Many culinary terms in common use are taken from French. Phonetic guides for difficult words are included here, using English sounds. However, exact renderings are impossible in many cases because French has a number of sounds that do not exist in English.
Absorption: The amount of water a flour can take up and hold while being made into a simple dough, based on a predetermined standard dough consistency or stiffness; expressed as a percentage of the weight of flour.
Aerobic: Requiring oxygen to live and grow; said of bacteria.
Air cell: A tiny bubble of air, created by creaming or foaming, that assists in leavening a dough or batter.
Allergen: A substance that triggers an allergic reaction.
Allumette: Any puff pastry item made in thin sticks or strips (French word for “matchstick”).
Almond paste: A mixture of finely ground almonds and sugar.
Amylase: An enzyme in flour that breaks down starches into simple sugars.
Anaerobic: Requiring an absence of oxygen to live and grow; said of bacteria.
Anaphylaxis: A sudden, severe, allergic reaction of the immune system.
Angel food cake: A type of cake made of meringue (egg whites and sugar) and flour.
Angel food method: A cake-mixing method involving folding a mixture of flour and sugar into a meringue.
AP weight: As purchased; the weight of an item before trimming.
Apple charlotte: A dessert of apples cut up and baked in a mold lined with bread slices.
Artisan bread: Bread made by a skilled manual worker; usually referring to handmade breads made using traditional methods and with natural ingredients only.
Ash: The mineral content of flour; expressed as a percentage of the total weight.
Autolyse: A resting period early in the mixing procedure of yeast doughs during which the flour fully absorbs the water.
Baba: A type of yeast bread or cake that is soaked in syrup.
Babka: A type of sweet yeast bread or coffee cake.
Bagel: A ring-shaped lean yeast dough product made from a very stiff dough.
Bagged: A cookie makeup method in which the dough is shaped and deposited with a pastry bag.
Baked Alaska: A dessert consisting of ice cream on a sponge cake base, covered with meringue and browned in the oven.
Baked custard: A custard that is baked without being disturbed so it sets into a solid.
Baked meringue: Any meringue mixture that is baked until dry.
Baker’s percentage: A method of expressing ratios of ingredients in a baking formula, in which the weight of each ingredient is expressed as a percentage of the weight of the flour.
Baking ammonia: A leavening ingredient that releases ammonia gas and carbon dioxide.
Baklava: A Greek or Middle Eastern dessert made of nuts and phyllo dough and soaked with syrup.
Bar: A cookie makeup method in which the dough is shaped into flattened cylinders, baked, and sliced crosswise into individual cookies; a cookie made by this method.
Batter: A semiliquid mixture containing flour or other starch, used for the production of such products as cakes and breads and for coating products to be deep fried.
Baumé: A unit of measure indication the specific gravity of a solution, often used to indicate sugar concentration.
Baumkuchen (bowm koo khen): A cake made by adding one thin layer of batter at a time to a pan and browning lightly under a broiler after each addition, repeating until the cake is the desired thickness.
Bavarian cream: A light, cold dessert made of gelatin, whipped cream, and custard sauce or fruit.
Beignet soufflé (ben yay soo flay): A type of fritter made with éclair paste, which puffs up greatly when fried.
Biga: A yeast pre-ferment made as a stiff dough.
Biscuit method: A mixing method in which the fat is mixed with the dry ingredients before the liquid ingredients are added.
Black Forest torte: A chocolate sponge layer cake filled with whipped cream and cherries.
Blancmange (bla mahnge): (1) An English pudding made of milk, sugar, and cornstarch; (2) A French dessert made of milk, cream, almonds, and gelatin.
Blitz puff pastry: A type of pastry mixed like a very flaky pie dough, then rolled and folded like puff pastry.
Bloom: A whitish coating on chocolate caused by separated cocoa butter.
Blown sugar: Pulled sugar made into thin-walled, hollow shapes by being blown up like a balloon.
Boiled icing: Italian meringue used as a cake icing.
Bolting: The process of sifting flour, primarily to separate the bran.
Bombe: A type of frozen dessert made in a dome-shaped mold.
Boston cream pie: A sponge cake or other yellow cake filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate fondant or confectioners’ sugar.
Boulanger (boo lawn zhay): Bread baker.
Boulanger: An eighteenth-century Parisian credited with starting the first restaurant.
Bran flour: Flour to which bran flakes have been added.
Bran: The hard outer covering of kernels of wheat and other grains.
Bread flour: Strong flour, such as patent flour, used for breads.
Break system: A milling system to produce various grades of flour by repeatedly breaking the grains between rollers and sifting.
Brioche: Rich yeast dough containing large amounts of eggs and butter; a product made from this dough.
