Acetobacillus A species of bacteria that exist in a sour dough starter. These bacteria give off acetic acid, providing a slightly tangy taste to the finished bread.
acid A substance that tastes sour like lemon juice and has a pH of less than 7.0.
active dry yeast Fresh yeast that has been dehydrated. It is more concentrated than fresh yeast and has a longer shelf life. See yeast.
agar A gelatin-like stabilizer and thickener that is derived from a type of seaweed known as red algae. Also referred to as agar agar.
agar agar See agar.
air cell The pocket of air that forms at the larger end of an egg.
all-purpose flour Flour made from a combination of hard and soft wheats so as to be suited for all purposes. Protein levels may vary depending on where it is milled.
almond paste Almonds and sugar ground into a fine paste.
alpha-amylase An enzyme in raw egg yolks that feeds on starch, causing it to break down.
amino acids The building blocks of protein.
ammonium carbonate Also known as ammonium bicarbonate; a chemical leavener that, in the presence of moisture and heat, reacts to produce ammonia, carbon dioxide gas, and water.
angel food cake An egg foam cake that uses only egg whites and is virtually fat free.
artificial sweeteners Substitutes for sugar (sucrose) that are artificial or man-made in the laboratory. They do not tend to raise blood sugar levels. Artificial sweeteners may not have all of the properties of sugar and may not be suitable for baking.
artisan breads Breads that are prepared by bakers who manipulate the dough with their hands with great care and skill using traditional methods.
ascorbic acid Also known as vitamin C. It is added to flour by the miller to improve gluten quality.
autolyse A short rest given to a yeast dough before kneading has begun. This rest helps gluten develop properly.
baguette pan Also known as a French bread pan; a long metal pan formed into half cylinders that are joined together side by side. Frequently small holes are placed in the metal to allow for better air circulation and a crisper crust.
bain marie (ban mah-ree) A French term for a hot water bath that can be used either to warm or melt ingredients or to surround custards in the oven to ensure even cooking. When used as a double boiler, with a bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, it can melt chocolate or warm other delicate ingredients. It can also be used to ensure a more gentle, even cooking for custard desserts like creme brulee, creme caramel, or cheesecakes. Ramekins full of creme brulee custard or a springform pan filled with cheesecake batter can be placed in a larger rectangular pan, which is then filled halfway with hot water. The water surrounds the custard, providing it with a consistent temperature, which prevents the eggs in the custard from curdling.
baked custard A mixture of eggs and milk or cream, sometimes with additional ingredients, which is poured into a container and baked in the oven until thickened.
baker's peel A flat shovel-like blade with a long handle used to transfer bread or pizza dough into or out of an oven when it will not be baked directly on a sheet pan. Peels can be made of wood, stainless steel, or a combination of the two.
baker's percentages A system used by professional bakers (especially bread bakers) in large commercial operations that involves percentages to express formulas in a simple way.
baking The act of placing a food such as a dough or other unbaked pastry in the oven where dry heat cooks the food. The term baking is generally applied to cakes, pies, yeast breads, cookies, and quick breads. Baking helps proteins and starches to set and doughs to rise.
baking chocolate Chocolate liquor in a solid state; also referred to as unsweetened chocolate or bitter chocolate.
baking powder A chemical leavener that contains sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and at least one acid that is used to help baked goods such as quick breads and cakes to rise. See double-acting baking powder or single-acting baking powder.
baking soda A chemical leavener known as sodium bicarbonate that, when combined with an acid in the presence of moisture, forms carbon dioxide gas and is used to help baked goods to rise.
banneton A woven basket made of coiled reed or willow of various shapes and sizes, sometimes lined with cloth. Rustic and hearth-type bread doughs are allowed to rise in them, imparting an attractive pattern onto the dough before it is baked.
bar cookie The category of cookie preparation wherein a stiff dough is shaped into long bars or logs, baked, and sliced.
barm An English whole wheat sourdough starter made from wild yeast.
base A substance with a pH of greater than 7.0 that neutralizes acid to produce a salt, for example, baking soda. Also known as an alkali.
bench scraper A small tool consisting of a rectangular blade attached to a wooden or plastic handle. It is used to cut and scale pieces of dough and to clean work surfaces by scraping it against a table to loosen pieces of dough or flour. Also known as a dough scraper.
benching A stage in yeast dough production in which the dough is scaled into pieces, covered, and allowed to rest for a short period of time before being shaped. See resting.
biga (BEE-gah) An Italian word for a thick sponge starter.
biscuit method A mixing method for quick breads that resembles the method to make pYte bris,e or flaky pie crust by first cutting cold fat into dry ingredients and then adding liquid ingredients.
blind baking When a pie or tart shell is baked with nothing in it. The shell is lined with parchment paper and pie weights or dried beans to keep its shape during baking. Used most often for pies whose filling is prepared separately and requires no further cooking.
bleaching The process whereby newly milled flour is exposed to a bleach such as chlorine gas or benzoyl peroxide to whiten it.
bloom (1) When tempered chocolate that has been exposed to temperature variations and/or humidity, it develops a whitish-gray spotty outer coating. (2) When a cold liquid is added to powdered gelatin, the absorbed liquid causes it to soften and swell so that it appears to be blooming. (3) Also refers to the Bloom rating, a system used to show how firm or strong a specific type of gelatin is.
bowl scraper A small flexible piece of plastic used to scrape around the inside of a mixing bowl to loosen doughs or stiff batters for easier removal.
bran The hard outside covering of the wheat kernel. Also known as the hull.
bread flour The general term for flour that is milled from wheats having a higher protein content and generally used for bread making.
breaking In the milling of flour, when special machines crack or break open wheat kernels to separate them into their component parts.
buttercream A frosting consisting of butter or vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, corn syrup, or confectioners' sugar, and whole eggs, yolks, or egg whites. There are different types of buttercreams, including both uncooked (e.g., simple buttercream) and cooked variations (e.g., French, Italian, and pastry cream-based buttercreams).
buttermilk Buttermilk traditionally referred to the liquid left over after cream was made into butter. Presently, the buttermilk on the market is cultured and refers to skim or low-fat cow's milk that is treated with harmless bacteria, giving it a thick consistency and a sour taste. It has a milk fat content between 0.5 and 3 percent. Because of its acidic nature, it reacts well with baking soda, neutralizing it to form carbon dioxide gas to leaven cakes and quick breads. Because of its acidity and low fat content, buttermilk has a longer shelf life than regular cow's milk. Also known as cultured buttermilk.
cacao beans (kah-KAH-oh) The fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree from which chocolate is derived. Also referred to as cocoa beans.
cake A sweet, tender, moist baked pastry that is sometimes filled and frosted.
cake flour A flour milled from soft wheats that is typically bleached and used for only the most tender cakes and pastries.
caramelized sugar Sugar that is cooked to within the temperature interval of 320[degrees] to 350[degrees]F (160[degrees] to 177[degrees]C), which causes the sugar to develop a brown color and a rich intense flavor.
