The Ultimate Baking Ingredient Glossary

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An extensive A-Z list of baking ingredients! This baking glossary is a handy resource to have if you’re ever unsure about a recipe.

the ultimate baking ingredient glossary

Baking Ingredients A-Z

If you’ve ever come across a baking ingredient that you’re unsure of, be sure to bookmark this page!

We’ve compiled an extensive list of all the baking ingredients we could think of, from different types of flours & sugar, to more specialised ingredients (like diastatic malt powder & gianduja). If there’s a baking ingredient that we’ve ever used on this blog, it’s listed & explained here!

All Purpose/Plain FlourFlour with a fairly low protein content. Made from a mix of hard & soft wheats & is commonly used for cakes, biscuits & cookies.
AgavePopular in vegan baking, this syrup comes from the Mexican agave plant & is used as a sweetener.
Baking PowderA raising agent (leavening agent) that is commonly used to make cakes & cookies rise as they bake. Not the same thing as baking soda!
Bicarbonate Of SodaAlso called baking soda, this is another raising agent used in cakes, cookies & pancakes. In order to activate, this needs to be used alongside something acidic like buttermilk.
BigaA type of pre ferment, commonly used in Italian breads like pizza & ciabatta. This is used in place of dried yeast.
Bittersweet ChocolateBittersweet chocolate is a type of dark chocolate that contains a cocoa content of 70%-85%. This contains less sugar than semisweet chocolate, which makes it more bitter but also more flavourful.
Bread FlourBread flour has a higher protein content (around 12-15%) compared to plain flour. The higher protein content of bread flour, is key for proper gluten development.
Brown ButterBrown butter is butter that has been cooked until the water in the butter has evaporated & the milk solids have been toasted, or browned. The result is a butter that is brown in colour & super nutty in flavour.
Brown SugarBrown sugar is cane sugar that has had molasses added back in. The more molasses added in, the darker the brown sugar. Brown sugar adds a rich, caramelised flavour to baked goods.
Buckwheat FlourBuckwheat is part of the rhubarb family, so this flour is gluten free. This adds a nutty flavour to cakes, cookies, pancakes & more!
ButterButter is a type of fat, which adds flavour, structure & richness to cakes, pastries & cookies, to name a few. Unsalted butter is a popular choice in baking recipes, because it allows more control of the salt content.
ButtermilkA type of fermented milk. Buttermilk is used in baking to add flavour, tenderness & to react with bicarbonate of soda.
Cake FlourCake flour has a lower protein content than plain flour. This makes cakes with a softer, tender crumb.
Caramelised White ChocolateCaramelised white chocolate is made by cooking white chocolate at a low temperature over a long period of time. The result is a deep, golden coloured chocolate that has a rich, complex flavour.
Caster SugarAlso called superfine sugar, this is a white sugar that is finer than granulated. Caster sugar can be used in almost all types of baking.
Cocoa ButterExtracted from cocoa beans, this butter is what chocolate is made with but can also be used in cakes & cookies.
Cocoa PowderA powder made from dried, fermented cocoa beans. Used to add an intense, concentrated chocolate flavour.
Condensed MilkCondensed milk is cow’s milk which has been cooked to remove around 60% of its’ water content. This can be eaten on its’ own, made into caramel or used to add sweetness to ice creams, cakes & desserts.
Cornflour/Corn StarchKnown as cornflour in the UK & corn starch in the USA, this is used to thicken sauces but can also be used to make crispier batters.
CornmealMade from dried corn, cornmeal can be used to make corn bread, pancakes & tortillas.
Corn SyrupMade from the starch in corn, corn syrup is similar to glucose syrup (in appearance & how it’s used). Its’ main use is to add sweetness & to prevent crystallisation in ice cream, sorbets & jams.
Cream CheeseMade from cream & milk, cream cheese is soft, mild & tangy. Commonly used in cheesecakes & frostings.
Cream Of TartarCream of tartar is a chemical compound (potassium bitartrate), commonly used to stabilise meringue & to prevent crystallisation in caramel & candy.
Crème FraicheA type of fermented cream, originating from France. Crème fraiche contains around 30% fat & tastes creamy & slightly tangy.
Crème PatissièreCrème patissière (also called pastry cream) is a thick, creamy custard that is used to fill cakes & pastries. This tends to be flavoured with vanilla.
Dark ChocolateContaining 55% cocoa & above, dark chocolate tastes stronger & more bitter than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is used in baking, to add a richer, more chocolatey flavour.
Demerara SugarSometimes called turbinado sugar, demerara is a raw sugar which means it still contains some of the molasses from when the sugar was refined. Demerara sugar has a coarse texture, a light brown colour & is often used as a finishing sugar.
Diastatic Malt PowderMade from malted barley, diastatic malt powder is used to give breads a softer crumb & an improved crust. This powder also aids fermentation & only needs to be used in small quantities (0.5% of the flour’s weight). This is a speciality ingredient so you’ll need to buy this online.
Double/Heavy CreamOut of all the types of cream, double/heavy cream contains the most fat. Double cream in the UK contains around 48% butterfat whereas heavy cream contains around 36%.
