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Baking Ingredients Glossary

Baking Ingredients Glossary

Be sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Using milk in place of water will produce a softer crust.

  1. Olive Oil will prevent the bread from drying out too quickly.
  2. Be sure to spoon the flour properly, wrong measurement may mess up the recipe. Fill the cup over the top and then level off with a straight edge. Also remember before measuring molasses or honey, oil the measuring spoon to help it run off better.
  3. If making 100% whole wheat bread use 1 1/2 teaspoons vital gluten per cup of flour. (Vital wheat gluten is a natural protein also known as seitan, is a super-powered flour that is all gluten and has very little starch.)
  4. 1/4 ounce packet of yeast equals 2 1/4 teaspoons.
  5. Using water in which potatoes have been cooked in as it is produces a higher loaf of bread.
  6. If using fresh fruit in a bagel or bread recipe you will need to reduce the amount of liquid used. The fresh fruit like blueberries will add extra liquid.
  7. If your bread is falling or is wrinkling on top, too much liquid was used. If your bread did not rise it could be a number of causes: you forgot the yeast or the yeast was old; or you forgot the salt.

Common Substitutes used in Baking

1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup of milk plus 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice.

1 cup low fat or no fat yogurt = 1 cup of buttermilk.

1 teaspoon baking powder = 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.

1 tablespoon butter or margarine = 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce.

1 tablespoon dry herbs = 3 tablespoons fresh herbs.

1 whole egg = 1/4 cup or 2 egg whites.

1 tablespoon dry milk = 1 tablespoon dry buttermilk.

One can use oil in equal amounts in place of butter or margarine.

All-purpose flourA combination of hard and soft wheats. Unbleached and bleached are the two kinds of all-purpose flours available.
Baking or bitter chocolateUnsweetened chocolate that contains no additional ingredients.
Baking powderA leavening agent made from a combination of baking soda, an acid (such as cream of tartar) and a moisture absorber (such as cornstarch). When baking powder is mixed with moist ingredients, carbon dioxide bubbles are released, causing batter to rise.
Baking sodaA leavening agent known as sodium bicarbonate. When baking soda is combined with an acid ingredient, carbon dioxide gas bubbles are released, causing dough or batter to rise.
Bread flourContains wheats higher in gluten, which gives breads more structure and volume.
Brown sugarMade by mixing refined molasses syrup with white sugar. Light and dark brown sugar are two types available; the darker has a more intense flavor.
ButterA saturated fat made from churning cream until it reaches a semi-solid state.
ButtermilkA thick, smooth liquid made by adding lactic acid bacteria to nonfat or low-fat milk.
Cake flourFor 1 cup cake flour- Measure 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and add to ¾ cup of all-purpose flour. Mix together and use. According to what the recipe demands you can double the quantity.
ChocolateMade from ground cocoa beans in a process that separates cocoa butter from chocolate liquor. The dark-brown chocolate liquor paste is then refined and mixed with various ingredients to produce different varieties.
Cocoa powderDried, unsweetened powder formed from the solid left over after the cocoa butter content has been reduced and extracted from chocolate liquor.
CornstarchA dense, finely ground flour made from the endosperm portion of the corn kernel. Cornstarch is used to thicken desserts, sauces, soups etc. It also keeps sauces clear, not cloudy.
Corn syrupA thick, sweet liquid (light or dark) made by processing cornstarch with acids or enzymes. Light corn syrup is clarified to remove all color and cloudiness. Dark corn syrup has a stronger flavor and a deeper color because it is flavored and colored with caramel. It is a popular ingredient used in candies, frostings and jams because it doesn't crystallize.
Cream of tartarA white powder processed from the acid deposited on the inside of wine barrels. Cream of tartar is added to egg whites before beating to improve stability and volume, and to candies and frostings to make them creamier.
DoughFlour, liquid and other ingredients mixed together in a thick -- but easily kneadable -- paste. Often includes a leavening agent.
Evaporated milkA liquid, slightly thicker than milk, made by homogenizing whole milk from which 60 percent of the water has been removed.
FatUsed in cooking to add flavor to food, to help bind ingredients together, to tenderize baked goods and to fry foods.
FlourThe finely ground grain of wheat, corn, oat, rye or barley used in breads, cakes and cookies.
Granulated or white sugar Made from highly refined beet or cane sugar.
HoneyMade from flower nectar by bees, honey is a thick sweetener often used for pastries and other baked goods. 
HoneyThey comes in three varieties: comb (containing the edible honeycomb), chunk-style (containing pieces of comb) and liquid (comb-less and often pasteurized).
Ice creamMilk, cream and a sweetening agent are the ingredients that make one of the world's favorite desserts.
JellyA cooked mixture of fruit, sugar and sometimes pectin, jelly is used as a spreadable topping for breads and pastries and a filling for baked goods such as cookies.
Key limeSmaller and rounder than standard limes (lemon-shaped citrus fruits). Key limes come from Florida and are more yellow than green. Used in Key Lime Pie.
LardA saturated fat made from rendered pork fat.
Leavener or leavening agentIngredients that are used to lighten the texture and increase the volume of baked goods such as breads, cakes and cookies.
Low-fat milkMilk that contains 0.5 percent to 2 percent butter fat.
MargarineAn unsaturated fat made with vegetable oils. Margarine was originally developed as a butter substitute.
Powdered or confectioner sugarGranulated sugar that has been crushed to a fine powder.
RenninA coagulating enzyme made from the stomach of a calf or other young animal.
Saturated fatIt usually come from animal sources, such as butter or lard, and remain solid at room temperature. Oils high in saturated fat should be avoided because they have been shown to raise blood cholesterol levels.
Self-rising flourAll-purpose flour with a leavener and salt added.
Semisweet and milk chocolateVarieties of chocolate used in baking or for eating made by adding sugar, milk, vanilla or other flavorings to unsweetened chocolate. 
Semisweet and milk chocolateChocolate is available in bars and chips and usually contains 10 percent to 35 percent chocolate liquor.
ShorteningA solid fat made from vegetable oils. The liquid oil is changed to a solid through a process called hydrogenation.
Skim milkMilk that contains less than 0.5 percent butter fat.
SugarA sweetener that is primarily made from sugar beets or sugar cane.
Sweetened condensed milkA thick, sweet liquid made by boiling down a mixture of whole milk and sugar until 60 percent of the water evaporates.
Unsaturated fatOils high in unsaturated fats (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated) have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol level. Unsaturated fats come primarily from plant sources and remain liquid at room temperature.
VanillaA flavoring extracted from the seeds of an orchid.
White chocolateNot a true chocolate because it contains no chocolate liquor. White chocolate is typically made of sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin and vanilla.
Whole milkMilk that contains at least 3.25 percent butter fat.
Whole-wheat flourContains wheat germ, which results in a higher fiber, protein and fat content in baked goods.
YeastA leavening agent that releases carbon dioxide bubbles through fermentation.

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  1. Megha Agarwal says:

    In which mode do you bake the breads? For a cake I use just the botttom element… so for breads what should be used? I tried making some bread today and too didn’t brown because I used only the lower element. Then I had to heat the top and that made the crust of the bread quite hard. Please help

    • Ruchi says:

      Megha, are you using a microwave oven to bake or a conventional oven?
      If using a microwave oven then the bottom rack is perfect but if baking in a conventional oven then the middle rack is good. To get a brown crust on top, you can broil the bread for 1-2 minutes @500 degrees F and above (260 – 290 C). But keep a watchful eye as broiling too much can burn the bread.