Glossary of terms


1. The International Pie Glossary,,

2. The International Bread Glossary,

3. The International Cookie Glossary,

4. The International Soup Glossary,

5. Internet



Active dry yeast

In the United States, 1 package of active dry yeast = 7 grams or 1/4 ounce. This is equal to 2 1/4 teaspoons. Active dry yeast is an ovendried yeast. It stores well. Yeast acts as a leavening agent. (2)

All-purpose flour

A mixture of high gluten and low gluten wheat flours, the most commonly used flour in the United States. May be bleached or unbleached. (1)

Baking powder

A leavening agent composed of baking soda and an acid (usually cream of tartar). The baking soda reacts with the acid when the baking powder gets wet, making bubbles of carbon dioxide, which make the dough light and airy. Single-acting baking powder produces bubbles during the mixing stage, double-acting baking powder also acts during the baking stage. (1)

Baking soda

Baking soda is also known as bicarbonate of soda, and is a leavening agent, which works by making bubbles of carbon dioxide, when mixed with acids that exist in other ingredients of the dough (like milk, cream, or vinegar). These bubbles make the dough light and airy. (1)


Individual serving size bread requiring little or no kneading and leavened with baking soda or baking powder. (2)


A thick rich cream soup usually made with shellfish or pureed vegetables. (4)

Blind bake

To pre-bake a pastry shell before adding the filling. (1)


A clear soup usually made by cooking meat with vegtables and seasonings and then straining the resulting stock. It can also be prepared from bouillon granules or cubes. Vegetarian varities are also available (4)

Bouquet garni

A combination of several herbs, either tied in a bunch or wrapped in cheesecloth and added to soups, and stews. It is easily removed at any stage during the cooking process. (4)


A thin clear savory liquid made from a combination of vegetables or meats and vegetables that are simmered in water and then strained. Used a base for soups, stews, and sauces. It is a stock that has been reduced slightly. (4)

Brown sugar

Brown sugar is a fine white sugar that has been flavored with cane molasses. Two varieties are common: light brown sugar has a mellow butterscotch flavour, dark brown sugar has a more robust molasses flavour. (1)


Fat that has been removed from cow's milk. In the U.S. butter must contain more than 80% milkfat. Butter is available salted or unsalted. Whipped butter has had air added to make it softer and easier to spread, but should not be substituted directly with regular butter. In the U.S. butter is packaged in sticks which weigh 4 U.S. oz. and contain 8 U.S. table spoons (1/2 U.S. cup). (1)


A thick tangy type of milk that was originally the liquid left over after making butter. It is now widely available in most areas. You can substitute 2/3 cup plain low or non-fat yogurt plus 1/3 cup whole or low-fat milk for each cup of buttermilk. (1)

Cake flour

A low protein flour that is finely ground. (1)


To cook refined sugar until it melts, turns golden brown, and develops a rich slightly bitter taste. You can either cook the sugar with or without the addition of water. (1)


To make liquids clear by filtering, such as in a stock or butter. (4)


A deep-dish pie with a thick crust and a sweetened fruit filling. (1)

Confectioner sugar

Also known as powdered sugar, this is a finely ground white sugar that is the main ingredient in frostings and icings. (1)


A very clear, richly flavored broth that has been clarified of all fat. (4)


In general, a very diverse set of sweet treats. Usually flat, usually baked. Usually, but not always, formed from a stiff dough made from a combination of flour, egg, fat and sugar. The word cookie comes from the Dutch word koekie. (3)

Corn starch

Starchy flour made from corn, often used as a thickener, although sometimes used as a flour. (1)


The fatty part of milk. Varieties available in the U.S. include: Half and half (10.5 -18% milk fat), light cream (18 - 30% milk fat), light whipping cream (30 - 36% milk fat, and heavy cream (more than 36% milkfat) (1)

Cream cheese

Soft, white, unripened cheese made from cow's milk and cream. (1)

Cream of tartar

White powder (potassium bitartrate) that is a component of baking powder. Commonly used to help stabilize whipped egg whites (meringues). Also used as a leavening agent with baking soda in some recipes. (1)