Dried Active YeastA dried, granulated baker’s yeast. Dried active yeast needs to be activated in a warm liquid (around 38°c/100°f) before using. This can be used instead of instant yeast but will take slightly longer to ferment/prove.
Dulce De LecheDulce de leche is a Latin American caramel, made by slowly heating condensed milk. This is available to buy from the supermarket or you can make it at home.
Dutch Processed CocoaDutch processed cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans that have been washed in a potassium solution. This neutralises the acid, giving this cocoa powder a smoother, less bitter flavour & a darker colour. Because this cocoa is alkaline, it won’t react with bicarbonate of soda.
EggsEggs work best in baking when they are at room temperature. Typically, an egg white will weigh around 40 grams & the yolk will weigh around 18 grams.
Egg WashEgg wash is brushed onto baked goods (breads, pastries, pies, etc.) before they are baked. This gives them a shiny, glossy finish. Egg washes tend to be made with either whole eggs or egg yolks & can also be mixed with water, milk or cream, for different finishes.
Espresso PowderMade from dried & blitzed espresso grounds, espresso powder is used to enhance the chocolate flavour in cakes, brownies & cookies. This can be expensive to buy but can easily be made at home.
EssenceAn essence (like vanilla) is a synthetic flavouring but tends to provide less flavour compared to an extract.
Evaporated MilkEvaporated milk is similar to condensed milk (it has the same amount of water removed) but is unsweetened.
ExtractExtracts are a natural flavouring & provides a stronger flavour compared to essences. These tend to be more expensive but more flavourful.
FondantFondant is a type of icing made from icing sugar, glucose & glycerin. Often made as a paste, this is commonly used to coat cakes.
Fresh YeastFresh yeast (also called compressed or cake yeast) is available to buy as small cakes & is made from water & yeast. Fresh yeast doesn’t need activating & can be used instead of dried yeast but you’ll need to use double the amount.
GelatineGelatine is found in the collagen from animal bones, tissue & skin. Available to buy as sheets or powder, this is used as a setting agent. Vegan/vegetarian alternatives are also available.
GiandujaAn Italian chocolate spread/paste, containing hazelnuts & sometimes almonds. This is available to buy online or can be made at home.
GlucoseA sugar syrup used to sweeten baked goods & to prevent crystallisation in ice creams, sorbets & sauces.
Golden SyrupAlso known as light treacle, this is an inverted sugar syrup that is golden in colour & has a sweet, caramelised flavour.
Granulated SugarA white sugar similar to caster sugar but with a larger grain size.
HoneyA sweet, amber syrup produced by bees. This starts as flower nectar, which is then broken down into simple sugars. Honey can be used in cakes, biscuits, icings (to name a few things!) but can also be eaten on its’ own.
HalvaHalva is a traditional Middle Eastern sweet, similar to fudge. This is made by mixing tahini with a sugar syrup & any flavourings (like vanilla).
Icing SugarAlso known as powdered sugar, this is made by milling/grinding granulated sugar into a fine powder. Icing sugar is commonly used to make icing, buttercream & frosting.
Instant/Fast Action YeastA dry baker’s yeast like dried active yeast but doesn’t need activating first. Instant yeast tends to make doughs prove quicker than active dried yeast.
JuiceThe liquid extracted from fruit & vegetables. Common juices used in baking would be lemon & orange, which can be juiced by hand.
LardLard is made of pork fat & can be used to make pastry (either on its’ own or with butter) & also for roasting & frying.
MargarineMargarine is made from vegetable oils & is commonly used as a butter substitute in cakes.
MarzipanMarzipan is made of ground almonds, sugar & egg whites & is commonly used to cover cakes. There are two varieties of marzipan, white & golden. Both taste the same but white marzipan is dyed & golden marzipan is not.
Malt ExtractMalt extract is a dark syrup that is made from malted barley. Commonly used to make bagels & malt loaf, this has a treacle like flavour.
MeringueA dessert made from egg whites & sugar. There’s several different types of meringue, which all have different uses & applications. Some examples of meringue would be French, Italian & Swiss.
Milk (Cow’s)Produced by cows, this milk is available to buy in different varieties, each containing a different fat content (skimmed, semi skimmed & whole). Whole milk is most commonly used in baking because its’ high fat content adds flavour, richness & tenderness (in cakes).
Milk (Alternatives)Milk alternatives are now available to buy in most (if not every) supermarket. Some examples would be oat, soya & almond milk. If you want to swap out milk for an alternative in a recipe, it’s important to use one that has a similar consistency.
Milk ChocolateMilk chocolate typically contains a cocoa content of 35%-55%. This type of chocolate is made with milk powder & is sweeter than dark chocolate.
Milk PowderAlso called powdered milk, this powder is made by removing the liquid from milk (via evaporation). Milk powder can be used in ice cream to prevent ice crystals, in bread to improve the crust’s colour & in cookies (when toasted) to add more flavour.