Brix: A unit of measure indicating the sugar concentration of a solution.
Brown sugar: Regular granulated sucrose containing impurities that give it a distinctive flavor.
Buttercream: An icing made of butter and/or shortening blended with confectioners’ sugar or sugar syrup and, sometimes, other ingredients.
Cabinet pudding: A baked custard containing sponge cake and fruit.
Cake flour: A fine, white flour made from soft wheat.
Calorie: The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius.
Cannoli: Fried Italian pastries made in tube shapes, generally with a sweet cream or cheese filling (singular form is cannolo).
Caramelization: The browning of sugars caused by heat.
Carbohydrate: Any of a group of compounds, including starches and sugars, that supply energy to the body.
Carême, Marie-Antoine: Important nineteenth-century cook and pastry chef.
Cassata: An Italian-style bombe, usually with three layers of different ice creams, plus a filling of Italian meringue.
Cast sugar: Sugar boiled to the hard crack stage and then poured into molds to harden. Also called poured sugar.
Celcius scale: The metric system of temperature measurement, with 0°C set at the freezing point of water and 100°C at the boiling point of water.
Celiac disease: A reaction to gluten in which the lining of the intestine is damaged.
Celsius scale: The metric system of temperature measurement, with 0°C at the freezing point of water and 100°C at the boiling point of water.
Centi-: Prefix in the metric system meaning “one-hundredth.”
Challah: A rich egg bread, often made as a braided loaf.
Charlotte ring: A metal ring used as a mold for charlottes and other desserts.
Charlotte: (1) A cold dessert made of Bavarian cream or other cream in a special mold, usually lined with ladyfingers or other sponge products; (2) A hot dessert made of cooked fruit and baked in a special mold lined with strips of bread.
Chemical leavener: A leavener such as baking soda, baking powder, or baking ammonia, which releases gases produced by chemical reactions.
Chiffon cake: A light cake made by the chiffon method.
Chiffon method: A cake-mixing method involving the folding of whipped egg whites into a batter made of flour, egg yolks, and oil.
Chiffon pie: A pie with a light, fluffy filling containing egg whites and, usually, gelatin.
Chocolate liquor: Unsweetened chocolate, consisting of cocoa solids and cocoa butter.
Chocolate truffle: A small ball of chocolate ganache, served as a confection.
Cholesterol: A fatty substance found in foods derived from animal products and in the human body; it has been linked to heart disease.
Christmas pudding: A dark, heavy steamed pudding made of dried and candied fruits, spices, beef suet, and crumbs.
Ciabatta: A type of Italian bread made from a very slack dough deposited on pans with minimal shaping.
Clear flour: A tan-colored wheat flour made from the outer portion of the endosperm.
Coagulation: The process by which proteins become firm, usually when heated.
Cobbler: A fruit dessert similar to a pie, but without a bottom crust.
Cocoa butter: A white or yellowish fat found in natural chocolate.
Cocoa: The dry powder that remains after cocoa butter is pressed out of chocolate liquor.
Common meringue: Egg whites and sugar whipped to a foam; also called French meringue.
Complex presentation: A style of plating a dessert consisting of an arrangement of two or more desserts plus sauces and garnishes.
Compote: Cooked fruit served in its cooking liquid, usually a sugar syrup.
Conching: A step in the manufacturing of chocolate, the purpose of which is to create a fine, smooth texture.
Confectioners’ sugar: Sucrose ground to a fine powder and mixed with a little cornstarch to prevent caking.
Confisseur (cone fee sur): A candy maker.
Contaminated: Containing a harmful substance not originally present in the food.
Cooked fruit method: A method for making pie fillings in which the fruit is cooked and thickened before being placed in the pie crust.
Cooked juice Mmethod: A method for making pie fillings in which the fruit juices are cooked, thickened, and mixed with the fruit.
Cornstarch pudding: A sweetened liquid, usually milk and flavorings, that is boiled with cornstarch to thicken it.
Coulis: A sweetened fruit purée, used as a sauce.
Coupe: A dessert consisting of one or two scoops of ice cream or sherbet placed in a dish or glass and topped with any of a number of syrups, fruits, toppings, and garnishes; a sundae.
Couverture: Natural, sweet chocolate containing no added fats other than natural cocoa butter; used for dipping, molding, coating, and similar purposes.
Cream pie: An unbaked pie containing a pastry cream–type filling.
Cream pudding: A boiled pudding made of milk, sugar, eggs, and starch.
Creaming method: A mixing method that begins with the blending of fat and sugar; used for cakes, cookies, and similar items.
Creaming: The process of beating fat and sugar together to blend them uniformly and to incorporate air.
