first step to creating a perfectly made dessert.
 
If you have some extra ingredients leftover, read another article of ours to give you some suggestions on how to use them up here!

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