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Pleasant Hill Grain Baking Glossary
Bain Marie –A container holding hot water into which a pan is placed to slow cook food. A double boiler is a type of bain marie, and with a double boiler, food is cooked in a pot that nests partway into a larger pot. The larger pot has hot water in it, and the top pot is immersed about halfway into the hot water. Ramekins set in a rimmed baking sheet with enough water to come about halfway up the ramekins is another approach to creating a bain marie.
Cooking with a bain marie is a good way to cook/bake foods gently at a very controlled temperature. Foods typically prepared in a bain marie include tempered chocolate, condensed milk, hollandaise, custard, crème brûlée, cheesecake and pâté.
Baker’s Math – (See Baker’s Percentage.)
Baker’s Percentage – Used in bread formulas, this baker’s notation method is based on the total weight of flour in a recipe. Ingredients besides flour are expressed as parts per hundred as a ratio of the ingredient’s mass compared to the flour mass. If a recipe calls for 8 ounces of flour and 4 ounces of water the ratio of flour is 100% and the water 50%. Since all the ingredients are parts per the unit of flour, the total fraction of the recipe will always be above 100%. Baker’s Percentage, or Baker’s Math, makes multiplying or dividing a recipe simpler and it allows for better precision since all ingredients are weighed.
Baking Cocoa – (See Cocoa.)
Baking Powder – A dry chemical leavening agent used to increase the volume and texture of baked goods. Baking powder reacts with acidic compounds such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, citrus, honey and vinegar. When baking powder reacts with an acidic compound in liquid, carbon dioxide is released causing the mixture to bubble. Commercially, baking powder is typically made with baking soda and at least one acid salt, but it can also be made at home by mixing 25% baking soda with 25% cornstarch and 50% cream of tartar. (See our aluminum-free baking powder.)
Baking Sheet – A rectangular, flat, metal pan often with at least one raised edge, this tool is used for baking flat food such as cakes and cookies. Particular kinds of baking sheets include cookie sheets and jelly-roll pans. (See our.)
Baking Soda – In baking, this is a dry chemical leavening agent and antacid. Baking soda reacts with acidic compounds such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, cocoa, citrus, honey and vinegar. When baking soda reacts with an acidic compound in liquid, carbon dioxide is released causing the mixture to bubble. Starting at 176° F, heat causes baking soda to act as a leavening agent. Recipes that commonly call for baking soda include pancakes, cakes and quick breads. Baking soda can also be used for deodorizing, removing stains, and smothering grease fires. Baking soda can also be used as a toothpaste or underarm deodorant as well as a first aid treatment for insect bites or rashes. (See our baking soda.)
Baking Stone – A round or rectangular flat slab of stone sized to fit into ovens to bake food on, especially bread loaves and pizza. To use, place stone in lower part of oven and pre-heat for 1 hour; once hot, place food directly onto stone, on top of parchment paper which can go directly on the stone, or in loaf pans placed onto stone. The stone absorbs some moisture from the food, resulting in crisp brown crusts. Preheating the oven 50˚ F hotter than you wish to bake at, and then turning the temperature down to the desired baking temperature when the dough is put into the oven (or 10 minutes into the baking) offers better bread results. Baking stones help with oven spring, crustiness and brown bread coloring. It is safe to store baking stones in the oven while not in use. (See our.)
Banneton – A round or oblong woven basket commonly made of wood or wicker, often lined with cloth. A Banneton is used to proof bread in. This type of basket was originally used in France. (See our banneton baskets.)
Barley – This starchy, gluten-containing cereal grain has a nutty flavor and physical resemblance to wheat. Barley is a great health-boost for the intestine. By eating 1 cup cooked barley grain a person receives over half of his or her daily value of fiber as well as selenium—an essential trace mineral vital to the immune system. Due to its power to ferment undigested carbohydrates in the colon, barley also helps to both lower blood sugar levels and prevent heart disease. Barley is a healthy choice to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as for those with type 2 diabetes. Unless using pearl barley, soaking is advised to soften the grain, and shorten the cooking time. (See our non-GMO organic pearl barley.)
Barm – The Saccharomyces cerevisiae fungus that is found as yeasty foam on top of fermenting grain. Barm is used in making bread to add lightness and a soft texture.
Basmati Rice – Meaning “the fragrant one” this aromatic, slightly sweet and nut-flavored variety of long-grain rice is grown in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Used in many Indian dishes this rice compliments Indian spices such as curry and will not stick together like other rice, once cooked. Basmati rice has a medium glycemic index rating and may be purchased either as a processed white rice or unprocessed brown rice. (See our non-GMO organic brown basmati rice.)
n. The junction where two planes meet at an angle other than 90° F, such as the edge of a knife blade.
v. To create such an angle, as with a knife sharpener.