Crème anglaise (krem awng glezz): A light vanilla-flavored custard sauce made of milk, sugar, and egg yolks.
Crème brûlée: A rich custard with a brittle top crust of caramelized sugar (French name means “burnt cream”).
Crème caramel: A custard baked in a mold lined with caramelized sugar, then unmolded.
Crème chantilly (krem shawn tee yee): Sweetened whipped cream flavored with vanilla.
Crème Chiboust: A cream filling made of pastry cream, gelatin, meringue, and flavorings.
Crème fraîche (krem fresh): A slightly aged, cultured heavy cream with a slightly tangy flavor.
Crêpe (krep): A very thin French pancake, often served rolled around a filling.
Crêpes Suzette: French pancakes served in a sweet sauce flavored with orange.
Croissant (krwah sawn): A flaky, buttery yeast roll shaped like a crescent and made from a rolled-in dough.
Cross-contamination: The transfer of pathogens to food from another food or from work surfaces or equipment.
Crumb crust: A piecrust made of cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar.
Crumb: the interior of a baked item, distinct from the crust.
Crystallize: To form crystals, as in the case of dissolved sugar.
Cuisinier (kwee zee nyay): A cook; the head of a kitchen.
Custard: A liquid thickened or set by the coagulation of egg protein.
Dark chocolate: Sweetened chocolate that consists of chocolate liquor and sugar.
Deci-: Prefix in the metric system meaning “one-tenth.”
Décorateur: A pastry chef who specializes in or is skilled at decorative work, such as showpieces, sugar work, and fancy cakes.
Demerara sugar: A type of crystalline brown sucrose.
Dessert syrup: A flavored sugar syrup used to flavor and moisten cakes and other desserts.
Devil’s food cake: A chocolate cake made with a high percentage of baking soda, which gives the cake a reddish color.
Diastase: Various enzymes, found in flour and in diastatic malt, that convert starch into sugar.
Disaccharide: A complex or double sugar, such as sucrose.
Dobos torte: A Hungarian cake made of seven thin layers filled with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramelized sugar.
Docking: Piercing or perforating pastry dough before baking in order to allow steam to escape and to avoid blistering.
Double-acting baking powder: Baking powder that releases some of its gases when it is mixed with water and the remaining gases when it is heated.
Double-panning: Placing a baking sheet or pan on or in a second pan to prevent scorching the bottom of the product being baked.
Dough relaxation: A period of rest in the production of yeast dough during which gluten strands become adjusted to their new length and become less tight.
Drained weight: The weight of solid canned fruit after draining off the juice.
Dredge: To sprinkle thoroughly with sugar or another dry powder.
Drop batter: A batter that is too thick to pour but will drop from a spoon in lumps.
Dropped: A cookie makeup method in which portions of dough are measured with a scoop or spoon and dropped onto a baking pan.
Dutch process cocoa: Cocoa processed with an alkali to reduce its acidity.
Éclair paste: A paste or dough made of boiling water or milk, butter, flour, and eggs; used to make éclairs, cream puffs, and similar products.
Egg-foam cake: A cake leavened primarily by whipped eggs; it usually has a low percentage of fat.
Empty calorie: A food that provide few nutrients per calorie.
Emulsified shortening: Shortening containing emulsifiers so it can be used for high-ratio cakes.
Emulsion: A uniform mixture of two or more unmixable substances.
Endosperm: The starchy inner portion of grain kernels.
English muffin: A yeast dough product made in the shape of a disk and cooked on a griddle.
EP weight: Edible portion; the weight of an item after trimming.
Escoffier, Georges-August: Most important chef of late nineteenth and early twentieth century; organized cooking principles and kitchen hierarchy.
Extract: A flavoring ingredient consisting of flavorful oils or other substances dissolved in alcohol.
Extraction: The portion of the grain kernel that is separated into a particular grade of flour. Usually expressed as a percentage.
Facultative: Able to live and grow with or without the presence of oxygen; said of bacteria.
Fat: Any of a group of compounds, consisting of chains of fatty acids, that supply energy to the body in a concentrated form.
Fermentation: The process by which yeast changes carbohydrates into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol.
Fiber: A type of complex carbohydrate that is not absorbed by the body but is necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Flaky piecrust: A piecrust that has a flaky texture due to layers of fat sandwiched between layers of dough.
Flat icing: A simple icing made of confectioners’ sugar and water, usually used for Danish pastries and sweet rolls.
Flour-batter method: A cake-mixing method in which the flour is first mixed with the fat.
Flow of food: The path food travels in a food service operation from receiving to serving.
Foaming: The process of whipping eggs, with or without sugar, to incorporate air.
Focaccia: A flat Italian bread similar to a thick pizza dough.