Method of blending to produce a smooth, creamy mixture. This can be done with an electric mixer at low speed, or by pressing / rubbing the mixture between the side of the bowl and the back of a spoon. (1)


Also known as crumbles. Sweetened fruit topped with a crumbly shortbread pastry. (1)


Also known as crisps. Sweetened fruit topped with a crumbly shortbread pastry. (1)

Egg glaze or egg wash

Beaten whole egg, egg yolk, or egg white brushed onto dough before baking to produce a shiny surface. Sometimes used to adhere seeds, herbs or sugar. (1)

Evaporated milk

Milk that has been evaporated to remove some of its water and then canned. (1)

File powder

Often used to thicken gumbo, file powder is ground sassafrass leaves. Overcooking can cause it to become stringy; stir it into a dish after it has been removed from the heat to avoid this problem. (4)


A cut of meat from which all the bones have been removed. Also refers to the act of making a fillet. (4)


Means of mixing a light, airy mixture (like whipped cream or beaten egg whites) with a thick, heavier mixture so as not to flatten the air out of the resulting dough. Pour the light mixture over the heavy mixture in a large bowl. With a rubber spatula, cut down to the bottom of the bowl, turn the spatula, carefully lift up some of the mixture and turn over gently onto the top of the mixture. Give the bowl a quarter turn, and repeat only until the mixture is blended (1)


A sugar based mixture used to decorate cakes and cookies. (3)


This term means to cook in fat. Deep frying, stir frying, and sautéing are all frying techniques. Deep frying requires a large amount of hot fat; the food is completely submerged while cooking. A stir fry requires little fat, and is cooked over high heat. A sauté requires a small amount fat. (4)


A cold Spanish soup made with tomatoes and other fresh vegetables (4)


Usually a sugar based coating that adds a shiny sheen to the tops of fruit and berry tarts. Eggs and milk also work as glaze when lightly brushed on the outside of a crust. (1)


A type of stew, usually beef, with onions and paprika. (4)


Cream that contains 10.5 to 18% milkfat. (1)

Heavy cream

Cream that contains more than 36% milkfat. (1)


White animal fat, usually pork, that has been reduced down to a solid fat. (1)

Light cream

Cream that contains between 18 and 30% milkfat. (1)

Light whipping cream

Cream that contains between 30 and 36% milkfat. (1)


Solid cooking fat invented as a butter substitute. Made from vegetable oils, flavorings, and emulsifiers. In the U.S. margarine must contain 80% oil, products with less oil are often called "spreads" (1)


Egg whites whipped with sugar. (1)


Fermented soybean paste. It's thick, spreadable and commonly used for flavoring soups, marinades, dips, salad dressings and as a condiment. It is high in protein and B vitamins but it also quite high in sodium. It is available in several varieties, the darker varieties tend to be more strongly flavored than the lighter varieties. It is available in Asian food stores, health food stores and some grocery stores. (4)


Small quick breads baked in standard 12 cup muffin tins. (2)


Savory pastries generally filled with a meat, cheese or vegetable mixture. (1)


Dishes made with a crust and filling. The crusts can range from nuts, to cookies, to flour pastry. The filling can range from fruits, to vegetables, and meats. They can be unbaked or baked depending upon the filling and/or crust chosen. (1)

Pizza stone

Otherwise known as a baking stone, a round ceramic surface that provides even heat distribution. (1)


To cook food in a liquid just below the boiling point. (4)

Proofing yeast

Dissolve the yeast in warm (110 degrees F - 45 degrees C) water. The water should feel warm, not hot, to the touch. Provide a food source, a little sugar or honey. Set the yeast aside until the mixture resembles a creamy foam. This should take only a few minutes. If nothing happens, discard the yeast and begin again. (2)

Puff pastry

A type of pastry that through the technique of rolling and folding dough with butter, puffs up when baked and forms almost one thousand layers of flakiness. Thus the French name for it is mille feuilles, or "a thousand leaves" (1)

