Baking Terms- An Online Glossary

All-Purpose Flour — This is a wheat flour that is made from the milling of hard wheat or a mixture of hard and soft wheat. It can be bleached or not and is often enriched with iron and the vitamins folic acid, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin. All-purpose flour is commonly used in homes for noodles, cookies, cakes, quick breads, pastries, and certain yeast breads.

Amaranth Flour — Amaranth flour is milled from amaranth seeds, and since it lacks gluten, it can only be used in yeast breads if it is combined with a wheat flour. Many people enjoy this flour due to its strong flavor that is particularly well suited for savory pastries or breads. It also gives quick breads a smooth texture.

Ascorbic Acid —More commonly known as vitamin C, ascorbic acid is added to bread flour because it enables bread dough to gain a greater volume when it is baked into a loaf.

Baking — Baking is the process of using dry heat to cook food. It is usually performed in an oven.

Baking Pan — A baking pan is a pan of any shape or size that is used to bake cookies, pies, breads, biscuits, cakes, or specialty baked goods. Today, they are usually made of light- to heavy-gauge steel, although heavy-gauge aluminum is used in the construction of two-layer, insulated baking pans. Mid-gauge aluminum is most often used for the pans that test kitchens rely upon to define baking standards such as time and temperature. See also definitions for cookie pan, nonstick, baking sheet, jelly-roll pan, and insulated pan.

Baking Powder — Baking powder is a product used for leavening that is a combination of baking soda and either citric or tartaric acid or a mixture of the two. This powder, when it is wet and hot, will react without acid from other ingredients in the food that is baked. Home-use baking powder typically has two kinds of acid, one that reacts to liquids in the baking dough and the other reacts when baking heats the product. The baked goods are made lighter via the carbon dioxide that is produced by the powder. Over time, baking powder can lose its strength, and it should be tested if it has been sitting on the shelf for a while. Good baking powder will bubble strongly when one teaspoon of it is mixed with one-quarter cup of hot water.

Baking Sheet — A baking sheet is a rigid metal sheet, often with one or more turned-up edges, that can be used to bake biscuits, breads, cookies, and other goods. There are several types of baking sheets. Dark, heavy-gauge baking pans are used to bake specialty goods with crisp crusts. Test kitchens will use shiny, heavy-gauge aluminum to bake and brown evenly. Soft-cookies, rolls, and tender-crusted breads are often baked using insulated sheets, which are two sheets of aluminum with a space for air in between them. See also cookie sheet, jelly-roll pan, and insulated bakeware.

Baking Soda — Baking soda reacts with an acid when it is wet to produce carbon dioxide and lighten baked goods. The wet, acidic ingredients that typically cause this reaction with baking soda in a batter include buttermilk, sour milk, citrus juices, chocolate, vinegar, or honey, and the reaction will begin immediately when liquids are added to the dry ingredients. Baking soda is a bicarbonate of soda that is created from trona, a mineral that is mined in Green River, Wyoming.

Baking Stone — A baking stone is a plate of stone or other unglazed, tile-like material. It can be round or rectangular, and it is used to help simulate the properties of a brick oven floor in a home oven. Place the stone on the lowest rack in the oven and only preheat the stone if the manufacturer recommends it. The food that is to be baked can be placed directly on the stone or in a pan and then on a stone.

Barley Flour — Barley flour has a sweet taste and it gives cakes, quick breads, and cookies moisture and a light texture. It is milled from hulled barley and it is low in gluten.

Beating — Beating is the process of stirring or whipping with a spoon, electric mixture, wire whisk, or beater to create a smooth mixture of ingredients.

Blend — To blend ingredients is to mix two or more of them together with a spoon or whisk or an appliance such as a blender, mixer, or processor.

