Basic Baking Terms Explained

Baking is not only a fun activity, but most of the time, you end up with tasty, delectable treats to share with your friends and family. But if you’ve never baked anything before, knowing where to begin can feel a little confusing – especially if you aren’t familiar with basic baking terms. 

So here’s a glossary of the most common terms used in baking to help get you started. Keep this list as a reference for your first bake, and you may even surprise yourself with how well your bake turns out! 

Baking vocabulary

Bake 

The term “bake” seems a little obvious, right? While the important thing is to remember the idea of baking, the actual definition from Google is: “cook (food) by dry heat without direct exposure to a flame, typically in an oven or on a hot surface.”

Batter

A batter is a mixture that usually consists of flour, eggs, and milk. However, many variations are out there — you could even use beer!

Beat

To beat eggs or other ingredients is to stir ingredients together rapidly. This technique is best done with a whisk, fork, blender, or mixer. 

Blend

Blending means mixing ingredients together. You want to be sure that each ingredient is mixed well and there’s as little separation between the ingredients as possible. 

Combine

Combining is similar to blending, except at this stage, the ingredients are not quite ready to be blended together completely. 

Crumb

You’re probably familiar with the term “crumb.” Crumbs are small parts of bread, cookies, etc. But, more accurately, they’re actually the makeup of air holes throughout the structure of something baked.

However, some recipes will also call for graham cracker crumbs to create a crust, or bread crumbs to top off a dish.
[Related: Essential Baking Ingredients to Keep in Your Pantry]

Dust

This isn’t about cleaning! To dust something in baking is to lightly sprinkle or coat the top of your bake with sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, flour, and more. 

Grease

Some bakes will require you to grease the bottom of your baking dish or pan to help prevent sticking. Oil, butter, lard, or cooking sprays are the most useful. 

Knead

Kneading is the process of combining dough by hand, typically on hard surfaces. Kneading involves folding the dough over multiple times and pressing down. Then, you repeat! Kneading allows the dough to strengthen and mix.

Proof

Proofing is the baking step that makes yeast dough rise. You usually do this by covering the dough and keeping it at room temperature or in the refrigerator. However, bread ovens do have proofing drawers that use water to create humidity. 

Whisk

A whisk is a useful baking utensil. Usually made of wire loops, a whisk allows air into the mixing process. Some recipes will ask you to whisk ingredients together. 

Yeast

Yeast is a microscopic organism that transforms sugar into alcohol or carbon dioxide. Additionally, it’s also what makes bread dough rise.
[Related: Basic Cooking Terms Explained]

Good Home Chef: Helping You Bake Masterfully  

Whether you’re first starting out in the kitchen or you’re looking to improve your skills, Good Home Chef has all the resources you need. From baking terms, to grocery shopping guides, to new and creative , we’ll help you master the art of cooking.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest , and then visit the Good Home Chef website! Don’t forget your oven mitts!

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