Quick breads

Breads that use baking soda and/or baking powder as the primary leavening agents. (2)

Quick oats

Also called quick cooking oats, oats that have been hulled, steamed, and rolled; but have been rolled out thinner than "regular" rolled oats so that they cook more quickly. (1)

Rolled oats

Also known as "old fashioned oats", these are oats that have been hulled, steamed, and flattened between rollers. (1)


Individual serving size yeast breads. (2)


A cooked mixture of flour and fat. It's used to thicken and flavor sauces, soups and other liquids. (4)


To sauté, or pan-fry, is to cook food in a small amount of hot fat. 4 To sauté is to cook food quickly in a hot skillet.

Self-rising flour

All purpose flour to which baking powder has been added as a "built-in" leavening agent. Do not substitute self-rising flour for regular flour in a recipe, because you will end up with too much leavening in your dough! (1)

Semisweet chocolate

Also known as bittersweet chocolate. In the U.S. semisweet chocolate is usually packaged in bars which can be broken into squares (1 square= 1 US oz.), or bags of chocolate chips. (1)


Also known as vegetable shortening, or hydrogenated vegetable oil. Hydrogenation alters the melting temperature of the oil so that it remains solid at room temperature. (1)


Means of aerating and mixing dry ingredients (especially flour) by lightly passing the powder through a mesh screen. Hand crank or electric sifters are available, although a fine mesh stainer works well: simply fill the stainer and tap it lightly on the side. (1)


To cook just below the boiling point. (4)

Simple syrup

A syrup made by cooking sugar, water and corn syrup over medium heat (240 degrees F - 115 degrees C) until it reaches the soft ball stage. (1)

Sourdough starter

Yeast and bacteria grown in balance in a sugar and water medium. Used to make breads with a distinctive flavour. Can be kept for long periods with regular feedings. (2)

Soy sauce

A salty, fermented liquid made from soy beans and wheat or barley. (4)


A wet mixture of liquid, yeast, sugar and flour. Used to proof the yeast before adding the rest of the ingredients. (2)


A method by which the food is slowly cooked in a moderate amount of liquid. Also refers to a stewed dish. (4)


A thin clear savory liquid made from a combination of vegetables or meats and vegetables that are simmered in water and then strained. Used a base for soups, stews, and sauces. (4)

Sweet potato

A tuber belonging to the morning glory family. These sweet and healthy vegetables originated in South America. In the U.S. they are sometimes known as yams. (1)

Sweetened condensed milk

A very thick, syrupy evaporated milk to which extra sugar has been added. (1)


A thick paste made from ground sesame seeds. (4)


A rich, dark type of soy sauce. It is wheat free and it is a byproduct of the miso-making process. (4)


Tarts are generally open faced and baked in shallow pans with straight sides. Fillings range from fresh fruit, to savory meats and vegetables. (1)


A high protein, easily digestible curd made from cooked soybeans and sometimes grains. It's somewhat bland flavor makes it extremely versatile as it tends to take on the flavors of the food it is cooked with. It comes in soft, firm and extra-firm styles. You can also purchase it marinated, smoked, and baked. It is readily available in health food stores, Asian food stores, and grocery stores. (4)

Tomato paste

A highly concentrated paste of cooked tomatoes. (4)

Tomato sauce

Canned tomato sauce is a thin tomato purée. The term also refers to a sauce prepared with a tomato base. (4)

Unsweetened chocolate

Also known as baker's chocolate or bitter chocolate. In the U.S. unsweetened chocolate is usually packaged in bars which can be broken into squares (1 square= 1 US oz.). (1)

White sugar

Also known as granulated sugar or table sugar. (1)

Whole wheat flour

Wheat flour that has been ground with the germ and bran. (1)


A leavening that is naturally occurring in nature. The most commonly available types of yeast are fresh (compressed), active dry, rapid-rise, and instant. (2)


A creamy-textured, cultured milk product with a tangy taste. (1)


The brightly colored part of the peel of citrus fruits. It's used to flavor many different baked goods and dishes. (1)

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