  • Bloom
  • 1.) In bread, bloom is the brown color found in the crust of a well-baked loaf.
  • 2.) In chocolate, bloom refers to pale, grayish streaks or blotches that appear on the surface of chocolate that demonstrates that separation of cocoa butter from the chocolate itself. It occurs when chocolate has been stored in an environment that is too warm, but it does not mean that the chocolate is no longer usable.

Bran — Bran is the name of the outer layers of a grain kernel that are found just below the hull of the grain. Dietary fiber and other nutrients can be added to cereals and baked goods with bran, which makes up approximately 14.5 percent of all types of whole-wheat flour. The bran that results when bran layers are removed from a grain kernel during milling is known as “miller’s bran.”

Bread Flour — Bread flour is the preferred flour for those who use bread machines to bake bread. It is an unbleached wheat flour that is high in protein, which aids in the development of better yeast bread. It is good to use a bread flour that is enriched with various vitamins and minerals.

Brownie — This favorite desert is a chewy, dense, cake-like cookie that is sliced into bars for serving. Usually, brownies are chocolate-flavored and colored brown, hence their name.

Buckwheat Flour — Despite its name, buckwheat is not a relative of the grain known as wheat. Buckwheat is originally from Russia, and its distinctive flavor is treasured in pancakes and other baked goods like multi-grain breads. Appropriately, Russian blini made from buckwheat flour, as are groats and kasha. Buckwheat flour has not gluten and it is created from the grinding of hulled buckwheat seeds.

Bulgur — Bulgur refers to whole-wheat kernels after they have been steamed, dried, and cracked. Bulgur can be ground up and made into flour, or it can be soaked or cooked for addition to baked goods.

Butter — According to U.S. standards, butter is comprised of 80 percent milk fat and 20 percent milk solids and water. It is created through churning cream into a semi-solid, and it can be salted or unsalted. Bakers use butter on account of its flavor and its facility for creating crispness, flaky layers, flavors, tenderness, and a golden-brown color.

Cake Flour — Cake flour is a low-protein flour that is silky and fine in texture that can be used for pastries, cakes, cookies, and certain breads.

Canning & Pickling Salt — This is a salt that can be used just like table salt in baking. It is a pure, granulated salt that has no free-flowing agents or other additives, and it may cake if it is exposed in an environment that has a greater than 75 percent relative humidity. See also salt.

Chocolate — This favorite and familiar food and ingredient gets its name from xocolatl, an Aztec word that means “bitter water.”Many forms of chocolate are used in baking, but whether it is unsweetened, milk, bittersweet, or semi-sweet chocolate, all of these forms use a base of “cocoa liquor” that is derived from ground, roasted, and blended small pieces of the cacao bean called nibs. See also the other types of chocolate listed in this glossary.

Chop — To chop is to cut up food into tiny bits.

Cocoa Butter — The portion of the cacao bean that is fat is known as cocoa butter.

Cocoa Powder — Fermented, roasted, dried, and cracked cacao beans can be made into an unsweetened powder called cacao powder. The nibs or small pieces of the cacao beans are ground up in order to make this powder, and 75 percent of the cacao butter is extracted to form the thick paste that is known s cocoa butter. Dutch cocoa is a special cocoa powder with a neutralized acidity due to its having been treated with alkali.

Combine — To combine ingredients is to mix them together.

Confectioners’/Powdered Sugar — One of the most widely used baking ingredients is confectioners’ or powdered sugar, which is a granulated sugar crushed into a fine powder and combined with cornstarch. Only about 3 percent of the final product is cornstarch, which helps prevent the confectioners’ sugar from clumping.

Convection Cooking — Convection cooking is a method used to cook certain foods faster, and it also allows the baker to cook a larger quantity of food and use multiple baking racks all at the same time. In convection cooking, a fan will circulate heated air continually in the oven, and the thoroughness of the cooking means that convection cooking often requires lower oven temperatures.