Fondant: A type of icing made of boiled sugar syrup that is agitated so it crystallizes into a mass of extremely small white crystals.
Food Danger Zone: The temperature range of 41° to 135°F (5° to 57°C), in which bacteria grow rapidly.
Food intolerance: A nonallergic reaction to a food that may be characterized by any of a variety of undesirable symptoms.
Formula: A set of instructions for preparing a bakery product; a baker’s recipe.
Fougasse: A regional French bread made in the shape of a trellis or ladder.
Four-fold: A technique used to increase the number of layers in puff pastry or Danish pastry by folding the dough in fourths.
Frangipane: A type of almond-flavored cream.
French doughnut: A fried pastry made of choux paste.
French meringue: Egg whites and sugar whipped to a foam; also called common meringue.
French pastry: Any of a variety of small fancy cakes and other pastries, usually in single-portion sizes.
French-style ice cream: Ice cream containing egg yolks.
Fritter: A deep-fried item made of or coated with a batter or dough.
Frozen mousse: A still-frozen dessert containing whipped cream.
Fruit betty: A baked dessert consisting of layers of fruit and cake crumbs.
Fruit cake: A loaf cake containing a high percentage of dried and candied fruits and, usually, nuts.
Fruit cobbler: A baked fruit dessert with a pastry topping or top crust.
Fruit crisp: A baked fruit dessert with a streusel topping.
Fruit gratin: A dessert consisting of fruit plus a topping, browned under a broiler.
Fruit pie: A baked single- or double-crust pie with a fruit filling.
Fruit torte: A layer cake topped with a decorative arrangement of fruit.
Fusion cuisine: The use of techniques and ingredients from more than one regional cuisine in a single dish.
Ganache (gah nahsh): A rich cream made of sweet chocolate and heavy cream.
Garnish: An edible item added to another food as a decoration or accompaniment.
Gâteau St-Honoré: A pastry consisting of a base made of short pastry and pâte à choux and a cream filling, usually crème Chiboust or crème diplomat.
Gâteau (gah toe): French word for “cake.”
Gaufre (go fr): French for “waffle.”
Gelatin: A water-soluble protein extracted from animal tissue; used as a jelling agent.
Gelatinization: The process by which starch granules absorb water and swell in size.
Gelato: Italian ice cream.
Genoise: A sponge cake made by whipping whole eggs with sugar and folding in flour and, sometimes, melted butter.
Germ: The plant embryo portion of a grain kernel.
Glacé (glah say): (1) Glazed; coated with icing; (2) Frozen.
Glacier (glah see yay): A chef who makes ice cream.
Glaze: (1) A shiny coating, such as a syrup, applied to a food; (2) To make a food shiny or glossy by coating it with a glaze or by browning it under a broiler or in a hot oven.
Gliadin: A protein in wheat flour that combines with another protein, glutenin, to form gluten.
Glucose: A simple sugar available in the form of a clear, colorless, tasteless syrup.
Gluten: An elastic substance, formed from proteins present in wheat flours, that gives structure and strength to baked goods.
Glutenin: See Gliadin.
Gram: The basic unit of weight in the metric system; equal to about one-thirtieth of an ounce.
Granité (grah nee tay): A coarse, crystalline frozen dessert made of water, sugar, and fruit juice or another flavoring.
Granulated sugar: Sucrose in a fine crystalline form.
Gum paste: A type of sugar paste or pastillage made with vegetable gum.
HACCP: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points; a food safety system of self-inspection designed to highlight hazardous foods and to control food handling to avoid hazards.
Hard sauce: A flavored mixture of confectioners’ sugar and butter; often served with steamed puddings.
Hard wheat: Wheat high in protein.
Hazard: A potentially dangerous food condition due to contamination, growth of pathogens, survival of pathogens, or presence of toxins.
Hearth bread: A bread baked directly on the bottom of the oven, not in a pan.
Heavy pack: A type of canned fruit or vegetable with very little added water or juice.
High-fat cake: A cake with a high percentage of fat; distinguished from a sponge or egg-foam cake.
High-ratio method: See Two-stage method.
High-ratio: (1) Term referring to cakes and cake formulas mixed by a special method and containing more sugar than flour; (2) The mixing method used for these cakes; (3) Term referring to certain specially formulated ingredients used in these cakes, such as shortening.
Homogenized milk: Milk processed so the cream does not separate out.
Hot milk and butter sponge: A sponge cake batter in which a mixture of warm milk and melted butter is mixed into the batter.
Hydration: The process of absorbing water.
Hydrogenation: A process that converts liquid oils to solid fats (shortenings) by chemically bonding hydrogen to the fat molecules.