cardamom A fragrant pod related to the ginger family used in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. It gives a pleasant, pungent aroma to Danish dough.
carrageenan A type of seaweed from Ireland that is similar to agar that is used to thicken foods containing dairy products.
carryover cooking Refers to the process in which cooking continues for a short period of time, even though the heat source has been removed.
casein (kay seen) A protein in milk and other dairy products, which when exposed to air, forms a crusty skin.
chalaza (kuh-LAY-zah) The white stringy material that anchors the yolk in the center of the egg.
chef A chef is the beginning stages of a sourdough starter. It is also known as a seed culture. After a period of time, the starter becomes healthy enough to bake bread.
chemical leaveners Refer to baking powder, baking soda, and ammonium carbonate, which are chemicals that react with liquid ingredients upon mixing and the heat of the oven to produce carbon dioxide gas that leavens baked goods.
chiffon cake A type of egg foam cake containing a liquid fat and a chemical leavener. These cakes tend to be moister than typical sponge cakes and are baked in a tube pan.
chocolate confectionery frostings A category of chocolate frosting based on two types of chocolate confections: fudge and truffles.
chocolate liquor The dark liquidy paste created when chocolate nibs are crushed. Once cooled into bricks or disks, it is known as unsweetened chocolate, baking chocolate, or bitter chocolate.
choux paste See eclair paste.
churn-frozen desserts Frozen desserts that are churned or stirred as they freeze. Churn-frozen desserts include ice cream, sorbets, and sherbets.
cinnamon A spice originating from the inner bark of an evergreen laurel tree, cinnamon has a sweet, spicy aroma. It is ground or sold as curls of bark called sticks or quills. It is one of the most popular spices in a baker's kitchen. It is used extensively in pies, cakes, cookies, and fruit desserts.
classifying The final stage of flour milling wherein the particles of flour are categorized by size.
clear flour The particles of flour from the outermost layers of the endosperm. It is the flour that remains after patent flour is removed.
clove A spice originating from the dried, unopened flower buds of the tropical evergreen tree called the clove tree. The buds are sold whole or ground into a deep mahogany powder. Clove is pungent, yet sweet, which is ideal in various cakes, cookies, pies, and other desserts.
coagulation When proteins are heated and moisture gets trapped between each protein coil, the protein forms a network that produces a thick, gel-like structure. An example of coagulation is when egg proteins thicken a custard.
cocoa butter The saturated fat that is naturally present in chocolate liquor that gives chocolate its characteristic velvety texture.
cocoa powder The dry powdery residue that remains when cocoa butter is removed from chocolate liquor.
coconut Coconut is the fruit grown on tropical palm trees. It consists of a hard, fibrous, outer brown shell, which when cracked open, yields a white, hard flesh with a center filled with a milky liquid called coconut water or coconut milk. Coconut is sold whole in the shell, shredded and sweetened or unsweetened, flaked, grated, and ground.
cold-water test A test to determine whether a sugar syrup is done by dropping some syrup into a glass of cold water to see how easily it can be gathered into a ball.
compound coating Chocolate that contains little or no cocoa butter and is used to coat candies. It has a longer shelf life but tends to be of lesser quality.
conching (KONCH-eng) Part of the chocolate making process when chocolate liquor is rotated and stirred with blades to develop flavor and texture.
conditioning A general term used for when a miller adds certain chemicals such as ascorbic acid or diastase to newly milled flour to help it produce better gluten, provide the best food for yeast, and overall improve the qualities of the finished baked good.
cookie A diverse group of small, sweet cakes or pastries that are described and categorized by how the dough is prepared for baking.
couche A piece of heavy canvas or linen in which a yeast bread can be nestled in order to hold its shape during the proofing process.
coulis An uncooked fruit sauce of fresh or frozen pureed fruit that is sweetened and strained.
coupler A coupler is a plastic cone-shaped tube that is used to allow various pastry tips to fit onto a pastry bag to facilitate the piping of frostings and batters. The coupler allows tips to be changed during decorating without having to change pastry bags.
couverture High-quality chocolate made with at least 32% cocoa butter that is used in baked goods or to make candy bars, or to coat candies and create decorations for all sorts of pastries. Couverture comes in milk, semisweet, or white varieties.
cream cheese Cream cheese is a soft, spreadable, unaged cheese that is cultured with bacteria to give it a slight tang. It is used in cheesecakes, cookies, pastry doughs, and pie crusts.
cream of coconut Cream of coconut is also referred to as coconut cream. Cream of coconut is a thick liquid that is intensely rich in coconut flavor and is made from the liquid that rises to the top of the coconut milk, sugar, and other thickening agents. It is used in many desserts and alcoholic beverages.
cream of tartar Chemically known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, an acidic salt of tartaric acid, cream of tartar is formed during the wine making process and is deposited on the inside of wine barrels. It is used to make meringues more stable and to help prevent candies from crystallizing.
creaming See creaming method.
creaming method A method of mixing in which granulated or brown sugar is mixed with a softened, solid fat using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy. Air is incorporated into the fat and is instrumental in aiding the leavening process.
creme anglaise (krehm ahn-GLEHZ) A sweet, French stirred custard sauce used as a dessert sauce or as a base for frozen desserts. It is made from egg yolks, sugar, milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream; and various flavorings. A typical creme anglaise is flavored with vanilla and is referred to as a vanilla custard sauce.
croissant cutter A tool used to cut croissants from croissant dough that resembles a short rolling pin with a cut out triangular shape between the handles.
croissant dough A laminated yeast dough that is formed when butter is encased in a base dough containing yeast, then rolled and folded repeatedly to make multiple thin layers. Traditionally the dough is cut into triangles, shaped into crescents and baked. The finished rolls are known as croissants.
crystallization When particles of a pure substance such as sugar (sucrose) form a repeated shape and are packed closely together to form crystals.
curdling When egg proteins clump together because they are heated for too long and at too high a temperature.
cutting The technique used to combine fat and dry ingredients until the pieces of fat have been reduced to a desired size. This is accomplished using a pastry blender, food processor, or an electric mixer. This mixing technique is used in the flaky pie crust method of preparing crusts for pies and tarts and in the biscuit method of mixing to prepare quick breads.
Danish dough The dough from which Danish pastry is made. A rich yeast dough in which fat is enclosed and then rolled and folded repeatedly to make multiple thin layers. It is baked into flaky breakfast pastries and coffee cakes.
degassing See punching.
denature When proteins such as eggs are heated, beaten, or acidified, causing the protein strands or coils to straighten out or break apart.
desem A natural starter using only whole wheat flour that produces very dense bread with little acidity.
detrempe (day-trup-eh) The French term for a base dough used in laminated doughs.
diastase An enzyme that acts as a catalyst to help starches within flour break down into sugars.
docking Piercing the bottom and sides of a raw pie or tart shell with a fork or special instrument to prevent the pastry from puffing up and shrinking in the oven. Also referred to as stippling.
double-acting baking powder A chemical leavener that requires both moisture and heat to produce carbon dioxide gas that is used to leaven baked goods.
dough hook A tool on an electric mixer shaped like a hook that is used to mix yeast doughs. The dough hook helps to simulate the kneading process.
dough scraper See bench scraper.
drop cookie The category of cookie preparation wherein a dough is dropped from a spoon onto a sheet pan and then baked.
dry method A method of preparing caramelized sugar by heating sugar in a heavy pan without any water. An acid may be added to prevent crystallization.