Convection Oven — The convection oven has a fan to circulate hot air around that which is being cooked on a continual basis, allowing the baking of several products on different racks all at once. A convection oven can be either gas or electric, may not need preheating, and the temperature required to cook a product in a conventional oven can often be reduced by 25 degrees in a convection oven.

Cookie — Deriving its name from the Dutch word koekje or “little cake,” a cookie is a sweet, hand-held small cake with a flour base.

Cookie Pan —?Cookie pans are flat, rectangular pans made of rigid steel or aluminum. Its four sides will all have a lip of 5/8–3/4 inches high to keep the cookies from sliding off when it is moved. This lip also makes it easier to take the pan out of the oven. In many cases, the “cookie pans” used for home baking are actually jelly roll pans.

Cookie Sheet — Ranging in size from 10x8 inches to 20x15 inches, cookie sheets are flat, rectangular baking pans made of rigid aluminum or steel. Two of the four sides on a cookie sheet will have no raised edge in order to facilitate the removal of baked cookies.

Cool — To cool hot foods is to reduce their temperature until they are neither very hot nor very cold.

Cooling Rack — Baked goods are often cooled on a cooling rack, which is typically a rectangular grid made of thick wire with “feet” or “legs” to raise it off the countertop and allow cooler air to circulate all around the finished good. Usually, baked goods will be cooled for a short while on their pan before they are removed and put on a cooling rack. After they are done cooling on this rack, they can be placed in storage or frozen. The exceptions to this rule are yeast breads, which are usually transferred from a baking pan immediately to a cooling rack in order to keep the crust from getting soggy.

Corn Bread — Corn bread is a quick bread made from a flour incorporating 50 percent or more cornmeal. Corn bread can be thick and light or thin and crisp, and common forms of corn bread include Johnnycakes, spoon bread, and hushpuppies.

Corn Flour — Corn flour is flour that is made from the milling of whole corn. This flour has a corn flavor and is great in cornbread, waffles, and muffins, and when mixed with cornmeal.

Cornmeal — This is a medium, coarse, or fine meal made from dry degerminated or whole grain kernels of corn (yellow, blue, or white).

Creaming — Creaming is the process of mixing sugars and fats like butter, margarine, or shortening together with a mixer, large spoon, or beaters until the mixture is creamy in its appearance.

Cut In — To cut in is to use two knives or a pastry blender to combine cold fats (butter, margarine, or shortening) with flour or sugar without creaming or mixing air in the ingredients. A crumbly- or grainy-looking mixture is what results.

Degerminated — A degerminated food is a grain food that has had its germ removed in the process of milling.

Dissolve — To dissolve is to mix a dry substance into a liquid until the solids have all disappeared. Fore example, bakers can dissolve sugar into water, yeast into water, and more.

Dry Ingredients — Dry ingredients are those recipe ingredients that are dry and might need to be blended before they are added to another kind of mixture in the recipe. Dry ingredients can include sugar, salt, baking cocoa, spices, flour, and herbs.

Dry Measuring Cups — Some of the standard home-baking measuring tools used in the United States are dry measuring cups. These cups have straight sides with a handle attached to them at the top, and they come in graduated sizes including ¼ cup, 1/3 cup, ½ cup, 1, and 2 cup measurements. Usually they nest within one another for more storage. As one would expect from their name, dry ingredients like sugar, cornmeal, brown sugar, and flour are measured using these cups. These ingredients are spooned into the cup and then leveled off for measuring using a straight-edged knife or other utensil.

Dust — Dusting is the light sprinkling of a baked good or other surface with a dry ingredient like flour, meal, or powdered sugar.

Eggs — In baking, eggs can perform many tasks for a recipe, including thickening, binding, leavening, coating, glazing, moisturizing, drying, or emulsifying. They also introduce flavor, color, and nutrients into the baked good, or they can be used in frostings to slow crystallization. The standard-size egg called for in most recipes is large, unless the recipe says otherwise.