Ice cream: A churn-frozen mixture of milk, cream, sugar, flavorings, and, sometimes, eggs.
Ice milk: A frozen dessert similar to ice cream, but with a lower fat content.
Ice: A frozen dessert made of water, sugar, and fruit juice.
Icebox: A cookie makeup method in which the dough is shaped into cylinders, refrigerated, and sliced.
Icing comb: A plastic triangle with toothed or serrated edges; used for texturing icings.
Instant starch: A starch that thickens a liquid without cooking because it has been precooked.
Inversion: A chemical process in which a double sugar splits into two simple sugars.
Invert sugar: A mixture of two simple sugars, dextrose and levulose, resulting from the breakdown of sucrose.
Italian meringue: A meringue made by whipping a boiling syrup into egg whites.
Jalebi: A type of Indian dessert made of deep-fried batter soaked in syrup.
Japonaise (zhah po nez): A baked meringue flavored with nuts.
Kernel paste: A nut paste, similar to almond paste, made of apricot kernels and sugar.
Kilo-: Prefix in the metric system meaning “one thousand.”
Kirsch: A clear alcoholic beverage distilled from cherries.
Kirschtorte: A torte made of genoise, meringue disks, and buttercream and flavored with kirsch.
Kugelhopf: A type of rich, sweet bread or coffee cake, usually made in a tube-type pan.
Lactobacillus: A group of bacteria primarily responsible for creating the acidity in sourdough starters.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: Referring to a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products and eggs.
Lacto-vegetarian: Referring to a vegetarian diet that includes milk and other dairy products.
Ladyfinger: A small, dry, finger-shaped sponge cake or cookie.
Lag phase: A period after bacteria are introduced to a new environment and before they begin to grow and reproduce.
Langue de chat (lahng duh shah): A thin, crisp cookie. The French name means “cat’s tongue,” referring to the shape of the cookie.
Lattice crust: A top crust for a pie made of strips of pastry in a criss-cross pattern.
Lean dough: A dough low in fat and sugar.
Leavening: The production or incorporation of gases in a baked product to increase volume and to produce shape and texture.
Levain: Sourdough starter.
Levain-levure: French for “yeast pre-ferment.”
Levure: Commercial yeast.
Linzertorte: A tart made of raspberry jam and a short dough containing nuts and spices.
Lipid: Any of a group of compounds containing fats and cholesterol.
Liter: The basic unit of volume in the metric system; equal to slightly more than 1 quart.
Macaroon: A cookie made of eggs (usually whites) and almond paste or coconut.
Maillard reaction: A chemical reaction that causes the browning of proteins and sugars together when subjected to heat.
Malt syrup: A type of syrup containing maltose sugar, extracted from sprouted barley.
Marble: To partly mix two colors of cake batter or icing so the colors are in decorative swirls.
Margarine: An artificial butter product made of hydrogenated fats and flavorings.
Marron: French for “chestnut.”
Marshmallow icing: Boiled icing with the addition of gelatin.
Marshmallow: A light confection, icing, or filling made of meringue and gelatin (or other stabilizers).
Marzipan: A paste or confection made of almonds and sugar and often used for decorative work.
Mature (dough): At the ideal stage of development for a yeast dough.
Mature (fruit): Having completed its development and physiologically capable of continuing the ripening process, even when the fruit has been removed from the tree.
Maza: An early type of bread; cakes of grain paste baked by the ancient Greeks.
Meal: Coarsely ground grain.
Mealy piecrust: A piecrust in which the fat has been mixed in thoroughly enough so the dough does not have a flaky texture.
Melba sauce: A sweet sauce made of puréed raspberries and, sometimes, red currants.
Meringue chantilly (shawn tee yee): Baked meringue filled with whipped cream.
Meringue glacée: Baked meringue filled with ice cream.
Meringue: A thick, white foam made of whipped egg whites and sugar.
Meter: The basic unit of length in the metric system; slightly longer than 1 yard.
Metric system: A measurement system based entirely on decimals.
Microorganism: A life form, such as bacteria, too small to be seen without a microscope.
Milk chocolate: Sweetened chocolate containing milk solids.
Millefeuille (mee foy): French term for napoleon; literally, “thousand leaves.” Also used for various layered desserts.
Milli-: Prefix in the metric system meaning “one-thousandth.”
Modeling chocolate: A thick paste made of chocolate and glucose that can be molded by hand into decorative shapes.
Modified straight dough method: A mixing method similar to the straight dough method, except the fat and sugar are mixed together first to ensure uniform distribution; used for rich doughs.
Molasses: A heavy brown syrup made from sugarcane.
Molded: A cookie makeup method in which the dough is shaped into cylinders, cut into equal portions, and shaped as desired.
