Get Baking ~ Tips & Glossary of Baking Terms

03/10/2012 21:50

Home baking is quite rewarding, not only can you make delicious sweet and savoury treats for your family and friends, but the actual hands on process of baking can be quite satisifying and even fun! If you have children, baking is a great way to encourage them to help in the kitchen, most children love to cook, even toddlers can join in too, as long as they are supervised by an adult. I have fond childhood memories of my Grandma's kitchen, wonderful aromas and treats came from her kitchen. I loved to help Grandma on baking day in the kitchen, the best bit was licking the cake mix from the spoon! :)

Here are a few useful tips to get you baking.

PREPARING TINS  ~ Most recipes for baked goods call for the tin to be greased, or greased and floured. Prepare the tin before you begin making the recipe.

GREASE ~ Rubbing butter, shortening, or oil, or spraying with a vegetable oil, on the inside of a baking tin to prevent food from sticking to the tin.

FLOURING TINS  ~  Grease the base and sides of tin. Then sprinkle a little flour into the tin. Tilt the tin, tapping lightly so that flour sticks to all greased areas. Turn the tin  upside down and tap the bottom to remove the excess flour.

PAPER-LINE A TIN ~ Not all cake tins need to be fully lined for baking.For many simple sponges you just need to give the base and sides of the tin a brush over with oil and insert a piece of non stick baking paper in to the base. Thr richer mixtures usually need a tin that is thoroughly greased and lined to prevent sticking.

Before you begin any food preparation, read through each recipe. Then assemble all ingredients, utensils and cookware to make certain you have everything on hand. Preparation will be easier and results more successful if you avoid substituting ingredients and equipment.

* Always preheat the oven 10-15 minutes before use, so that it has time to reach the correct temperature.

* Allow the butter or margarine to come to room temperature and soften before using, this makes it easier to cream.

*Always use eggs at room temperature for baking.

* Be sure to Weigh all the ingredients accurately.

* Don't be tempted to open the oven door too early and take a peep, as a sudden rush of cold air may cause your cake may sink in the middle. :(

* To prevent curdling- always add eggs gradually at first to the creamed mixture, and beat well after each addition. If the cake mixture should start to curdle, quickly beat in a tablespoon or two of flour, this should correct it.

* To test if a cake is fully cooked, press the surface lightly with your fingertips - it should feel springy to the touch. Or alternatively, inset a fine metal skewer into the centre of the cake - if it comes out clean, then the cake is cooked.

* Leave cakes to cool in their tins to cool before carefully turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


KNEADING ~ To work dough either with your hands, or with a dough hook. Kneading makes the dough smooth, pilable and elastic.

BEATING ~ A method of vigorously agitating using a spoon, whisk, electric mixer or fork, to combine ingredients evenly, to soften and blend ingredients or to incorporate air into a mixture.

KNOCKING BACK ~ is the second kneading,usually done after the dough has been left to rise and before shaping.The purpose-knocking out any air bubbles from the dough, to ensure a even-textured result.

PROVING ~ A term used in bread making. To leave the Bread dough to rise after shaping, usually in a warm place. Bread dough is usually left to rise twice during the bread making process, the second time it is left to rise or prove until it is doubled in size and then it is ready for baking.This is done to give the finished bread a good rise and light even texture.

BAKING BLIND ~ 'Baking Blind' is the process used to pre-cook a pastry crust without the filling. You would usually do this where the proposed filling to the crust either - does not require cooking, does not require as much time to cook as the pastry, or if the filling is too liquid, this would make the crust too soggy if you were to attempt to cook the pastry with the filling inside it. Simply line the pastry case with foil or greaseproof paper, and fill it with dried beans, peas or any dried pulses would do. The weight of them keeps the base of the pastry flat and strong during the cooking. Bake the case for about 10-15 minutes, then remove the paper or foil and bake until golden.

CREAMING ~ To beat together mixtures of fat (butter) and sugar together, to soften to a pale and 'soft dropping' consistency.

DREDGING ~ To sprinkle a mixture generously with a dry ingredient, such as icing sugar or flour, using either a sieve or a 'dredger pot'.

DUSTING~ To sprinkle lightly with a dry ingredient - to dust a dessert with icing sugar to   decorate.

DRIZZLE ~ Pouring a thin stream of an ingredient on top of other food.

FOLD IN  ~ a method of combining a creamed mixture with dry ingredients, or to incorporate whisked egg whites, so that as little air is knocked out as possible. Use a metal spoon and working as gently as possible to fold through the dry ingredients in a figure of eight movement.

GLAZING ~ To brush a coating over sweet and savoury dishes usually before they are baked. A glaze gives a glossy appearance and sometimes improves the flavour of a dish. Beaten egg and milk are used to glaze pastries and breads. Syrups and jams can be brushed over a cake top or buns for an attractive finish.