Egg Wash — An egg wash is a mixture that gives a rich color or gloss to the crust of a baked good when it is brushed on the unbaked surface o the product. It is made from combining one whole egg, egg white, or egg yolk with one tablespoon cold milk or water.

Fermentation — Fermentation is the chemical change in a food during the baking process in which enzymes leavens a dough and helps add flavor. In baking it is the first stage in which bread dough is allowed to rise before being shaped. Fermenting agents include yeast and other bacteria and microorganisms.

Flour — The major ingredient in the vast majority of baked goods, flour can be made from many different kinds of grains and other substances like beans, legumes, seeds, corn, oats, soybeans, teff, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, rye, spelt, and more. Wheat flours, however, are by far the most common flours used in baking.

Focaccia — Focaccia is an Italian bakers’ snack whose name comes from the Latin term focus or hearth. Originally, focaccia was baked on a stone hearth.

Gluten — This protein is found in wheat and various cereal flours. Although some people are allergic to it, gluten makes up the structure of the bread dough and holds the carbon dioxide that is produced by the yeast or other substance during the fermentation process. When flour is combined with liquids, gluten develops as the liquid and flour is mixed and then kneaded. Formed from the proteins glutenin and gliadin, gluten provides the elasticity and extensibility or stretch for bread dough.

Gluten-Free — Some people are allergic to gluten, but there are many ways to bake without producing the gluten protein. Gluten-free flours include rice, corn, soy, amaranth, and potato flours. Stone-ground, graham, or whole-wheat flours made from hard or soft wheats or both kinds are also usable. These are produced through the milling of whole-wheat kernels or combining white flour, bran and germ. Even though these gluten-flours may differ in coarseness from their gluten counterparts, the nutritional value is virtually the same.

High-Altitude Baking — Baking in environments at higher elevations require adjustments in ingredients and temperatures to produce the same results as baking that occurs in lower altitudes. When cooking is done at an elevation greater than 3,000 feet, amounts of liquids, leaving agents, and sugar, as well as oven temperature may need to be changed.

Honey — Produced from flower nectar through the work of bees, honey is an all-natural sweetener that produces a golden-colored curst and holds moisture in different baked goods. Its color and flavor will vary according to the nectar that the bees use.

Ice Cream Salt — The coarse solar or rock salt used to help freeze ice cream should never be used in baking as it is not food grade. See also salt.

Instant-Read Thermometer — This is a stainless-steel probe thermometer that will register a temperature almost immediately when it is inserted into a mixture, dough, liquid or meat. Bakers typically use it in the baking of yeast breads.

Insulated Bakeware — Insulated bakeware is metal bakeware that is made up of two layers of metal with layer of air in between. Typically, insulated bakeware results in more consistent baking results than when it is done with its non-insulated counterpart. The bottom crust also tends to have less browning. When insulated bakeware is used, longer bake times may be needed for most baked goods, though the temperature will not need to be adjusted. Cakes and brownies made in such insulated pans, however, will require a temperature 25 degrees higher than that which the recipe lists.

Invert Sugar — Used in fondant icings for cakes, invert sugar is sugar syrup that has been slightly heated and exposed to small amount of acid in order to break up sucrose into fructose and glucose and reduce crystal size in the sugar.

Jelly-Roll Pan — Known commercially as a “half-sheet pan,” a jelly-roll pan is a rectangular baking pan with a one inch edge and dimensions, usually, of 18x13 inches. Jelly-roll pans that are used for home baking come in a variety of sizes, and perhaps the most common one recommended in recipes is 15½x10½x1. Usually, a jelly-roll pan is used to bake sponge cakes, bars, or sheet cakes, and it derives its name from the fact that the sponge cake for a jelly-roll cake is baked in this kind of pan.

Kneading — Kneading is the process of working dough with the heels of one’s hands, pressing and folding it and turning it a quarter of a turn after each time the dough is pressed and folded.

