Baking Glossary

Blender, food processor
A blender or food processor can speed up some preparation steps by chopping, grinding and mixing. Choose one with variable speeds and parts that are easy to clean.
Choose a set of four nesting glass, stainless steel, plastic, or pottery bowls. Some sets are available with spouts for pouring. Plastic bowls may retain food odors, colors and oils.
Bread machine
A nice-to-have, but not necessary piece of equipment that mixes and bakes bread all in the same machine.
Custard cups
These small glass cups may be used in the oven for baking single-serving desserts and custards. They also are handy for separating eggs, coloring small amounts of frosting and other baking uses.
Decorating bag
This is also referred to as a pastry bag and is a waxed cloth, plastic or paper bag that comes with a variety of screw-on tips for decorating with frostings and icings.
This is a handheld rotary beater that can be used in place of a wire whisk or electric mixer.
Electric mixer
This appliance is used for mixing and whipping ingredients. A portable, handheld mixer is great for light jobs. A freestanding electric mixer works best for bigger quantities and longer mixing times. Many freestanding mixers also come with bread dough hooks for making yeast bread.
A utensil that has surfaces to produce fine to coarse shreds. It is available in plastic or metal.
Sometimes called a reamer, this is a glass, metal or ceramic utensil for removing the juice from citrus fruits. Choose a juicer with holes for straining the juice from the pulp, a spout for pouring and a handle. Some juicers have a rim for placing over a measuring cup or bowl.
An assortment of sharp, serrated, and plain-edged knives in sizes ranging from paring to butcher will fit all your baking needs.
Measuring cups
You will need two kinds: a glass measuring cup, which holds 1, 2, or 4 cups, for measuring all liquids, and a set of metal or plastic 1/4-, 1/3-, 1/2- and 1-cup measuring cups for dry ingredients.
Measuring spoons
Measuring spoons for 1/4, 1/2 and 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon are available in metal or plastic for measuring small amounts of both dry and liquid ingredients.
Metal spatula
This is used for leveling off ingredients. Rounded-end spatulas are used for frosting cakes.
Mixing spoons
Whether you prefer plastic, wood, or metal, you’ll want to have several mixing spoons of varying sizes on hand.
Pancake turner
This is used to remove cookies from baking sheets or bars from pans. One with a short, wide blade works best.
Pastry blender
A pastry blender is a set of parallel curved wires attached to a handle used to cut butter and/or shortening into the dry ingredients for pastry or biscuit dough. Inexpensive and available in supermarkets and housewares stores, a pastry blender does a good job of working the fat into the flour until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.
Pastry brush
Use this to spread glazes and grease pans. Choose a brush with soft natural or synthetic bristles that won’t tear or mark dough.
Pastry cloth
A sturdy, washable, canvas-like cloth to help prevent rolled dough from sticking to a counter or tabletop.
Rolling pin
This is used for rolling out dough. Choose a smooth, non-porous finish, either wood, marble or plastic. Wooden rolling pins are lightweight, inexpensive and readily available. However, these can become permeated with oils and flour if the surface is nicked or damaged. To keep dough from sticking, cover the rolling pin with a rolling pin cover. Marble rolling pins are heavy and roll dough evenly and quickly. When they are chilled, dough does not stick to them.
Rolling pin cover
This is also referred to as a stockinette cover. Made of a tube-knit cotton, it is stretched over a rolling pin. The cloth is then lightly floured and helps prevent rolled dough from sticking.
Rubber scraper
Choose a wide, slightly stiff blade and a strong handle for scraping the sides of the bowl during mixing. Keep one just for baking so that it won’t pick up strong odors from savory foods such as onions.
This is necessary for draining liquids and for rinsing fruit and is available in plastic or wire mesh.
This is important for accurate baking times and is available in a number of styles. Choose one with a loud tone.
Wire racks
For cooling baked goods, racks allow air to circulate around the food and keep crusts from getting soggy. They are available in several sizes.
Wire whisk
This is used for mixing, beating egg whites and whipping cream and is available in a variety of sizes. Larger whisks are appropriate for bigger quantities and heavier mixtures. Choose ones with comfortable handles.