Monosaccharide: A simple or single sugar such as glucose and fructose.
Monounsaturated fat: A type of fat, normally liquid at room temperature, that contains one double bond in its carbon chain.
Mousse: A soft or creamy dessert made light by the addition of whipped cream, egg whites, or both.
Muffin method: A mixing method in which the mixed dry ingredients are combined with the mixed liquid ingredients.
Napoleon: A dessert made of layers of puff pastry filled with pastry cream.
Natural sour: see Sourdough starter.
Natural starter: see Sourdough starter.
Net weight: The weight of the total contents of a can or package.
No-time dough: A bread dough made with a large quantity of yeast and given no fermentation time, except for a short rest after mixing.
Nougatine: A mixture of caramelized sugar and almonds or other nuts, used in decorative work and as a confection and flavoring.
Nouvelle cuisine: Important cooking style of 1960s and 1970s, known for lighter flavors and elaborate plating styles.
Nutrient density: The quantity of nutrients per calorie.
Nutrient: A substance essential for the functioning or growth of an organism.
Old dough: A dough that is overfermented.
One-stage method: (1) A cookie-mixing method in which all ingredients are added to the bowl at once; (2) A cake-mixing method in which all the ingredients, including high-ratio liquid shortening, are mixed together at once.)
Opera cake: A layer cake made of thin sponge layers, coffee-flavored buttercream, and chocolate ganache.
Opson: In ancient Greece, any food eaten with bread.
Othello: A small (single-portion size), spherical sponge cake filled with cream and iced with fondant.
Oven spring: The rapid rise of yeast goods in the oven due to the production and expansion of trapped gases caused by the oven heat.
Overrun: The increase in volume of ice cream or frozen desserts due to the incorporation of air while freezing.
Ovo-vegetarian: Referring to a vegetarian diet that includes eggs.
Pain d’épice (pan day peece): A type of gingerbread (French name means “spice bread”).
Pain de campagne: French country-style bread.
Palmier (palm yay): A small pastry or petit four sec made of rolled, sugared puff pastry cut into slices and baked.
Panna cotta: An Italian pudding made of cream, gelatin, and flavorings; literally, “cooked cream.”
Pannetone: An Italian sweet bread made in a large loaf, generally containing dried and candied fruits.
Parfait: (1) A type of sundae served in a tall, thin glass; (2) A still-frozen dessert made of egg yolks, syrup, and heavy cream.
Paris-Brest: A dessert consisting of a ring of baked éclair paste filled with cream.
Pasteurized: Heat-treated to kill bacteria that might cause disease or spoilage.
Pastillage: A sugar paste, used for decorative work, that becomes very hard when dry.
Pastry cream: A thick custard sauce containing eggs and starch.
Pastry flour: A weak flour used for pastries and cookies.
Pâte à choux (pot ah shoo): Éclair paste.
Pâte brisée: A type of rich pastry dough used primarily for tarts.
Pâte fermentée: Fermented dough, used as a starter.
Pâte feuilleté (pot foo ya tay): French name for puff pastry.
Patent flour: A fine grade of wheat flour milled from the inner portions of the kernel.
Pathogen: A disease-causing microorganism.
Peasant tart: A baked tart with a custard filling containing prunes.
Pectin: A soluble plant fiber, used primarily as a jelling agent for fruit preserves and jams.
Peel: A flat wooden shovel used to place hearth breads in an oven and to remove them.
Pentosan: A category of carbohydrate gums present in wheat flour and having strong water absorption ability.
Petit four glacé: An iced or cream-filled petit four.
Petit four sec: An un-iced or unfilled petit four (sec means “dry”), such as a small butter cookie or palmier.
Petit four: A delicate cake or pastry small enough to be eaten in one or two bites.
pH: A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance.
Philadelphia-style ice cream: Ice cream containing no eggs.
Phyllo (fee lo): A paper-thin dough or pastry used to make strudels and various Middle Eastern and Greek desserts.
Piping jelly: A transparent, sweet jelly used for decorating cakes.
Pithiviers (pee tee vyay): A cake made of puff pastry filled with almond cream.
Polyunsaturated fat: A type of fat, normally liquid at room temperature, that contains more than one double bond in its carbon chain.
Poolish: A thin yeast starter made with equal parts flour and water, plus commercial yeast.
Pot de crème (poh duh krem): A rich baked custard.
Pound cake: (1) A cake made of equal weights of flour, butter, sugar, and eggs; (2) Any cake resembling this.
Pour batter: A batter liquid enough to pour.
Poured sugar: Sugar boiled to the hard crack stage and then poured into molds to harden. Also called cast sugar.