Dutch processed cocoa powder Cocoa powder that has been treated with an alkali to neutralize its acidity.
eclair paste Also known as choux paste or pate a choux. A steam-leavened specialty dough used to prepare cream puffs and eclairs.
egg foam When air is beaten into whole eggs or egg whites forming a foam that can leaven baked goods.
egg-foam cakes The category of cakes that uses air beaten into eggs (an egg foam) to leaven them.
egg-foam frostings Also known as boiled frostings, egg-foam frostings consist of Italian and Swiss meringues. Gelatin may also be added.
electric mixer A piece of equipment used frequently in baking consisting of a bowl fitted to a motor on which three standard attachments are included: a paddle for mixing, a whip for beating, and a dough hook for kneading. Other attachments are available. Electric mixers can be small enough to fit on a work table or large enough to be permanently attached to the floor.
emulsified shortening A solid fat containing emulsifiers that are able to hold a large amount of liquid to keep cake batters uniformly combined and emulsified. It is generally used for high ratio cakes.
emulsifying agent A food (e.g., egg yolks) or a food additive that allows two immiscible liquids to stay uniformly mixed together without separating.
emulsion A uniform mixture of two unmixable substances such as fat and water-based ingredients to create a homogeneous mixture that will not separate.
endosperm The largest portion of a wheat kernel located under the bran layer. It is used to make white flour.
enrichment The process of adding certain vitamins and minerals back into the flour that were lost during the milling process.
enzyme A protein that speeds up a chemical reaction. An example of an enzyme is alpha-amylase, which breaks down starch into sugar.
evaporated milk Unsweetened whole milk from which 60 percent of the water has been evaporated. It contains at least 7.5 percent milkfat and is sold in cans. It is used in confections, frostings, and baked goods.
evaporated skim milk Unsweetened skim milk from which 60 percent of the water has been evaporated. It is the same as evaporated milk except skim milk is used. It contains less than 0.5 percent milkfat.
false-bottom tart pan A tart pan used for making a fluted pastry crust that can be filled with sweet or savory fillings that has a removable bottom for easy removal. Tart pans have different shapes, such as round, square, or rectangular. The round tart pans have varying diameters.
false-bottom tart ring base A thin metal circle used as the removable bottom of a round false-bottom tart pan and which can be used to help separate two cake layers.
fast-rising dry yeast See instant active dry yeast.
fat bloom When crystals of fat travel to the surface of chocolate and recrystallize on the outside to form a whitish coating.
fermentation (1) The process of yeast eating sugar and converting it to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. (2) In yeast dough production, the first rise of a yeast dough in which carbon dioxide gases are produced and become trapped in a network of gluten.
Flexipan The brand name for a type of baking pan made from flexible silicone that can withstand a wide range of temperatures and has a permanent, nonstick surface, much like a silicone baking mat. Flexipans come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and need to be baked on a rigid surface such as a half or full-size sheet pan.
flour Grains or nuts ground or milled into various degrees of fineness to create a meal or powder.
folding A very gentle method of blending lighter, air-filled ingredients into heavier batters, usually with a rubber spatula, without losing air volume.
fondant See poured fondant or rolled fondant.
food processor A bowl with a blade inside it attached to an electric motor that is used for chopping and blending.
formula The term used by professional bakers (especially bread bakers) for a recipe.
four-fold or bookfold turn When a laminated dough is folded like a book to produce many layers of fat and dough.
French bread pan See baguette pan.
French meringue A mixture of egg whites and sugar beaten to stiff peaks, also known as a common meringue, it is the simplest type of meringue.
fresh currants The small, shiny berries that grow on a prickly shrub in clusters like miniature grapes. They are tart in flavor and are red, black, or golden (also known as white). They are used to make jellies and fillings for cakes and pastries, and are used for garnishes. Not to be confused with dried currants.
fresh or compressed yeast Fresh yeast mixed with a starch that is portioned or compacted into a small cube. Fresh yeast has a short shelf life and must be kept refrigerated. See yeast.
friction The heat energy transferred to a yeast dough through the act of mixing.
friction factor The difference between the temperature of the dough before and after mixing. The friction factor can be calculated for a particular mixer by taking the sum of the temperature of the room, the flour, and the water and subtracting it from the actual dough temperature multiplied by three.
frosting A sweet topping or covering used to fill or coat the top or sides of cakes, cookies, and other pastries.
fudge-style frostings A frosting based on fudge candy beginning with a boiled sugar syrup to which butter and flavorings are added.
galette A French word referring to a free-form tart usually filled with fruit.
ganache (ga-nosh) A versatile mixture of cream, chocolate, and flavorings used to make sauces, glazes, frostings, and candies.
ganache-style frostings A rich frosting consisting of a mixture of simmering cream to which chocolate has been added and allowed to cool and thicken.
gelatin A stabilizer that helps foods form a gel-like consistency, giving structure to desserts. It is derived from animal connective tissue or bones, or from plants. Left to bloom in a cold liquid, gelatin is then dissolved in hot ingredients or over a hot water bath and then chilled. It is available in sheets or as a granular powder.
gelatinization The process that starch granules go through to ultimately thicken a liquid. Gelatinization occurs when a starch and a liquid are heated, the starch absorbs the liquid, then the starch swells and ultimately thickens the liquid.
gelatinization of starches During the baking process, starches within the flour absorb moisture from the dough, swell, and become firm.
gelation When gelatin firms up or sets up to become a solid-like gel.
genoise (jehn-waahz) A type of egg-foam cake known as a whole egg foam or sponge cake in which whole eggs are warmed and beaten with sugar until thick and then folded into dry ingredients, usually with the addition of melted butter.
germ The smallest part of the wheat kernel or other grain. The germ regenerates the plant and is the only part containing fat.
ginger A spice that originates from a flowering tropical plant native to China. Ginger is part of an underground root system called a rhizome that grows horizontally. It has short, finger-like projections covered in a light brown skin. Once peeled, ginger can be sold fresh, pickled, ground, or crystallized. It has a sweet, almost peppery taste and is used extensively in baked goods.
glaze A category of frosting used as a thin coating for cake layers, tarts, cookies, yeast breads, and coffee cakes, consisting of sugar syrups or thinned and melted preserves or jams.
gliadin See gluten.
glutathione A protein fragment (amino acid) found in milk and active dry yeast that weakens gluten in yeast doughs.