Kosher Salt — Kosher salt is used to top baked goods, kosher meat, or for recipes where coarse salt is preferred because it has a coarse-flake structure. Usually, kosher salt will not be iodized, but it may have an anti-caking agent included within it.

Leavening — Leavening refers to the production of a gas in a dough batter using an agent like baking powder, yeast, baking soda, or even eggs. Leavening agents work via the production of carbon dioxide in the dough, and long ago these agents were also known as “lifters.”

Liquid Measure — A liquid measure is a clear, hard, plastic, or glass cup that can be used for pouring because of its special lip. Most of the time, a liquid measure is a quart or pint-sized tool that is marked with lines to help measure liquids in home-baking recipes. The lines will mark the levels in ounces, milliliters and sizes of 1/8, ¼, 1/3, ½, 2/3, ¾, 1 cup, and more. When baking at home, all liquids should be measured in this cup, and the cup should be placed on a flat surface for accuracy.

Margarine — Margarine, which may be salted or not, was created as an alternative to butter in the late nineteenth century. Eighty percent of margarine is partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil to give it a solid form and the other 20 percent is made up of flavoring, coloring, liquids, and other additives.

Meal — Grains or seeds that have been ground or milled more coarsely than normal flour make up meal.

Measuring Cups and Spoons — These are spoons and other containers of different, graduated sizes that can be used to measure liquid or dry ingredients accurately in the process of cooking and baking.

Melt — To melt is to heat an otherwise solid food until it achieves liquid form. In baking, sugar, butter, and chocolate are often melted.

Milk Chocolate — Milk chocolate is made up of a sweetened dark chocolate combined with other milk solids. At least 10 percent of the product will be chocolate liquor, and the milk solids will comprise at least 12 percent of the final product.

Millet Flour — Produced from whole millet, millet flour is a low-gluten, starchy flour that is finely ground. Its texture is quite similar to that of rice flour.

Mixing — Mixing is the art of combining two or more individual ingredients until no one ingredient can be seen or identified. This is usually accomplished through stirring with a spoon.

Muffin Pans — Muffin pans are used for the baking of muffins, and they come in several different sizes and shapes. There are even pans for “muffin tops.” The muffin pan that is most commonly called for has 6 or 12 muffing cups that measure 2½ inches in diameter at the top, although there are also mini-muffin tins in 12- and 24-cup sizes. These mini-muffins are also known as “tea muffins,” and whether the muffins being baked are large or small, lining the tins with paper liners or greasing the muffin cups will produce the best results. See also insulated pans, nonstick, and baking pans.

No-Knead — Also known as “batter breads,” no-knead is a baking method for yeast breads that can be produced without any kneading.

Nonstick — Nonstick coating is a coating applied to a pan to prevent baked goods from sticking to it. It can be applied via high-temperature coil-coating before the pan is actually formed, or it can be sprayed onto the pan after it has been constructed. Nonstick coatings are usually silicone-based or PTFE-based (polytetraflourethylene or Teflon).

Nut Flour — Nut flour is made up on nut meats that have been finely ground. The nuts that are used can be either toasted or not, and the flour is used for breads, cookies, cakes, and pastry crusts.

Nuts — Nuts are the dry fruits of legumes, seeds, or trees. Made up of an edible kernel surrounded by a dry, hard shell, nuts are high in nutrients and flavor. They can have as much as 90 percent fat, although nut fats are primarily monounsaturated and very healthy. The different textures and flavors of nuts can provide much sensory satisfaction in baked goods.

Oats — Oats are made up of any grain that is hulled, cleaned, toasted, and cooked whole (groats). These groats can also be steel-cut, steamed, or rolled (flattened). Rolled oats can be made quick-cooking when they receive additional cuts, and they can be used interchangeably with other oats in baking because they are whole grains. Instant oats, however, have been more finely cut and cooked, so they cannot be used in place of normal oats.

Oat Flour — Oat flour is made up of rolled oats or groats that have been finely ground.

