All The Basic Terms Every New Baker Needs to Know

Memorize these terms and what it means to bake better.

Baking doesn’t have to be intimidating to do! There are many easy baking recipes that even the most novice of bakers can make, no fail, like these no-bake recipes. However, baking recipes do contain some jargon or technical terms that may make it hard for someone very new to baking to understand.

Even more experienced bakers may discover that when it comes to the terms that are used in baking recipes, they may think they know how to do it but could use a more detailed answer to get it right. 

Here are all the basic baking terms you need to know so you can be a better baker: 

Does your oven have an accurate temperature gauge?
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1 Preheat 

When a recipe instructs you to preheat an oven, it basically means for you to turn on the oven to the temperature setting indicated. You need to do this at least 15 minutes before you place anything in the oven so that it has had the chance to heat up to the specified temperature. 


This ensures that whatever you’re baking, it will bake properly. 

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2 Grease 

Greasing your baking pan or sheet means to coat it using either oil or butter. You can do this lightly using either a pastry brush or a paper towel. What’s key when greasing a baking pan or sheet is to do it completely, especially the corners where cakes are prone to stick to. 

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3 Cream 

Creaming is a baking method wherein you beat a fat, usually softened butter, thoroughly until the mixture is lightened and fluffy. Usually, this is done together with sugar to create a mixture that’s aerated, resulting in cakes that are lighter and fluffier. Creaming these two ingredients together not only makes creaming the butter easier but it also allows the sugar to partially, if not, totally dissolve before the next ingredients are added. 


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You can sift dry ingredients using a small sieve.
Photo by Hoa Luu from Pixabay

4 Sift 

To sift dry ingredients, you will need either a sifter or a sieve with a fine mesh lining. The idea behind sifting is to sift or sort through the particles of your ingredients and separate the grains. In the case of dry ingredients, you are removing the lumps from the looser particles so you can make a batter or dough that is smooth. 

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5 Beat 

The act of beating ingredients together, or vigorously mixing ingredients together until completely combined, can be done using any number of baking tools. You can use a spoon, whisk, or an electric or stand mixer. 

Photo by Majoy Siason

6 Whisk

To whisk ingredients together, you will need a whisk. A whisk is a kitchen tool that has many wire loops at its end. This tool is used to whisk or whip ingredients together, usually with the intention of incorporating air into it. This is the tool used when whipping egg whites into soft or stiff peaks. 

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7 Fold 

Folding is exactly what you think it is: the act of placing one part of something on top of each other. In the case of baking, folding is the act of using a mixing tool, usually a silicone spatula, to gather the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl and placing this on top. By doing this repeatedly, it’s a gentle yet still effective way of blending two mixtures together. This is usually done with a mixture that’s lighter than the other, such as a cake batter and whipped egg whites, so as to not remove the air incorporated into the lighter mixture. 

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8 Dust

This term means to lightly sprinkle, usually flour, powdered sugar, or other dry ingredients, over a surface. You can do this with your fingers or with a sieve. 

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9 Knead 

When baking bread, this term is usually used to mean working the dough. This is done to not only mix the ingredients together into a cohesive dough, but it is also meant to build and strengthen the bread dough. This can be done using your hands or with the dough hook on an electric stand mixer. 

These baking terms are easy to understand and do with these detailed descriptions. While not everyone can or wants to bake, you can at least say with confidence that you know the difference between how to beat butter and how to cream it. Share your newfound knowledge and then learn some more with these baking articles: 

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