Biga – Usually this pre-ferment/pre-dough is quite firm, but can be made loose (100% hydration). The use of a biga comes from Italy to make chewy bread with irregular air pockets. Some of the liquid and flour from a bread recipe are mixed together with some or all the yeast to create the biga mixture which develops in a covered bowl for 12-16 hours. No salt is added to a biga, as it would inhibit yeast development. A biga usually contains a baker’s percentage hydration of 60%-100%.
Black Turtle Beans – Produced mainly in Brazil and India this bean is a common, and sometimes staple, legume in many parts of the world. Legumes are high in both protein and fiber. To speed preparation as well as aid digestibility it's best to soak beans before cooking. Throwing out the soaking water will mean throwing out some good nutrients, but it may be worth it when weighed against the unwanted substances in the soaker water. Up to 33% of the raffinose and up to 20% of the stachyose are removed by throwing out the soaking water—both of which cause flatulence. Regular consumption of legumes, especially black turtle beans, has proven to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. (See our non-GMO organic black turtle beans.)
Bleached Flour – Flour which has been oxidized at an accelerated pace using chemicals to achieve an ultra-white colored flour.
The process of bread loaves opening along slashed marks while baking. The slashes are made with a lame before baking.
Activation of yeast. To activate yeast mix with warm water (115° F) and a sweetener then allow mixture to sit for a few minutes. For details, see Proofing.
Boule – (Pronounced BOOL) Yeasted artisan breads with a rounded top. Boules can be made with lean or enriched dough, but are most often made with lean doughs. To form a boule, the dough may either raise free-standing or in a round banneton.
Bowl Scraper – A semi-flexible, dishwasher-safe tool used for scraping dough, batter, and other mixtures from a mixing bowl. Also may be used as a dough divider. A usual size for this tool is 6” x 3.5.” (See our bowl scrapers.)
Braise – The cooking of meat or vegetables in a little fat, by first searing and then simmering at a lower temperature with some added liquid, in a covered pan. (See our.)
Bran – The outermost layer of grain. In whole grain flour the tiny pieces are sharp and often cut the developed gluten in dough, creating a denser and heavier product than a bran-free white flour product would. Creating a soaker for bread dough will make the bran edges softer, allowing a better bread rise later on. Bran provides a good source of fiber in whole grain flour.
Bread Flour – A high-gluten bleached or unbleached flour ground from hard spring or hard winter wheat. Malted barley and Vitamin C are added into this flour to aid in bread rising and gluten development. Bread flour has a protein content of at least 12.5%—the higher the percent, the stronger the dough rise. This is a good flour to mix with other grain flours to produce a more lightweight product.
Bread Machine – A machine for mixing, kneading, rising and baking bread, dough may be removed part way through the process to finish by hand and in the oven. Some bread machines can make other food such as jams, cakes, and meat loaf. (See our.)
Brown Rice – Unpolished whole grain rice still containing its bran and germ (which are brown colored). Once looked upon as food for the poor, this is now often more expensive than white rice, due to its lower supply and difficulty in storing long term. Brown rice is the healthiest choice of rice because only the outermost layer (the husk) has been removed, leaving the rest of the grain intact and full of fiber and nutrition. Brown rice is high in manganese (providing 88% DV with a 1-cup serving) and is also a good source of selenium and magnesium minerals. (See our non-GMO organic brown rice.)
Brown Sugar – Cane sugar containing some or all of its naturally occurring molasses. Commercially produced brown sugar ranges from light brown with a 4.5% molasses content to dark brown with a 6.5% molasses content (based on total volume). Brown sugar can be made at home by mixing about one tablespoon molasses with one cup white sugar. Brown sugar caramelizes more easily than white sugar, so it is often used in recipes for this attribute. Brown sugar and maple syrup are easily interchangeable in recipes. (See our brown sugar.)
Buckwheat – A gluten-free pseudo-grain used like wheat or in place of rice, but the plant is neither in the grass family or a cereal grain. It belongs to the fruit family and is related to rhubarb and sorrel. Common buckwheat was first grown and used in inland south Asia, and is now grown throughout the world. This crop grows quickly and begins to produce seeds within 6 weeks, with plants fully mature at 10-11 weeks. Studies have shown buckwheat, as well as other whole grains, help prevent against heart disease, diabetes, gallstones, and lowers high blood pressure. (See our non-GMO organic hulled buckwheat.)
Bulgur/Bulghur/Burghul – Cleaned, parboiled, dried, ground, and sifted whole wheat grain that is high in nutrition and quick to prepare. Bulgur is most commonly used to make tabouli salad, but is also great to serve as a pilaf similar to a side of rice, or in soup, casserole or stuffing. Nutritionally, bulgur is similar to brown rice, but with few calories, less fat, and a high amount of fiber. Bulgur is also rich in B vitamins, phosphorus, manganese, and iron.
Burr/Iron Burr/Steel Burr/Stone Burr –