gluten The network of fibers that is created when two proteins in wheat--glutenin and gliadin--are mixed with water. This web of fibers keeps gases trapped, causing baked goods to rise and providing strength and structure.
glutenin See gluten.
granita (grah-nee-TAH) An Italian sweetened, flavored, slushy ice that is scraped after freezing and scooped into glasses. It is served as a light dessert or a palate cleanser for in between courses of a meal. See granite.
granite (grah-nee-TAY) The French version of a granita.
grater A rectangular strip or box of metal with sharp holes of varying sizes cut out. Foods are passed up and down to allow small slivers to fall through to the other side. Graters can be used to remove the outer peel from citrus fruits, or to shred cheese, vegetables, or chocolate. It is similar to a microplane zester.
gum arabic A gelatin-like stabilizer derived from the sticky sap of a tree that grows in Africa. Gum arabic is used for stabilizing emulsions in frostings and fillings.
gum tragacanth A gum derived from a Middle Eastern shrub. It is used as a stabilizer for gum paste decorations and flowers when it is mixed into fondant. The decorations have the feel of bone china when they dry.
gums The collective term for gelatin-like thickeners and stabilizers that are derived from plants, also known as vegetable gums. Examples of gums include agar, carrageenan, gum arabic, and gum tragacanth.
hard wheat Wheat that is grown in harsher climates and contains greater amounts of protein and lower amounts of starch.
heavy cream Cream that is pasteurized but not homogenized with a milkfat content of 36 to 40 percent and used to prepare whipped cream because of its ability to hold air. It is also used in frozen desserts such as ice cream and for ganache and in caramel and other rich sauces.
high-gluten flour Flour containing a high level of protein (approximately 14 percent) used in yeast breads where a chewier texture is desired. High-gluten flour can also be used in combination with other flours that may lack gluten-forming proteins to strengthen them.
high-ratio cake A cake that contains more sugar than flour by weight.
homogeneous When different ingredients are thoroughly mixed together to form a uniformly blended mixture.
homogenization A process whereby fat blobs are broken down into tiny particles so that they stay evenly dispersed in milk.
hull The hard outside covering of the wheat kernel or other grain. See bran.
hydrogenation When hydrogen is added to liquid fats such as oils to chemically and physically alter them to a solid form.
hygroscopic When a substance absorbs water from the air, keeping the substance moist. Sugar is an example of a hygroscopic substance.
icing See frosting.
icing comb A rectangular or triangular piece of hard plastic or metal in which grooves or ridges have been cut out at regular intervals. It is dragged along the sides or top of a newly frosted cake where it leaves designs imprinted onto the frosting.
immiscible liquids Two unmixable liquids (fat based and water based) that do not naturally stay blended together. Examples of two immiscible liquids are oil and water.
instant active dry yeast A type of yeast that absorbs water instantly. It can be mixed directly in with the dry ingredients of a recipe. It produces more carbon dioxide gas per yeast cell, so a smaller amount can be used in yeast breads as compared to active dry yeast. Also known as fast-rising dry yeast. See yeast.
interfering agents Ingredients added to a sugar syrup to keep sugar molecules from recrystallizing by preventing the sugar crystals from joining together. An example of an interfering agent is an acid or a different type of sugar such as corn syrup.
inversion The process of preventing crystallization by adding an acid while heating a sugar syrup to break down the existing sugar into its component parts, thereby creating an impure state and controlling crystallization.
invert sugar An invert sugar is sucrose that is chemically broken down into its two component parts (glucose and fructose) through the process of inversion.
Italian meringue A type of meringue in which a hot sugar syrup is beaten into egg whites. Italian meringues are the most stable type of meringue.
kneading A stage in yeast dough production in which the dough is pushed against a work surface and folded over onto itself until a smooth, elastic dough has developed. Gluten is developed during this process.
Lactobacillus A species of bacteria that exist in a sour dough starter. These bacteria give off lactic acid, providing a slightly tangy taste to the finished bread.
laminated doughs Rich doughs with or without yeast in which fat has been incorporated through a series of folds or turns. When baked, laminated doughs form hundreds of layers of flaky pastry such as in croissants, Danish pastry, and puff pastry. Also known as rolled-in doughs.
lean doughs Yeast doughs that use little or no fat or sugar. They include breads that are prepared using few ingredients--French bread, Italian breads, pizza dough--and tend to have hard crusts.
leaveners Ingredients that are added to batter and dough to help them rise. They include baking powder, baking soda, ammonium carbonate, yeast, and eggs. Natural leavening agents such as air and steam are added through the act of mixing and the addition of water-based ingredients.
levain A sourdough starter made from wild yeast that is used to leaven a sourdough bread known as pain au levain.
litchis Also spelled lychees. Litchis are small, round fruit native to Asia with a rough, leathery, inedible red skin and a delicate white flesh that encases a brown seed. The fruit has a light, sweet flavor with overtones of flowers, much like a perfume. It is available fresh or canned.
loaf pan A rectangular pan, in different sizes, with high sides, generally used to bake quick breads and pound cakes.
low-fat milk Milk from a cow that has had some of the milkfat removed so that it contains anywhere from 0.5 to 3 percent milkfat.
lychees See litchis.
Maillard reaction A reaction between amino acids and sugars that occurs between 300[degrees] and 500[degrees]F (149[degrees] and 260[degrees]C) causing the outer crust of breads and other baked goods to brown. This reaction contributes to crust formation and flavor.
makeup and panning See shaping.
marshmallow A light, foamy confection made from an Italian meringue that is stabilized with gelatin.
marzipan A thick, sticky, dough-like paste made from ground almonds and sugar and used to coat cakes or in confections.
mascarpone cheese Mascarpone cheese is known as the Italian cream cheese. It is rich like butter but it has a creamy consistency much like cream cheese.
meniscus The level of a free-flowing liquid in a measuring container that marks the amount of the liquid the container is holding.
meringue When egg whites are beaten with sugar to form an egg foam. The ratio of sugar to egg whites depends on what type of meringue is desired. Meringues are used to leaven cakes and souffles or as a topping on pies or Baked Alaska. They may be baked until crisp and used as a base for cakes and tortes.
metal cake ring A strip of stainless steel shaped into a circle much like a cake pan with no top or bottom. Metal cake rings are available in various diameters and heights and are used to mold layers of cake with fillings that need to firm up and set before being able to stand on their own. Cake rings can also be used as cake pans by placing them on aluminum foil on a sheet pan and filling them with batter. Also referred to as a torte ring.
microplane zester A long, narrow, rectangular strip of metal, similar to a grater, with raised, sharp cuts, sometimes attached to a handle, used for grating hard cheeses, chocolate, and citrus peels. It is so named after the tool used by carpenters. Also known as a rasp.
mise en place (meez ahn plahs) A French term that means "getting everything ready and in its place" to help a chef get organized by putting all ingredients, tools, and equipment together to get ready to bake.