PIPING ~ To force an icing or frosting from a piping bag through a shaped nozzle to create a decorative shape or effect, such as stars, lines or rosettes.

RUBBING IN ~ A method of incorporating fat into flour by rubbing the fat with the fingertips, until it combines with the flour to form a mixture with a breadcrumb-like consistency. Pastry, scones, cakes and biscuits are made using the 'rub in' method.

SIFT ~ To shake dry ingredients, such as flour through a sieve to aerate, remove lumps, and give a smooth texture.

WHIPPING ~To beat gently using a fork, hand whisk or electric whisk, to make it smooth or incorportae air into a mixture. To thicken whipping cream or double cream.

WHISKING ~ To beat rapidly using a hand whisk or electric whisk to introduce air into a mixture. This method is used for whisked sponge cakes, which rely on air for a light texture, and for meringues, where the egg whites are whicked until they are stiff and can hold peaks.

SCORE ~  Making thin lines or slashes in food. For example before baking bread, use a knife to make slashes in the top so steam can escape.


CAKE TINS ~ if you bake regularly, it helps to have a basic selection of cake tins -
Loaf tins, baking trays, deep round & square tins, round shallow sandwich tins, 12-cup shallow bun tin, round springform tin, loose-based tart tin.

OVEN ~ a reliable oven is essential to successful baking. Always preheat the oven 10-15 minutes before use, so that it has time to reach the correct temperature. Fan oven cook more quickly than conventional ovens, so the temperature and cooking times can be reduced.  

SCALES ~ Many expert cooks can measure ingredients without the need for scales, but for most a accurate pair of kitchen scales is essentail, particually for baking. Always follow the same units of measurements throughout - do not mix metric and imperial.

SPOONS ~  Nothing beats a good set of wooden spoons in the kitchen. Wooden spoons are strong and durable, withstand heat, won’t scratch nonstick pans, and perfect for stirring almost anything!
A large metal spoon is useful for 'folding in' ingredients. Measuring spoons are useful, use standard measuring spoon, measured level.

MEASURING JUGS ~ a heatproof glass or polythene jug are a good choices. They are hard wearing and easy to clean. Choose one with a good pouring lip and clear markings - metric or imperial.

BOWLS ~ A seletion of different sized bowls is essential. Choose from  glass, stainless steel, plastic, or pottery bowls.

ROLLING PIN ~ needed for rolling pastry and biscuit dough, a wooden rolling pin is a very good tool. Marble, or granite rolling pins are more expensive but their cool, smooth surface is better for rolling sticky mixtures.

PASTRY BRUSH ~ used for applying glazes evenly, and also the easiest way to grease cake tins evenly too. Available in natural bristles or the more durable synthetic bristles.

SPATULA~ helpful for scraping out bowls cleanly. Choose a flexible rubber or silicone spatula.

SIEVE ~ buy a good quality, rustproof metal or nylon sieve. A sieve is essential for sifting together dry ingredients evenly.

COOKIE CUTTERS ~ come in a variety of fun shapes, a set of round cutters, either plain or with fluted edges is a good choice, perferably in metal.

PIPING BAG & NOZZLES ~ used for decorative piping of icings or soft mixtures. Strong nylon  or fabric bags are washable and resuable. A small selection of stainless steel nozzles-  these are plastic or metal shaped tubes to fit in the end of a piping bag. Nozzles are available in a range of sizes from tiny plain nozzles to large star nozzles.

GRATER ~ You will need a coarse, medium and fine grater. A stainless steel box grater or flat type grater is good for grating citrus rind, cheese, chocolate, nutmeg and so on.  

WIRE RACKS  ~  For cooling baked goods. Typically a rectangular grid made of thick wire with 'feet' to raise it off the countertop, this allows your cakes to cool evenly and prevents condensation, which will cause a soggy texture. They are available in several sizes.

CITRUS SQUEEZER ~ chosse a plastic, metal, toughened glass or ceramic squeezer. Needed for extracting juice from citrus fruits. A wooden reamer squeezes out the juice by simply pushing it into the halved fruit, but you may also get the pips too.

ELECTRIC MIXER ~ A  good electric stand mixer is the heart and soul of a baker’s kitchen. A handheld mixer is great for light jobs. A freestanding electric mixer works best for bigger quantities and longer mixing times. Most mixers come with a whip, dough hook, and paddle attachments, which are used to knead dough, beat meringues, and fold batters smoothly together.

WIRE WHISK  ~ another versatile baking tool, used to whisk or stir wet or dry ingredients together, beating egg whites or cream, stirring ingredients as they heat in a saucepan and folding ingredients together.