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Culinary Cooking Terms


Cooking Terms



Bake

To cook using dry heat, either covered or uncovered, in

an oven or oven-type appliance.




Bake Blind

To bake a pie crust or shell while empty. To prevent pastry from puffing up, the shell is usually lined with baking paper and filled with “blind beans”. (See below)


Bard

To tie bacon or pork fat over a joint of meat or poultry before it is roasted to prevent it from drying out during cooking.


Baste

To moisten meat or other foods to prevent it drying out while cooking and to add flavor. You can baste using pan drippings or another moist flavoring such as a marinade.


Beat

To make a mixture smooth by adding air. Use a brisk over and over stirring motion with a spoon, or a rotary motion using a manual beater or electric mixer.


Blanch

To heat for a short time in boiling water or steam. Used in preparing food for canning, freezing or drying. It helps loosen the skins of fruits, vegetables or nuts.


Blend

To combine two or more ingredients together thoroughly.


Blind Beans

Dried beans, peas, rice, pasta or specially made beads used to fill pastry shells during baking and later removed.


Boil


To heat a liquid to the point that bubbles break continuously on the surface.


Braise
To cook slowly in a covered pan using a small amount of liquid.

Bread
To coat with flour, then dip into beaten egg or milk, then coat with crumbs from crushed stale bread, cereal or crackers.

Broil
To cook by direct heat, under a broiler or over hot coals.

Caramelize
To melt sugar, or foods containing or mixed with sugar, slowly over low heat without burning, until the sugars melt and become brown in color.

Chop
To cut food into small pieces with a knife.

Clarify
To make a liquid (either butter, stock or broth) clear by skimming away or filtering out fat and impurities.

Coat
To cover food on all sides with flour, crumbs or batter.

Coddle
To cook food (especially eggs) slowly in water just below the boiling point.

Cool
To let hot food stand at room temperature until it is no longer hot.

Cream
To make a fat, like butter or margarine, soft and smooth by beating it with a spoon or mixing with a mixer. Also, to combine a fat like butter with sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Cube
To cut a solid food into squares of about 1/2″ in size or larger.

Cut In
To mix a solid fat (eg butter, shortening or lard) evenly into dry ingredients by chopping with two knives or a pastry blender.

Dice
To cut into small squares of 1/8″ to 1/4″.

Dredge
To cover or coat food with flour or a similar dry ingredient.

Dust
To sprinkle lightly with flour, sugar or another powdery ingredient.

Fillet
A piece of meat, poultry or fish with all bones removed. To fillet is to remove the bones.

Flake
To break food into small pieces, usually using a fork.

Flute
To make decorative indentations around the edge of pastries, vegetables or fruit.

Fold
To combine two ingredients using a specific movement with a spoon. To fold: Go down through the mixture on the far side of the bowl with a spoon or spatula. Bring the spoon across the bottom of the bowl and up the near side. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat. Keep doing this until the mixture is well blended.

Fry
To cook in hot fat; to pan fry in a small amount of fat or deep fry in a large amount of fat that covers the food.

Glaze 
To coat with a smooth mixture to give food a glossy look.

Grate
To rub food against an appliance that cuts it into fine shreds or forms small particles. Often used with cheeses and rinds of citrus fruits.

Grill
To cook on a rack over hot coals or other direct heat source that simulates coals.

Grind
To reduce a food to fine particles using a mortar and pestle, blender or food processor.

Infuse
To steep or heat gently to extract flavor. For example to put a vanilla pod into sugar infuses the sugar with vanilla flavor.

Julienne

To cut meat, vegetables or fruit into long, very thin strips.

Knead

To manipulate dough in order to develop the gluten. This is done using a pressing motion with folding and stretching

For yeast breads: Fold the dough toward you, then push the dough away using the heel of your hand. Rotate the ball of dough 1/4 turn and repeat the action. Continue this motion for several minutes until the dough becomes more elastic or as long as your recipe states. Kneading biscuit dough is done more gently and for less time.

Knock Down or Punch Down

To punch or knead the air out of risen dough so that is resumes the volume it had before rising.

Marinate

To let food stand in seasonings that include at least one wet ingredient to tenderize and increase the flavor.

Mince

To cut or chop food into very small pieces.

Mix

To combine ingredients until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

Pan Broil

To cook uncovered on a hot surface, removing any fat as it accumulates.

Parboil

To cook food in a boiling liquid just until partially done. Cooking may be completed using another method or at another time.

Pare

To remove the outer peel or skin of a fruit or vegetable with a knife.

Peel

To pull away, strip or cut off the outer covering of a fruit or vegetable.

Poach

To cook slowly in a liquid such as water, seasoned water, broth or milk, at a temperature just below the boiling point.

Prove

To let dough or yeast mixture rise before baking.

Purée

To put food through a sieve, blender or food processor in order to produce a thick pulp.

Reduce

To boil down the volume of a liquid in order to concentrate the flavor.

Render

To meld solid fat (eg from beef or pork) slowly in the oven.

Roast

To cook meat or vegetables in an uncovered pan in an oven using dry heat.

Sauté

To brown or cook meat, fish, vegetables or fruit in a small amount of fat (also see Fry).

Scald

To heat milk until just below the boiling point, when you will see tiny bubbles appearing around the edges of the pan. Also, to dip food briefly into boiling water (also see Blanch).

Score

To make shallow slits into the food, usually in a rectangular or diamond pattern.

Sear

To cook meat quickly at high heat to seal the surface of the meat and produce a brown color.

Shred

To cut into long thin strips with a knife or shredder.

Simmer

To cook in liquid that is just below the boiling point. Bubbles will form slowly and burst before reaching the surface.

Sliver

To cut into long thin pieces with a knife. Often used with almonds or pimentos.

Soft Ball

The term used to describe when sugar syrup has been boiled to the point that it is thick enough to form soft balls when dropped into cold water and rubbed between fingers and thumb.

Steam

To cook in a covered container over boiling water. The container should have small holes in it to allow the steam from the water to rise.

Steep

To let a food stand for a few minutes in just boiled water to increase flavor and color.

Stew

To simmer slowly in enough liquid to cover.

Stir

To mix ingredients in a circular motion with a spoon or fork until well blended.

Stir Fry

To cook in a frying pan or wok over high heat in a small amount of fat, stirring constantly.

Sweat

To cook gently, usually in butter, a bit of oil, or the foods own juices to soften but not brown the food.

Toast

To brown with dry heat in an oven or toaster.

Whip

To beat rapidly with a wire whisk, beater or electric mixer to incorporate air, lighten and increase volume.

Zest

To grate the outer, colored portion of the skin of a citrus fruit, avoiding the white pith. The thin parings that result are also called the zest.


 French Culinary Cooking Terms    

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