mixing The act of combining ingredients.
modeling chocolate Melted chocolate mixed with corn syrup and kneaded together until a dough-like consistency forms. After several hours, it can be rolled out, cut, and shaped into decorations to top cakes and other pastries.
modified straight dough method A variation of the straight dough method for mixing yeast breads whereby the fat and the sugar are combined before being added to the other ingredients to ensure their even distribution.
molded cookie A category of cookie preparation in which a stiff dough is rolled into small balls and baked or flattened with the bottom of a glass, or criss-crossed with a fork and then baked.
mouthfeel A term used to describe how a food tastes and feels in the mouth.
muffin method A mixing method in which to prepare quick breads and muffins. The method consists of combining wet ingredients in a bowl before mixing them into a bowl of dry ingredients.
muffin tin A muffin tin consists of round metal impressions in which muffin batter can be baked to form small cakes or muffins. Muffin tins come in professional sizes (holding 2 to 4 dozen muffins in standard, full, or half sheet pan sizes), miniature (12 muffins), standard (6 muffins), and jumbo (6 muffins) sizes. Also known as a muffin pan.
natural starter A mixture of flour, water, and natural or wild yeast that is allowed to ferment. See sourdough culture.
neutralization reaction A chemical reaction between equal amounts of an acid and a base that results in the formation of a salt and water. This results in a neutral pH of 7.0.
nibs The kernel of the cocoa bean used in the preparation of chocolate.
nutmeg A spice that originates as a hard seed from the tropical evergreen nutmeg tree. The hard outer coating of the nutmeg seed is covered with a red lace-like material, which when ground, becomes another spice called mace. Nutmeg has a strong, sweet aroma used in various sweet and savory dishes.
offset spatula (1) A spatula with a wide metal blade having a slight bend in the blade just before the handle that is used to remove cookies and small pastries from a sheet pan. (2) A long, round-tipped knife with a slight bend in the blade just before the handle that is used to frost cakes, cookies, or spread fillings. Also referred to as a cake spatula.
old dough See pate ferment,e.
one-stage method The simplest method of mixing cakes in which all ingredients are added in one bowl, usually dry ingredients first, followed by the gradual addition of liquid ingredients.
osmosis The tendency of water to go from a higher concentration of water, through a semi-permeable membrane, to a lower concentration of water in an attempt to balance the concentrations and form an equilibrium.
osmotolerant instant active dry yeast A yeast used in rich sweet doughs. These doughs typically contain greater amounts of sugar, fats, and eggs. Osmotolerant yeast can be rehydrated without large amounts of water present in the dough and without being damaged because of its tolerance of osmotic changes within a dough. See yeast.
oven spring The rapid rising of a yeast dough in the oven as the trapped gases within the dough expand.
overrun The increase in volume caused by the incorporation of air during the freezing process of ice cream and other churn-frozen desserts.
paddle A mixing tool used on an electric mixer. Shaped like a boat's oar with open spaces in between, the paddle is used primarily for creaming and blending.
palette knife A tool similar to an offset spatula but without the bend near the handle. It is used to frost cakes and cookies, and to spread fillings.
parchment paper Specially treated paper that is used to line cake and sheet pans to prevent foods from sticking. Parchment, also known as baking paper, comes in rectangular sheets 16 3/8 by 24 3/8 inches (41.5 by 62 cm), which fit perfectly into a full sheet pan. Parchment paper will not burn in a hot oven and can be used to make parchment cones for piping chocolate and thin icings.
passion fruit A small, round, aromatic tropical fruit with a purple, wrinkled, hard, inedible skin. It has golden flesh with small edible seeds that taste both sweet and tart. The juice can be purchased without seeds in the frozen state and can be used to prepare fillings, mousses, and sauces.
pasteurization The procedure in which a food substance is heated to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time in order to kill dangerous microorganisms that can cause foodborne illness.
pastry bag A cone-shaped hollow bag made of various materials and of various sizes with a narrow opening at one end and a large opening at the other end. Frostings, cookie batters, doughs, and chocolate are squeezed through the narrow end of the bag, which is fitted with a pastry tip, to form decorative shapes and designs.
pastry blender A tool consisting of five to six bent metal wires attached to a handle that is used to cut fat into flour for making pies and quick breads such as biscuits, shortcakes, and scones.
pastry brush A brush resembling a paintbrush that comes in various sizes and used to lightly cover foods with glazes, butter, water, or egg washes. Also used to brush excess flour off doughs.
pastry cream A stirred custard consisting of eggs, milk, sugar, and a starch such as flour or cornstarch that is used as a filling for cream pies, fruit tarts, cakes, and cream puffs.
pastry flour A flour made from soft wheats containing more starch than protein. It is used for more tender pastries and quick breads.
pastry tip A hollow metal cone shape with varying cuts at the smaller end that is fitted onto a pastry bag such that when frostings or batters are piped out, various designs and shapes are formed. Used to decorate or fill cakes, cookies, and various pastries with frostings, whipped cream, mousses, and pastry cream.
pasteurized fresh whole milk Whole cow's milk is fortified with vitamin D and nothing artificial. It contains approximately 3.5 percent milkfat and has been heat treated (pasteurized) to 161[degrees]F (72[degrees]C) for a minimum of 15 seconds to kill bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. Whole milk can be dehydrated and dried to a powder.
pate a choux (paht uh SHOO) French for "cabbage paste." A steam-leavened specialty dough used to prepare cream puffs and eclairs that when shaped into small rounds resembles small cabbages. Also known as eclair paste or choux paste.
pate brisee (paht bree-ZAY) French for "broken pastry." Refers to a rich, flaky pastry dough containing flour, fat, and ice water.
pate fermentee French for "fermented dough." It is a piece of dough from the previous day's batch of bread dough that is incorporated into the next day's bread dough. Also referred to as old dough.
pate sablee (paht SUB-lay) French for "sandy dough." The richest and the most tender of the three types of pastry dough. It contains flour, fat, eggs, and more sugar than the other two types of pastry dough (i.e., pate brisee and pate sucree).
pate sucree (paht soo-CRAY) French for "sugar dough." Contains flour, butter, sugar, and egg yolks. Used as a rich, sweet, pastry dough for fruit tarts, pies, and other pastries.
patent flour During the milling process, the finest particles of flour taken from the inner part of the endosperm.
pathogen Microorganisms such as bacteria that cannot be seen by the human eye that can cause foodborne illness.
peanut butter A ground paste made from peanuts, oil, and salt. By law, in order to be called "peanut butter," the paste must contain at least 90 percent peanuts. Peanut butter is commonly used in many desserts such as confections, cookies, cakes, frostings, and frozen desserts.
pectin A type of thickener made from the natural sugars within the cell walls of plants, particularly unripened fruits. Pectin is used to thicken jam, jellies, preserves, and fruit glazes.
peel See baker's peel.