Praline: A confection or flavoring made of nuts and caramelized sugar.
Pre-ferment: A fermented dough or batter used to provide leavening for a larger batch of dough.
Press: A scaled piece of dough divided into small, equal units in a dough divider.
Profiterole: A small puff made of éclair paste. Often filled with ice cream and served with chocolate sauce.
Protein: Any of a group of nutrients essential for growth, building body tissue, and basic body functions, and that can also be used for energy if the diet doesn’t contain enough carbohydrates and fats.
Puff pastry: A very light, flaky pastry made from a rolled-in dough and leavened by steam.
Pulled sugar: Sugar boiled to the hard crack stage, allowed to harden slightly, then pulled or stretched until it develops a pearly sheen.
Pullman loaf: A long, rectangular loaf of bread.
Pumpernickel flour: A coarse, flaky meal made from whole rye grains.
Punching: A method of expelling gases from fermented dough.
Purée: A food made into a smooth pulp, usually by being ground or forced through a sieve.
Quenelle (kuh nell): A small oval portion of food.
Recipe: A set of instructions for preparing a certain dish.
Regular shortening: Any basic shortening without emulsifiers, used for creaming methods and for icings.
Retarder-proofer: An automated, timer-controlled combination of retarder/freezer and proofer, used for holding and proofing yeast products.
Retarding: Refrigerating a yeast dough to slow its fermentation.
Reversed puff pastry: A type of puff pastry made with the dough enclosed between layers of butter.
Ribbon sponge: A thin sponge cake layer with a decorative design made of stencil paste.
Rice condé: A thick, molded rice pudding, usually topped with fruit.
Rice impératrice: A rich rice pudding containing whipped cream, candied fruits, and gelatin.
Rich dough: A dough high in fat, sugar, and/or eggs.
Ripe (fruit): At its peak of texture, flavor, and sweetness, and ready to be consumed.
Rolled: A cookie makeup method in which the dough is rolled out into a sheet and cut into shapes with cutters.
Rolled-in dough: Dough in which a fat has been incorporated in many layers by using a rolling and folding procedure.
Rôtisseur (ro tee sur): Roast cook or meat cook.
Rounding: A method of molding a piece of dough into a round ball with a smooth surface or skin.
Royal icing: A form of icing made of confectioners’ sugar and egg whites; used for decorating.
Rye blend: A mixture of rye flour and hard wheat flour.
Rye meal: Coarse rye flour.
Sabayon: A foamy dessert or sauce made of egg yolks whipped with wine or liqueur.
Sachertorte: A rich chocolate cake from Vienna.
Sacristain (sak ree stan): A small pastry made of a twisted strip of puff paste coated with nuts and sugar.
Saturated fat: A fat that is normally solid at room temperature.
Savarin: A type of yeast bread or cake soaked in syrup.
Scaling: Weighing, usually of ingredients or of doughs or batters.
Scone flour: A mixture of flour and baking powder used when very small quantities of baking powder are needed.
Scone: A type of biscuit or biscuitlike bread.
Seeding: A technique for tempering chocolate by adding grated tempered chocolate to melted chocolate to cool it.
Sfogliatelle (sfo lee ah tell eh): A Southern Italian flaky turnover pastry with a sweet cheese filling.
Sheet: A cookie makeup method in which the dough is baked in sheets and cut into portions.
Sherbet: A frozen dessert made of water, sugar, fruit juice, and, sometimes, milk or cream.
Short dough: A pastry dough, similar to a basic cookie dough, made of flour, sugar, and fat. See also Short.
Short: Having a high fat content, which makes the product (such as a cookie or pastry) very crumbly and tender.
Shortbread: A crisp cookie made of butter, sugar, and flour.
Shortening: (1) Any fat used in baking to tenderize the product by shortening gluten strands; (2) A white, tasteless, solid fat formulated for baking or deep frying.
Simple presentation: A style of plating a dessert consisting of a portion of one dessert plus optional sauces and garnishes.
Simple syrup: A syrup consisting of sucrose and water in varying proportions.
Single-acting baking powder: Baking powder that releases gases as soon as it is mixed with water.
Soft pie: A single-crust pie with a custard-type filling—that is, a filling that sets or coagulates due to its egg content.
Soft wheat: Wheat low in protein.
Solid pack: A type of canned fruit or vegetable with no water added.
Sorbet (sor bay): French for “sherbet.”
Sorbetto: Italian for “sherbet.”
Soufflé: (1) A baked dish containing whipped egg whites, which cause the dish to rise during baking; (2) A still-frozen dessert made in a soufflé dish so it resembles a baked soufflé.
Sour: Sourdough starter.
