Cooking Terms Page

Bain Marie:   (French) A large pan of hot water or bath, in which a smaller pan is placed for cooking contents or to keep foods warm. Also a double saucepan with water in the lower half.

Baking Powder:   Leavening agent typically found as a double-acting baking powder, because it firstly reacts with liquids and secondly reacts with heat during baking. A good substitute for 1 teaspoon of baking powder is 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. It is important to check the expiration date on the can as baking powder loses its leavening power over time.

Baking Soda:   Leavening agent activated by interacting with an acidic agent. Liquid ingredients such as sour milk, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, molasses, and lemon juice help baking soda produce the gases which make a batter rise. The batter must be baked as soon as possible after the liquid has interacted with the baking soda to produce the desired results.

Barding:   Preparation method which covers lean meat, game and poultry with thin slices of pork fat or bacon to prevent the flesh drying out during roasting.

Basting:   Preparation method which moistens meat or poultry with pan juices or drippings during roasting by using a spoon or bulb baster as a tool.

Bay Leaf:   An aromatic leaf that comes from bay laurel. Whole, halved, or ground, it lends a slightly bitter in taste. A pungent seasoning to add to soups, stews, and stocks. One of the primary ingredients in a bouquet-garni.

Beating:   Process of mixing food to introduce air and make it lighter or fluffier. Tools utilized to beat an ingredient or mixture include a wooden spoon, hand whisk or electric mixer.

Binding:   A method of preparation that adds eggs, cream, melted fat or roux to a dry mixture in order to hold it together and keep the mixture from separating.

Bitok:   (Russian) Small meat patty made from raw minced beef and bread, then bound together with an egg.

Bitters:   A liquid combination of cloves, cinnamon, quinine, nutmeg, rum, dried fruits, and other root and herbal extracts. Primarily used in cocktails.

Bittersweet Chocolate:   Often used in cake and cookie recipes. Bittersweet or semisweet chocolates are often used interchangeably, though bittersweet generally has more chocolate liquor, a paste formed from roasted, ground cocoa beans. Semisweet chocolate contains at least 35% chocolate liquor while finer bittersweet chocolates contain 50% or more chocolate liquor. Both chocolates have a deep, smooth, intense flavor that comes from the blend of cocoa beans to dairy products. Sugar, vanilla, and cocoa butter are added to the chocolate liquor to create an even richer chocolate flavor.

Black Rice:   Milled rice is whiten appearance, but the outer bran layer can be brown, red or black. Raw black rice appears charred and when cooked appear much like the color of blackberries.

Blackstrap Molasses:   Unrefined molasses that produces a bitter flavor.

Blanching:   Preparation method which briefly places foods in boiling water in order to partially cook them or to aid in the removal of the skin from nuts, fruits and vegetables. Method often utilized in preparation of tomatoes. Blanching sets or maintains the color of the food. Blanching also kills enzymes prior to freezing and removes strong or bitter favours, like those found in citrus zests.

Blanquette:   (French) Veal or rabbit stew in a creamy sauce.

Blender:   Electric liquefier with a glass or plastic vessel. A set of rotary blades is attached to the base of the vessel and rapidly reduces most ingredients to a smooth, or blended consistency.

Blending:   Preparation method that combines ingredients with a spoon, beater or liquefier to achieve a uniform mixture.

Blind Bake:   To bake a pie crust without the filling. Metal weights or dried beans are typically utilized to keep the pastry from bubbling.

Blini:   (Russian) Pancake made of buckwheat and yeast. Traditional served as a base for caviar and sour cream.

Blue Cheese:   Produced from cow's milk, semi-soft, blue-veined cheese with a very strong, pungent aroma. Similar in flavor to French Roquefort and Italian Gorgonzola.

Boiling:   Preparation method which cooks a liquid at a temperature of 100-C or 212-F degrees.

Boning:   Preparation process which removes bones from meat, poultry, game or fish.

Bouchee:   (French) Small puff pastry case, baked blind and filled with a savory cream or sweet mixture.

Bouquet-garni:   (French) A bunch of herbs traditionally including fresh parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, etc. Dried Bouquet-garni is bundled in a cheesecloth or muslin bag and fresh is typically tied with string. The herb bundle provides the base flavors to a stew, soup or stock.

Bourguignonne:   (French) In the style of Burgundy, France. Example - cooked with red wine.

Braising:   A cooking method whereby food, typically raw meat, is first browned in oil, then cooked slowly in a liquid of wine, stock, or water.

Brioche:   (French) Soft bread made of rich yeast dough, slightly sweetened. A French sweet yeast bread that typically has a uniquely light flavor and aroma. It is composed of flour, sugar, yeast, milk, butter, and egg yolk. Very similar to the Jewish Challah.

Brine:   Salt and water solution used for pickling and preserving.

Brochette:   (French) Skewer used for grilling chunks of meat, fish and vegetable, over charcoal or under a grill in Europe or under a broiler in the USA.

Browning:   Preparation method which sears in the outer surface of meat to seal in the juices.

Brown Sugar:   Comes in two forms; the more intensely flavored dark brown sugar and the lighter brown sugar, both containing molasses. Dark brown sugar contains more molasses that light brown sugar. To avoid hardening of either sugar, store it in an airtight container. Brown must be sugar packed to measure accurately.

Brule:   (French) finishing method applied to dishes such as cream custards finished with caramelized sugar glaze.

Bulgur:   Whole wheat which has been boiled until tender with the husk about to crack open, then dried. Common ingredient found in Arabic, Turkish, and Cypriot cooking. Purchased coarsely or finely ground.

Burre Manie:   An equal mixture of soft butter and flour, used for thickening soups and sauces. Also called handled butter.

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