persimmon Small, glossy-skinned fruit resembling a tomato that varies from yellow to red in skin color. It has orange-red flesh with a jelly-like consistency. The two varieties found in the United States are hachiya and fuyu. Persimmons taste sweetest when fully ripened.
piped cookie A category of cookie preparation in which a dough is pushed through a pastry bag fitted with a plain or decorative pastry tip into various shapes onto a sheet pan and baked. Also called a pressed cookie.
pirouette A type of wafer cookie named after a ballet move. The cookie is rolled up tightly into a cylindrical tube while still warm and pliable.
plasticity The ability of a fat to hold its solid shape at room temperature while still having the ability to be molded; refers to a fat that has a plastic consistency. An example of a fat with a high degree of plasticity at room temperature is solid vegetable shortening.
pomegranate A medium, round fruit with a bright pink to red skin encasing an inedible yellowish flesh that is packed with edible seeds that hold a sweet-tart liquid covered with a membrane. Pomegranates are used as garnishes on fruit salads and tarts, and the juice can be purchased separately to prepare various fillings, sauces, and frozen desserts.
poolish A French word for a thin sponge starter typically prepared with equal parts of flour and water by weight.
popovers A steam-leavened quick bread made in deep muffin pans forming a puffy brown exterior with a hollow, eggy center.
popover pan A baking pan similar to a muffin pan but with deeper, narrower impressions with which to bake popovers (puffy, eggy muffin-shaped puffs). The impressions are spaced farther apart to accommodate the rising of the popover.
porous When a membrane or surface allows air or moisture through it. An eggshell is porous, allowing odors in and moisture to evaporate out.
poured fondant A cooked sugar syrup that is allowed to crystallize enough to form a sugar paste. It is then melted down and used to glaze baked goods such as napoleons, petit fours, cakes, cookies, and other small pastries.
praline A caramelized sugar syrup that is poured over nuts (usually almonds or hazelnuts) and allowed to harden. It is then chopped or ground and used to flavor cakes, icings, and candies or to coat cakes and other pastries.
preferment Means "to ferment before." A mixture of flour, water, and yeast that is allowed to ferment before the actual dough is made. It is then added to other ingredients to form a dough. Preferments provide leavening and flavor to yeast breads.
pressed cookie See piped cookie.
prickly pear A barrel-shaped fruit from a species of cactus with sharp, prickly thorns. The flesh is a deep purple color. It has small black seeds, similar to a watermelon. Prickly pears have a spongy texture and a mildly sweet flavor. Also known as cactus pears.
profiterole A small cream puff made from pate a choux dough.
proof box A room or cabinet-like box in which humidity and temperature can be controlled to ferment and proof yeast doughs.
proofing (1) A stage in yeast dough production in which the dough is shaped into rolls, braids, or loaves and allowed to ferment one last time before being baked. (2) A procedure to determine if yeast is alive. The yeast is dissolved in warm water with or without a small amount of sugar. If the mixture becomes foamy after 5 to 10 minutes the yeast is alive and can be used to leaven yeast dough.
protease An enzyme occurring naturally in dairy products and certain fresh fruits that breaks down proteins. Protease can have a negative effect on gluten formation in yeast doughs and can prevent gelatin from gelling.
protein Chains or strands of amino acids chemically linked together.
puff pastry A laminated dough made by enclosing fat into a non-yeasted dough that bakes into a light, flaky pastry with multiple layers leavened by steam.
punching Also referred to as degassing. A stage in yeast dough production in which, after the dough has fermented, the edges of the dough are pulled over into the center to release carbon dioxide and redistribute the yeast.
purifying Part of the flour milling process whereby air currents are used to blow away any remaining bran pieces on the endosperm after breaking.
quick breads Refers to a category of breads, scones, biscuits, muffins, and popovers that are quick to make and use chemical leaveners instead of yeast.
quince A pear-shaped fruit with yellow skin that is always served cooked. It tastes similar to a tart apple or pear.
ramekin A small baking dish usually made of ceramic or heat-resistant glass used to bake individual souffles, custards, and cakes. Available in various sizes.
reducing Part of the milling process whereby endosperm are ground into flour.
refrigerator cookie A category of cookie preparation in which a stiff dough is shaped into logs, wrapped well, and refrigerated or frozen until firm. The logs are then cut into slices and baked.
resting A stage in yeast dough production in which, after the dough is scaled and rounded, it is covered and allowed to relax for a short
period of time. This allows gluten to relax before shaping. See benching.
retarding A slowing down of the fermentation process by placing dough in a special temperature-controlled box called a retarder or in the refrigerator for several hours.
rhubarb A long, purplish-pink plant with celery-like stalks used in fillings, cakes, dessert sauces, and pies. The leaves are poisonous and should be carefully trimmed. Rhubarb is usually cooked with sugar to decrease its tartness.
rich dough A yeast dough that contains greater amounts of fat and sugar. It may also include eggs. The crust of breads made with rich doughs tends to be softer than those made from lean doughs. Some rich yeast breads include brioche, coffee cakes, and cinnamon rolls.
ricotta cheese Cheese that is made from the reheated liquid whey that is left over after whole cow's milk cheese is made. Curds are formed and then drained. (The Italian variety is made from sheep's milk.) Ricotta is used for such Italian pastries as cheesecake and cannoli.
rolled cookie A category of cookie preparation whereby a dough is refrigerated until firm and then rolled thin and cut into shapes before baking.
rolled fondant A cooked sugar paste that is cooled, beaten, and kneaded like a dough. It is rolled out and used to cover cakes and other pastries.
rolled-in doughs See laminated doughs.
rolled-out frostings Dough-like frostings made up of various ingredients such as fondant, modeling chocolate, or marzipan. Rolled-out frostings can be molded and shaped into decorations or rolled thin to cover cakes and other pastries.
rolling cutter A tool that resembles a row of small pizza cutters that are joined together. It can expand and contract like an accordion to make different size cuts. It can be used to cut croissant dough, cakes, and cookies.
rounding A stage in yeast dough production where pieces of yeast dough are rounded into smooth balls, after scaling, forming a smooth, elastic skin of gluten around the outside. Rounding makes the final shaping of the dough easier.
royal icing A fluffy, uncooked, decorative icing that consists of confectioners' sugar, an acid such as lemon juice or cream of tartar, and egg whites. Resembling a meringue, royal icing dries very hard and is used to create piped decorations or flowers on cakes, cookies, and other small pastries.
rubber spatula A tool consisting of a soft, rubber, scoop-like spoon attached to a wooden or plastic handle that is used to gently blend together or fold ingredients. Also used to scrape down ingredients from the sides of a mixing bowl and to remove batters and doughs from a spoon.
sabayon A rich, foamy French custard sauce consisting of egg yolks whisked with sugar or corn syrup over a hot water bath until thickened and a pale yellow. Sometimes white wine is added. The Italian version is known as zabaglione.
saffron A spice from the dried yellow-orange inner threads (the stigma) of the purple crocus plant. It gives foods a beautiful color and it has a pungent aroma. One of the most expensive spices in the world, saffron is handpicked and takes more than 75,000 flowers to produce 1 pound (455 g) of saffron. Besides being used in Middle Eastern and Spanish cuisine, saffron is used to color and scent certain yeast breads and rolls.