Oat Bran — Oat bran refers to the outer layers of an oat kernel. Oat bran is a good additive for baked goods as it is high in soluble fiber.

Oils — Liquid fats that are derived from pressing plants and their seeds/nuts are known as oils. This oil can be extracted via cold-pressing or solvent extraction, and common home-baking oils include, safflower, corn, canola, olive, sunflower, and soybean oils. None of these plant oils have cholesterol, but they all vary in the amount of poly-unsaturated, mono-unsaturated, and saturated fats they contain.

Oven — An enclosed space with parts that supply air flow and heat in order to cook. Electric elements or gas burners are used in conventional ovens for baking, broiling, or roasting, while convection ovens also include a fan to circulate heated air all around the food. Electric ovens usually have controls to cycle the temperatures of the upper and lower elements for consistent cooking temperatures. Some ovens are clean by hand (standard oven), while others are self-cleaning or continuous cleaning. Ovens can range in width from 20 to 36 inches, and they can exist as drop-ins, slide-ins, free-standing, or wall-mounted appliances. In recent years, ovens that use microwaves or halogen lights to increase cooking speed have been developed.

Pastry Flour —?Pastry flour is low in gluten and high in starch. It is usually fine-textured and soft, and it comes in bleached, unbleached, and whole wheat varieties. Soft red or white wheat is typically used in the production of pastry flours.

Preheat — To preheat an oven is to heat an empty oven to the proper temperature for the recipe before the food product is placed within it.

Proof — Proof is the amount of time that a baking product is allowed to rise after it has been shaped and placed in or on the proper pan. Generally speaking, most baked goods proof until they have doubled in size or until a lightly placed finger on the good leaves a marked indentation. A humid, draft-free location with a temperature of between 95 and 100 degrees is required for proofing, and at home a slightly damp, clean, non-terry cloth towel or plastic wrap that has been sprayed with a pan spray can be laid on the product in order to retain moisture and keep the crust from drying out. Many ovens have a proofing feature, so consult the instructions before baking.

Pumpernickel — Pumpernickel is a rye flour of medium-to-course grinding that is light brown in its color. Sometimes it is called “medium rye,” which is mixture of wheat and rye flours to produce the bread. Often, molasses will be added to the dough to improve color and flavor in the pumpernickel bread.

Punch Down — This term used in reference to bread dough describes the point at which a dough has doubled in its size or when a marked dent is visible after two fingers are lightly pressed into the dough about half of an inch. Punching down a dough can be achieved via touching the dough with the fingers, making a fist, and pushing it down into the center of the dough before pulling the dough edges into the center and turning the dough over. After doing this, cover the dough and let it rest or rise again before it is shaped into a loaf.

Quick Bread — Quick bread is a bread that can be made very quickly because not time is needed for kneading or rising in its production.

Quinoa Flour — Quinoa flour made from the grinding of quinoa grain. It is free of gluten and very nutritious. Its tender, moist crumb is favored for waffles, fruitcakes, pancakes, and cookies.

Red Wheat — The second major kind of U.S. wheat, red wheat refers to three of the six classes of wheat recognized in the United States. Its kernels have a reddish color, and it is ground into flour for baking.

Rye Flour — Rye flour is milled from the rye grain and is low in gluten. It is also darker and heavier than wheat flour, and is sold in dark, medium, and light forms for use in baking at home. Light and medium rye flour has had most of its bran removed, while dark rye flour is a whole grain flour. See also pumpernickel.

Salt — Used to add flavor to baked goods and/or control fermentation in breads, salt, also known as sodium chloride (NaCl), salt is made one of three different ways. Salt (Sodium Chloride - NaCl) can be produced three ways. It can be made through he evaporation of salt brine in shallow ponds, the mining of deposits of rock salts, or by boiling and evaporating a brine of higher purity. Soft pretzels and other unique breads are often topped with coarse salt.

