Common-Yet-Confusing Baking Jargon
Baking can sometimes feel like some sort of secret club, especially for us novice bakers, when recipes have terms/bakers jargon, filled with terms you’re expected to know, but are never really explained. Well because I find it difficult, and so does a lot of fellow novice bakers, I decided on their request to try and shed some light on bakers jargon. Mind you there are so many bakers jargon flying around in the kitchen I will do only a few.
So this is my effort to help and hopefully make your experience sweeter? Here are some common bakers jargon, decoded as best as I can.
Beat butter and sugar together until fluffy and creamy for a lighter texture. This one is relatively well known but I thought just to make sure let me place it as this is a rather crucial part of the baking process.
Incorporate a solid fat (like butter or shortening) into flour until it resembles coarse sand. This can be done with two knives, forks or a pastry blender.
Prick pastry with a fork before baking. This allows steam to escape so that your pastry doesn’t puff up in the oven. A well-known one this what I do not get is how many pricks is enough 2,3,4,5, or does it depend on the size of the tart? I just bash away until June stop me which is round about 3-4 pricks.
Gently bring ingredients or batter at the bottom of the bowl to the top, turn the bowl, and repeat until just incorporated. The goal is to avoid deflating a light, fluffy batter. Not like me while I am watching the Cheetahs play. I then do not fold I … cannot use that word on Facebook.
Yeast gets activated by lukewarm water, which should be warm to the touch, but not hot — generally between 36 C and 40 C. Interesting, I, did the Nathaniel finger dipping test. Mind you I was never too far off with my lukewarm test. Then again maybe that is why I had more flops than others. Okay flop call it buggered.
The process of gently heating and cooling melted chocolate in order to have firm and glossy chocolate at room temperature.
Batter vs. Dough
Dough is a mixture of ingredients that’s stiff enough to be kneaded or rolled (like for breads and rolls). Batter is typically more of a liquid and can be poured, like for cakes and waffles.
Beat vs. Whip
To beat a batter, you stir rapidly to smooth out a mixture. To whip, you whisk rapidly to incorporate air into a batter and produce volume.
A friendly way to say don’t over-mix (you often see this term in muffin recipes). Mix your batter until all the dry ingredients are just incorporated and wet, and no more! The mixture can be slightly lumpy. Over-mixing can lead to a dense finished product.
Baking Soda and/or Baking Powder
Baking powder vs baking soda are not interchangeable; they serve different, but similar purposes. Baking soda reacts with acidic ingredients (like lemon juice or dairy) and emits carbon dioxide to lift your batter. Baking powder is like baking soda, but mixed with an acid, so it stays inactive until it’s introduced to moisture or heat. That’s when it bubbles and helps batters rise.
So bakers there you have it my version of bakers jargon.
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