Salmonella A bacteria associated with eggs and poultry that can cause foodborne illness.
saturated fat Fats directly derived from animals (with the exception of tropical plant oils and cocoa butter) and having a chemical structure wherein there are as many hydrogen atoms as possible bonded to the carbon atoms, and all of the bonds are single. Saturated fats are generally solid at room temperature.
scalding To heat a liquid to just below the boiling point.
scaling (1) The act of weighing ingredients. (2) A stage in yeast dough production when the dough is divided and weighed into portions after fermentation and punching. scoring See slashing.
seizing When melted chocolate thickens to a dried out, clumpy mass after being exposed to a small quantity of water or moisture.
self-rising flour All-purpose flour that contains baking powder and salt.
separated egg-foam cake A type of egg-foam cake in which the eggs are separated and the yolks are beaten with a portion of the sugar until thick and the beaten whites, along with sifted dry ingredients, are folded in alternately.
shaping A stage in yeast dough production in which scaled pieces of dough are formed into the desired shapes that will be placed into the oven. Also called makeup and panning.
sheet cookie The category of cookie preparation in which a batter is spread into a sheet pan with sides and baked. The baked sheet is then cut into squares or other shapes.
sheet pans Sheet pans are rectangular metal baking pans. They come in two sizes: full and half. The full sheet pan measures 18 by 26 inches (45 by 65 cm) and has sides that are 1 inch (2.5 cm) high. The half sheet pan measures 13 by 18 inches (32.5 by 45 cm). They are so named because two half sheet pans put together would equal one full sheet pan. Full sheet pans are used mostly in commercial kitchens because they are too large to fit into a standard sized non-commercial oven. Most half sheet pans fit into noncommercial ovens.
sieve A small tool used to separate finer particles from coarser ones. It consists of a handle attached to a metal bowl with screen-like openings. The sieve is used to sift out lumps from dry ingredients like flour or confectioners' sugar, to strain lumps from desserts like pastry cream or custard sauces, or to separate out solids from liquid ingredients. Also known as a strainer.
sifter A metal cup with a screened bottom and rotating metal wires inside to help separate out lumps in dry ingredients like flour, confectioners' sugar, and cocoa powder. Used for dry ingredients only, the sifter resembles a sieve.
sifting (1) Part of the flour milling process whereby particles of flour are sorted by size. (2) The act of putting dry ingredients through a sifter.
silicone baking mats Reusable, flexible, plastic rectangular sheets coated with silicone and able to withstand extreme temperatures, both cold and hot. Resembling rubber placemats, they are placed into full sheet or half sheet pans instead of parchment paper with no need to grease or flour them. Wiped clean with a damp sponge or cloth, silicone baking mats are reusable.
simple icing An easy icing consisting of confectioners' sugar and water, cream, milk, citrus juice, or corn syrup added with flavorings to make a thin, pourable icing that can be drizzled over coffee cakes, scones, cookies, or sweet yeast breads.
simple syrup A sugar syrup consisting of equal parts of water and granulated sugar by weight that is brought to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Simple syrups can be flavored and brushed onto cake layers to keep them moist, used in a base for frozen desserts, or brushed onto the tops of pastries as a glaze.
single-acting baking powder A chemical leavener that requires moisture to produce carbon dioxide gas to leaven baked goods. It is rarely used because all leavening power would be gone as soon as the ingredients were moistened.
skim milk Whole cow's milk that has had most of the milkfat removed so that it contains up to 0.5 percent milkfat. Also referred to as fat-free or nonfat milk.
slashing Shallow cuts made with a razor on the surface of an unbaked loaf of yeast bread to allow the bread to expand during baking. The cuts may also be decorative. Also referred to as scoring.
smoked gouda A mild cheese made from cow's milk originating from Holland that has been exposed to smoke, giving it a brownish color and smoky flavor.
soft peaks The stage of beating a meringue until the beater or whip is held up and the meringue curls over on itself.
soft wheat Wheat that is grown in milder climates and contains less protein and a higher starch content.
solute The substance that is dissolved in a solution.
solution A solute and solvent that are evenly distributed when mixed together.
solvent The liquid that a substance is placed in to help it to dissolve.
souffle A light, airy French dish consisting of a base for structure and added flavorings, to which beaten egg whites are folded in to provide leavening. Souffles can be baked or frozen in small ceramic dishes called ramekins or souffle cups.
sourdough culture A live, bubbly mixture used to leaven bread doughs that uses flour, water, and wild or natural yeast and bacteria that produce flavorful by-products through the process of fermentation. Breads baked with sourdough cultures have a tangy, acidic flavor. See natural starter and starter.
sourdoughs A type of preferment that uses a natural or wild yeast starter. Sourdough starters are used to leaven bread doughs. Unused starter can be replenished with flour and water and maintained for long periods of time.
sour cream Cream that has been soured or fermented with harmless bacteria to give it a thicker consistency and a tangy flavor. It may contain other ingredients such as gelatin or enzymes to help it thicken. It contains between 18 and 20 percent milkfat.
spices Seasonings derived from aromatic dried plants containing essential oils that impart deep flavor to foods. The various parts of a plant that can be used for spices include the bark, flower buds, berries, seeds, and roots. They are available whole or ground. The quality of a spice depends on the method of harvesting, processing, and climatic conditions.
spiking When a small amount of commercial yeast is added to a natural starter to create more leavening power.
sponge A type of preferment consisting of a mixture of flour, water, and yeast that is allowed to ferment for 30 minutes to several hours before other ingredients are added to make a yeast dough. Sponges add flavor to yeast doughs and give the leavening process a head start.
sponge method A method of yeast dough preparation in which the dough is prepared in two stages. A portion of the flour, water, and yeast are mixed together and allowed to ferment before other ingredients are added to make a dough. The sponge or "pre-dough" is referred to as a preferment and imparts great flavor and leavening power to yeast breads.
springform pan A springform pan is a round pan of variable size with a removable bottom. It resembles a cake pan but has higher sides for baking cheesecakes and other cakes and desserts. The sides of the pan can be detached from the bottom for ease of removal.
star fruit A fruit native to Asia and resembling a five-pointed star when cut crosswise. The taste ranges from tart to sweet, similar to a mild Granny Smith apple. Also known as carambola.
starch retrogradation The process of staling whereby chemical changes occur in the molecular structure of a baked good causing the starches to bond more closely over time, forming a drier texture. Also known as chemical staling.
starches Long chains of sugars chemically bonded to one another in the form of semicrystalline shapes. Referred to as starch granules, the inside structure consists of amylose and amylopectin. Used to thicken desserts such as pastry creams and pie fillings.