Salt Substitute — Used in order to reduce sodium intake, a salt substitute is usually granular potassium chloride. Since it has a bitter taste, it is not usually recommended for baking.

Sauté — To sauté is to cook or brown food in a small amount of hot fat or oil. This softens the food and releases its flavors.

Scratch Baking — Scratch baking begins with the use of basic ingredients like sugar, butter, leavening, and flour, and makes use of a recipe, not pre-made mixes.

Sea Salt — Sea salt is a salt produced via the evaporation outdoors of salt brine in shallow ponds. The amount of refining of sea salt will vary, as will its coarseness. Sea salt is suitable for baking unless it is very coarse.

Self-Rising Cornmeal — As one of the first convenience baking mixes, self-rising cornmeal has helped shorten the time it takes for people to make cornbreads and other cornmeal-based products. Most self-rising cornmeal is a blend of cornmeal (1½ cups), all-purpose flour (½ cup), baking powder (1 tablespoon), and salt (1 teaspoon).

Self-Rising Flour — Self-rising flour is another early “convenience mix” that when used in a recipe, allows for the baking powder and salt in the directions to be ignored. It is usually a combination of 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate — Semi-sweet baking chocolate is a chocolate containing anywhere between 15 and 35 percent chocolate liquor plus sugar, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, and vanilla. Though it is not interchangeable with milk chocolate, it can be substituted for bittersweet or sweet chocolate in recipes that call for those forms of chocolate.

Semolina Flour — Also known as pasta flour, semolina flower is made through the grinding of semolina (granules) that come from durum wheat. Many specialty breads will include semolina or part-semolina flour in their ingredients.

Spreads — Spreads are solids or semi-solids in tubs or sticks containing less than 80 percent fat. They are not good for baking on account of their high water content.

Soy Flour — Hulled and roasted soybeans can be milled and ground to produce whole-grain, high-protein soy flour. This flour can be fat free, low fat or full fat depending on how it is produced.

Sprinkle — To sprinkle is to scatter small particles of toppings or sugars over a surface like cake, bread, frosting, and more.

Standard — Standards are recipes, methods, ingredients, measuring tools, and equipments that are used to produce consistent results in a particular product in home baking. Standards are a great help to both manufacturers and consumers.

Staple — A staple is one or more of the most important items, grown, sold, or made in a specific place, country, or region.

Starter — Starters are mixtures of sugar, water, yeast, and flour that are permitted to ferment in a warm location until they are foamy. These starters can be used in lieu of a package of yeast in breads, and usually a portion of two cups is the amount used. Usually this amount is taken after the mixture has been fed with more flour and water, something that needs to be done every two weeks after the starter has begun. In between feedings, the starter is often kept in a refrigerator.

Stir — To stir is to use a spoon to mix ingredients with a spoon using a figure-eight or circular motion.

Stone-ground Flour or Meal — This is a flour or meal that results from the grinding of grain between two stoners. It can be coarse or fine, though it is usually made up of whole grains.

Sugar — Though most people are not aware of this fact, sugar or sucrose occurs as a carbohydrate in every fruit and vegetable. It is the major product of photosynthesis, or the method by which plants convert energy from the sun into food. Most of the sugar used in home cooking is made in large quantities from sugar beets and sugar cane. There are several different kinds of sugar. Granulated Sugar is often called “white sugar” and is made up of fine or extra-fine white sugar crystals. Brown Sugar is made up of sugar crystals contained in a molasses-based syrup. Brown sugar comes in dark and light varieties according to the amount of molasses used, and the different forms can be substituted for one another according to taste. Confectioners’ or Powdered Sugar has been defined earlier in this list. Raw Sugar contains about 98 percent sucrose and is tan or brown in its color. Although it is often found in foods, the USDA does not consider it fit for such uses. Raw sugar is coarse and made via the evaporation of clarified sugar cane juice. Turbinado Sugar is a sugar given a light tan color via its washing in a centrifuge. Its surface molasses is removed, making it closer to refined sugar than its raw counterpart.