Sourdough starter: A dough or batter that contains wild yeasts and bacteria, has a noticeable acidity as a result of fermentation by these organisms, and is used to leaven other doughs.
Sourdough: A dough leavened by a sourdough starter.
Sponge cake: A type of cake made by whipping eggs and sugar to a foam, then folding in flour.
Sponge method: A cake-mixing method based on whipped eggs and sugar.
Sponge roll: See Swiss roll.
Sponge: A batter or dough of yeast, flour, and water that is allowed to ferment and is then mixed with more flour and other ingredients to make a bread dough.
Spread: The tendency of a cookie to spread out and flatten when baked.
Spun sugar: Boiled sugar made into long, thin threads by dipping wires into the sugar syrup and waving them so the sugar falls off in fine streams.
Staling: The change in texture and aroma of baked goods due to the loss of moisture by the starch granules.
Standardized formula: A set of instructions describing the way a particular establishment prepares a certain baked item.
Starch retrogradation: A chemical change of starch molecules that is responsible for staling.
Stencil Paste: A type of thin cookie or wafer dough used to make cookies in decorative shapes and for making decorative patterns in ribbon sponge.
Stencil: A pattern cut from plastic or cardboard, used for depositing batter for thin cookies made in decorative shapes.
St-Honoré: (1) A dessert made of a ring of cream puffs set on a short dough base and filled with a type of pastry cream; (2) The cream used to fill this dessert, made of pastry cream and whipped egg whites.
Stirred custard: A custard stirred while it is cooked so it thickens but does not set.
Stollen: A type of sweet yeast bread with fruit.
Straight dough method: A mixing method for yeast goods in which all ingredients are mixed together at once.
Straight flour: Flour made from the entire wheat kernel minus the bran and germ.
Streusel (stroy sel): A crumbly topping for baked goods, consisting of fat, sugar, and flour rubbed together.
Strong flour: Flour with a high protein content.
Strudel: (1) A type of dough that is stretched until paper thin; (2) A baked item consisting of a filling rolled up in a sheet of strudel dough or phyllo dough.
Sucralose: A type of synthetic sweetener derived from sucrose.
Sucrose: The chemical name for regular granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar.
Sugar cage: A lacy dome of hard or caramelized sugar.
Swiss meringue: Egg whites and sugar warmed, usually over hot water, and then whipped to a foam.
Swiss roll: A thin sponge cake layer spread with a filling and rolled up.
Syrup: One or more types of sugar dissolved in water, often with small amounts of other compounds or impurities that give the syrup flavor.
Syrup pack: A type of canned fruit containing sugar syrup.
Tablage: A technique for tempering chocolate by cooling it on a marble slab.
Tart: A flat, baked item consisting of a pastry and a sweet or savory topping or filling; similar to a pie but usually thinner.
Tarte Tatin: An upside-down apple tart.
Tempering: The process of melting and cooling chocolate to a specific temperature in order to prepare it for dipping, coating, or molding.
Three-fold: A technique used to increase the number of layers in puff pastry or Danish pastry by folding the dough in thirds.
Tiramisù: An Italian dessert made of ladyfinger sponge flavored with espresso coffee and a creamy cheese filling.
Torte: German for various types of cakes, usually layer cakes.
Trans fat: A solid fat, usually manufactured by hydrogenation, that limits the body’s ability to rid itself of cholesterol.
Tulipe: A thin, crisp cookie molded into a cup shape.
Tunneling: A condition of muffin products characterized by large, elongated holes; caused by overmixing.
Turntable: A pedestal with a flat, rotating top, used for holding cakes while they are being decorated.
Two-stage method: A cake-mixing method beginning with the blending of flour and high-ratio shortening and followed by the addition of liquids. Also called the high-ratio method.
Vacherin (vah sher ran): A crisp meringue shell filled with cream, fruits, or other items.
Vegan: Referring to a vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products, including dairy products and eggs.
Vitamin: any of a group of compounds that are present in foods in very small quantities and that are necessary for regulating body functions.
Wash: (1) A liquid brushed onto the surface of a product, usually before baking. (2) To apply such a liquid.
Water hardness: the mineral content of water.
Water pack: A type of canned fruit or vegetable containing the water used to process the item.
Weak flour: Flour with a low protein content.
White couverture: A confection consisting of cocoa butter, milk solids, and sugar. Sometimes erroneously called white chocolate.
Whole wheat flour: Flour made by grinding the entire wheat kernel, including the bran and germ.
Yeast starter: A type of sourdough starter made with a cultivated yeast.
Young dough: A dough that is underfermented.
Zabaglione: An Italian dessert or sauce made of whipped egg yolks and Marsala wine.
Zest: The colored outer portion of the peel of citrus fruits.