Friday, 3 April 2015

Basic Baking Terminology and Abbreviations

Here is a basic guide to abbreviations and terms commonly used in baking. For experts you’ll know this stuff I’m sure, but hopefully it’ll be of some use to beginners…
This is only a short list at the moment, so if there are any terms that you are not sure of, contact me and I’ll see if I can help (and I’ll add it to this page).

Tsp = teaspoon (i.e. little spoon, equivalent of 5ml)
Tbsp = tablespoon (i.e. larger than usual spoon used at meal times, but used sometimes used for serving, equivalent of 15ml)
Note that the usual spoon used at meal times is a dessert spoon and holds 10ml.

Softened butter: This is probably fairly obvious, but it means butter that has been left at room temperature, so that it is easy to mix with other ingredients. It is not melted. A good rule of thumb is to leave the butter out of the fridge the night before the baking ensues. If you forget however, you can carefully microwave (on the defrost setting) to soften the butter.

Grease: This means using a small amount of fat (usually butter/fat but oil can be used) to coat the base (and sometimes sides) of a tin. This is meant to prevent sticking of the mixture to the tin, and when greaseproof paper is also needed, it allows the paper to attach to the tin.

Cream: A term heard a lot in many cake and biscuit recipes. It means mixing butter and sugar together until no sugar is visible and the butter mixture is lighter in colour and creamy.

Fold: Also used in cake recipes and recipes where it is important not to lose volume. Folding means gently combining the mixture together using a spatula. This keeps the air in the batter. Simply stir around the bowl and cut through (see diagram below), until all is combined.



Beat: This means stirring the mixture rapidly to combine the ingredients.

Knead: a term used a lot in bread recipes, which results in gluten build up in the bread (giving the bread its texture). There are many different methods of kneading but the simplest is to put the dough on a surface and use the palm of your hand to stretch it away from you. Then fold it back up, rotate a little and repeat. This can take between 5 and 10 minutes, which a recipe usually specifies.

Proof: Another term used in bread making, which means leaving the yeast in the dough to create air bubbles, causing the bread dough to rise. To prove your bread, place the kneaded dough in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Generally you then wait until the dough has doubled in size before moving on.  Bread is usually proved twice before baking.

Whip: This means to rapidly whisk a mixture, and usually results in increasing the volume of the mixture/thickening it e.g. with egg whites or cream.

I hope this is of use to some people! 
x


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