starter A mixture of flour, water, and yeast (either commercial or wild) that is allowed to ferment before a portion of it is added to other ingredients to make a yeast dough. The remaining starter is saved and fed additional flour and water to maintain it over a period of time until it is used again. Starters help leaven yeast doughs and impart complex flavors to yeast breads.
stiff peaks The stage of beating a meringue until the beater or whip is held up and the meringue stands straight up in a vertical peak.
still-frozen desserts Frozen desserts that lay still in the freezer with no agitation or churning as they are being frozen. Still-frozen desserts include mousses, semifreddos, bombes, and parfaits.
stippling See docking.
stirred custard A mixture of eggs and milk or cream stirred on top of the stove with or without the addition of a starch and cooked until thickened.
straight dough A yeast dough in which most of the ingredients are mixed together in one bowl.
straight dough method The simplest mixing method for yeast breads in which all the ingredients are added in one bowl and mixed.
straight flour The particles of flour from the entire endosperm.
straight spatula A long, rounded metal knife used to spread frostings and fillings. Also known as a palette knife.
streams Particles of milled flour that are sorted by size in order to be classified.
sucrose The chemical name for table or granulated sugar; derived from the sugar cane or sugar beet plant. Sucrose is composed of two simple sugars--glucose and fructose--bound as one molecule.
sugar bloom A recrystallization of sugar that forms on the surface of chocolate that has been exposed to moisture giving it a whitish coating.
sugar syrup When one or more sugars are dissolved in water. Sugar syrups cooked to specific temperature are the foundation of many desserts including caramel, Italian meringues, marshmallows, fudge, and pulled sugar decorations.
surface tension The natural tendency for two immiscible (not mixable) liquids to separate.
suspension Tiny liquid drops or solid particles floating freely in another liquid.
sweetened condensed milk Whole milk that has 60 percent of the water evaporated from it and with extra sugar added, leaving a sweet, thickened liquid that is sold in cans. Sweetened condensed milk is used in desserts such as confections, cheesecakes, and custards.
Swiss meringue A type of meringue in which egg whites are warmed with sugar over simmering water before being beaten.
temperature danger zone The temperature range between 41[degrees] and 135[degrees]F (5[degrees] and 57[degrees]C) in which bacteria grows very quickly in foods. This temperature range may vary from state to state.
tempering (1) The act of bringing eggs up to the proper temperature by slowly whisking in a hot liquid (e.g., hot milk) to prevent curdling. (2) The stabilization of fat crystals within chocolate through a heating and cooling process.
thickener A food that helps ingredients to become less fluid and more dense.
three-fold or letterfold turn When a laminated dough is folded into thirds like a letter to incorporate the fat and to produce multiple layers of fat and dough.
torte ring See metal cake ring.
trans-fats Liquid fats such as oils that are partially hydrogenated to a solid or partially solid state at room temperature. The chemical structure of the fat is such that the hydrogen atoms sit diagonally across the double bond. Trans-fats are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
truffles A rich chocolate confection prepared from a mixture of heavy cream and chocolate (ganache) flavored with extracts, alcohol, fruits, nuts, or purees. The mixture is chilled and rolled into balls where they can be served as is or dipped into melted chocolate.
tube pan A deep, round cake pan with a hollow tube in its center used to bake angel food, sponge, and pound cakes. Some tube pans come with a false bottom or have metal tabs that stick out from the top edge of the pan to allow cakes to balance upside down while cooling.
tuile (tweel) French for "roof tile." A type of crisp, thin wafer cookie that can be molded into various shapes while warm before cooling and hardening.
tunneling The result of too much gluten produced by over-mixing that results in large holes or cavities "tunneling" through the inside of a quick bread.
turn The sequence of rolling out and folding a laminated dough to create multiple layers.
turntable A rotating, elevated plate used to facilitate frosting a cake.
two-stage method A cake mixing method in which the liquids are added in two stages. High-fat cakes that contain more sugar by weight than flour (high-ratio cakes) are mixed using this method.
ultrapasteurization When milk or cream is held at an even higher temperature (280[degrees] to 300[degrees]F; 138[degrees] to 150[degrees]C) than regular pasteurization requires. The product has a longer shelf life but the cream will not attain the same volume when whipped. Also known as ultrahigh-temperature pasteurization (UHT).
unsaturated fat A type of fat derived from plants that tends to be liquid at room temperature (with the exception of partially hydrogenated vegetable shortenings). In the chemical structure, fewer than the maximum number of hydrogen atoms are bonded to each carbon atom, creating some double bonds between carbon atoms.
unsweetened chocolate Chocolate liquor that has been cooled and molded into bricks or disks. Also referred to as baking chocolate or bitter chocolate.
wafer cookie A category of cookie preparation in which a batter is spread onto a sheet pan or over a stencil before being baked. Wafer cookies are soft when hot and harden as they cool. See tuile, a type of wafer cookie.
wash A liquid used to brush over food such as a yeast dough before baking to add color or shine, or to help toppings adhere.
wet method A method of preparing caramelized sugar by heating sugar and water and boiling it to the caramel stage.
wheat berry The whole wheat kernel before processing or milling consisting of the hull or bran, endosperm, and germ. wheat kernel See wheat berry.
whip A tool used on an electric mixer that is shaped like a wire whisk and used to beat air into eggs or cream.
whisk A tool having thin, curved metal loops attached to a main handle. Whisks are used to combine dry or wet ingredients and to whip air into ingredients such as egg whites or heavy cream.
white chocolate Consists of cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar, and flavorings, but because it contains no chocolate liquor, it is not really chocolate. There are two qualities of white chocolate: those that contain cocoa butter and are of a higher quality and those that contain little or no cocoa butter.
whole egg-foam cake A type of egg-foam cake in which whole eggs are beaten with sugar and then sifted dry ingredients are folded in.
whole milk Milk from a cow containing approximately 3.5 percent milkfat.
whole wheat flour Flour that is milled from all three components of the wheat kernel: the bran or hull; the germ; and the endosperm.
yeast A one-celled microscopic living fungus that undergoes fermentation and that is used as a leavening agent for yeast breads and in the production of cheese, beer, and wine. Available as fresh or compressed, active dry, instant active dry, and osmotolerant instant active dry.
yogurt Milk that is heated with special bacteria until it ferments and becomes thick and tangy. The fat content varies depending on how much butterfat the milk contains. Yogurt can be purchased as plain and unsweetened, which is best used for baking, or sweetened and flavored, which can be eaten on its own. Mildly flavored yogurts (e.g., vanilla and lemon) can be easily substituted for sour cream in baked goods.
zabaglione (zah-bahl-YOH-nay) The Italian version of a sabayon, a sweet custard sauce that uses sweet Marsala wine. See sabayon.
zester A tool consisting of five, small, angled holes with sharp edges attached to a handle used to remove long, narrow strips from the outermost peel or rind of citrus fruits.