Table Salt — Table salt, which is also known as granulated salt, is produced through the boiling and evaporation of brine. Table salt is often iodized, and anti-caking agents are usually added to it.

Temperature — This refers to the intensity of heat occurring in a baked product, mixture, or oven. In the United States, temperature is measured in degrees Fahrenheit, although the Celsius scale is used in much of the rest of the world.

Texture — The appearance and feel of a cut part of a cake or bread.

Underproofed Loaves or Rolls —These are rolls and breads that though they have been shaped, have not attained the volume or height that is desired before they are baked.

Unleavened — This term describes baked goods that do not use a leavening agent like baking soda, cream of tartar, baking powder, or yeast.

Unbleached Flour — An unbleached flour is one that has bleached naturally in its aging process without the addition of maturing agents. It is no different from bleached flour nutritionally, and it can be used interchangeably with its bleached counterpart in baking.

Vegetable Shortening —Vegetable shortening is a soybean or cottonseed oil that has been hydrogenated in order to make it a solid. Being 100 percent fat with no additives like water, milk fat, or other solids, it is almost flavorless and good for making baked goods flaky and tender.

Wheat Flour — Wheat flour is a popular flour used for cakes, waffles, pastries, and more when it milled from soft white or red wheat or for yeast breads, bagels, certain rolls, hearth breads, and pizza crust when milled from hard white or red wheat. Home baking wheat flours (or “family flours” according to the milling industry) can be unbleached or bleached all-purpose, pastry, whole-wheat, cake, graham, and bread flours. Some breads are made from high-protein durum wheat or semolina wheat flours, but such flours are usually reserved for pasta.

Whip?Beating — Whip beating is the process of incorporating air into a food rapidly via a mixer, beater, or whip in order to increase its volume.

White Chocolate — While chocolate is a mixture of cocoa butter, lecithin, vanilla, milk solids and vanilla. True white chocolate always includes cocoa butter, and those products that do not contain it but are called white chocolate are actually more properly called confectionary or summer coating. White chocolate chips or pieces are popularly used in home baking.

White Wheat — U.S. wheat is classified into six different classes, three of which have a bran coat that is “white” or pale to amber in its color. Such white wheats include soft white wheat, durum wheat, and hard white wheat. See also red wheat.

Whole Grain — A whole grain food makes use of whole or ground kernels of grains like barley, corn, oat, wheat, and rye in its production.

Whole-Wheat Flour — Whole-wheat flour is made from the whole kernel of white or red wheat. Usually, whole-wheat flour is made in flour mills, but it can also be stone-ground in a mill. Another name for whole-wheat flour is graham flour.

XXX or XXXX Confectioners’ Sugar — The Xs on the package of confectioners’ sugar indicates how finely it has been ground. Four X sugar is slightly finer than 3 x sugar, but the two different kinds can be sued interchangeably in the same recipe. Whether or not sifting of the powdered sugar is required will be determined by the recipe’s particular directions.

Yeast — The yeast that is used in baking is the single-celled fungi of the species saccharomyces cerevisiae. This fungi is a rising agent that ferments sugar, producing carbon dioxide and alcohol and expanding the bread dough. Home-baking yeast can be active dry or fast-rising yeast, and some supermarkets will have fresh or compressed yeast in their refrigerated cases. For measuring equivalencies, ¼ ounce of dry yeast is about 2¼ teaspoons worth, and it equals one 0.6-ounce cake of the compressed, refrigerated fresh yeast.

Yield — Yield is the amount of a baked good that results from the combination of a given amount of different baking ingredients.

Zest — Zest is the thin, outer skin of a citrus fruit. It is fragrant and removed with a paring knife, vegetable peeler, or citrus so that it can be added to baked gods for a citrus flavor.