MisoMiso is a paste made from fermented soya beans. This originates from Japan & comes in a few varieties, mainly red & white. Red miso is fermented for longer & has the strongest flavour, whereas white miso is fermented for a shorter amount of time & has a sweet, mild flavour.
Mixed PeelA mix of chopped, candied orange & lemon peel. This is commonly used in fruit cakes.
Muscovado SugarMuscovado sugar is similar to brown sugar but is less refined & contains more molasses. This gives it a richer, deeper flavour. Depending on the recipe, muscovado sugar can usually be replaced with brown sugar.
Oat FlourA flour made from finely ground oats. Oat flour can be used to makes cakes, cookies & biscuits.
OilA type of liquid fat. Oil can be used in cakes instead of butter & in bread, to soften the crumb.
00 FlourDouble zero is a fine Italian flour. This is used to make traditional pizza & pasta doughs.
Pasta MadreA stiff (or low hydration) Italian sourdough starter. Also called lievito madre, this is what is used to make panettone.
Pasteurised EggsPasteurised eggs have been heat treated to destroy any bacteria. This reduces the risk of illness & means that they can be eaten raw. Pasteurised egg yolks & whites are available to buy in cartons.
PoolishA liquid pre ferment used in place of yeast in bread & pizza doughs. This is made by mixing flour, water & a small amount of yeast & letting it ferment for around a day.
Porridge OatsA type of grain that are used to make porridge, flapjacks (UK style), crumble topping, cookies & oat flour.
Powdered SugarPowdered sugar is the same as icing sugar! This is made by grinding granulated sugar into a fine powder.
Pre FermentA pre ferment is a mix of flour, liquid & yeast that is left to ferment before being used to make bread or pizza. This is used instead of dried or fresh yeast.
Rolled OatsRolled oats are a type of porridge oat. Also called old fashioned oats, these are made by steaming oat groats then rolling them into flakes. These oats are most suited to baking & are the most commonly used,
Rice FlourRice flour is made from finely ground rice. This is used to make pancakes, noodles and for dusting bannetons for sourdough bread.
Sea SaltSea salt is a type of coarse salt that is made by evaporating sea water. A popular use for sea salt in baking, is for finishing chocolate chip cookies.
Self Raising FlourSelf raising (or rising) flour is a mix of plain flour & baking powder. This tends to be used in cakes, pancakes & scones.
Semisweet ChocolateSemisweet chocolate is a type of dark chocolate that has a cocoa content of 50%-60%. This contains more sugar than bittersweet chocolate, which balances out the bitterness.
SemolinaSemolina is made from durum wheat. This is a coarse flour & is used to make pasta & desserts but can be used for rolling out doughs as well.
ShorteningShortening is a solid, white fat made from vegetable oils. Commonly used to make crisp, flaky pastries.
Single CreamSingle cream is a type of dairy. This is a thin cream that contains 18% fat & tends to be used as a pouring cream.
Sour CreamSour cream (or soured cream) is a thick, fermented cream. This has a high fat content & is used to add tenderness to cakes, scones & biscuits.
Sourdough StarterA sourdough starter is a living culture of wild yeasts & good bacteria. This is made by fermenting flour & water and is used to make sourdough bread.
Table SaltTable salt is the type of fine salt that would find in a salt shaker. Its’ small grain size makes it ideal for baking baking because it dissolves/incorporates easily.
TahiniOriginating from the Middle East, tahini is a paste made sesame seeds. You can buy both white & black tahini pastes.
TangzhongA technique that originates from Asia, a tangzhong is where a small amount of the flour & liquid in a bread recipe is pre cooked in a saucepan to make a thick paste (like a roux). This paste is then cooled down & added in to the dough along with the remaining flour & water.
Toasted Milk PowderToasted milk powder is made by cooking powdered milk in a pan, until it is golden brown. Toasted milk is basically a dried version of brown butter & adds a nutty, caramelised flavour to baked goods. Use this alongside brown butter for the best flavour!
T45 FlourT45 flour is a French flour that is traditionally used to make puff pastry, choux & croissants. T45 refers to this flour’s low ash content.
VanillaOne of the most popular flavourings in baking! Vanilla is available to buy as pods, in a paste, as an extract & an essence. High quality vanilla tends to be expensive but you only need to use a small amount.
Whipping CreamWhipping cream contains roughly 36% fat. This allows air to be trapped when whisked. Whipping cream will make a lighter, fluffier whipped cream compared to double cream.
White ChocolateWhite chocolate is made with cocoa butter, milk powder & sugar. This type of chocolate contains no cocoa solids, is sweet and can be used in place of milk & dark chocolate in cakes, cookies & frostings.
Wholemeal FlourWholemeal flours are made using the whole wheat grain/kernel. The extra bran, adds extra flavour to breads, cakes, scones, cookies & biscuits. Wholemeal flours tend to absorb more water so keep this in mind when using.
ZestZest is the outer layer of citrus fruits. This tends to be grated but can also be cut & sliced, depending on how it’s going to be used.

Essential Baking Techniques

Improve your baking with these essential techniques! Featuring guides on how to make brown butter & toasted milk powder for cookies, espresso powder for chocolatey bakes & even homemade dulce de leche.

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