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Basic Kitchen Equipment

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.
Bowls: 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.
Eggbeater: 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.
Grater: A utensil that has surfaces to produce fine to coarse shreds. It is available in plastic or metal.
Juicer: 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.
Knives: 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.
Strainer: This is necessary for draining liquids and for rinsing fruit and is available in plastic or wire mesh.
Timer: 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.
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Preparing To Bake

Heating the Oven: To help ensure accurate baking times, it is necessary to heat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
Preparing the Pan: Most recipes for baked goods call for the pan to be greased, or greased and floured. Prepare the pan before you begin making the recipe.
To grease a pan:
• Use a solid vegetable shortening because it won’t brown or add flavor to your baked goods.
• With a paper towel or pastry brush, apply a thin, even layer of shortening to the pan. Grease generously, if specified in recipe, to ensure easy removal of baked items from the pan.
• Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray To grease and flour a pan:
• Grease the pan. Then add a tablespoon of flour to the pan and shake the pan so that flour sticks to all greased areas.
• Turn the pan upside down and tap the bottom to remove excess flour.
• In a small bowl, blend 1/4 cup shortening and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour until well mixed.
• To grease and flour a pan, apply a thin, even layer of the shortening-flour mixture with a paper towel or pastry brush. (Store remaining mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)
To paper-line a pan:
• Line the pan with parchment paper or waxed paper cut to the appropriate size.
• Grease the paper if specified in the recipe.
Recipe Preparation Tips: Before you begin any food preparation, read through each recipe in your menu. Then assemble all ingredients, utensils and cookware to make certain you have everything on hand. Preparation will be easier and results more successful if you avoid substituting ingredients and equipment. Also take care to use the technique (slicing, dicing, shredding, etc.) specified to achieve even cooking and the desired appearance.
Cook’s helpers, such as the mixer, blender, deep-fat fryer, food processor and microwave can save time and work if used wisely. Be aware of when each can be used to full advantage and when it might be quicker and easier to tackle a job by hand. For efficiency, complete similar tasks when utensils are readily available–for example, do all necessary dicing, chopping and slicing of foods at the same time.
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Glossary Of Baking Terms

The language of baking clarifies what techniques and methods are needed for each recipe. Once you learn this language, you’re on your way to mastering any recipe.

Bake: To cook in an oven with dry heat. The oven should always be heated for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.

Batter: A mixture of flour, liquid, and other ingredients that is thin enough to pour.

Beat: To thoroughly combine ingredients and incorporate air with a rapid, circular motion. This may be done with a wooden spoon, wire whisk, rotary eggbeater, electric mixer, or food processor.

Blanch: To partially cook food by plunging it into boiling water for a brief period, then into cold water to stop the cooking process.

Boil: To heat a liquid until bubbles rise continually to the surface and break.

Caramelize: To heat sugar until it is melted and brown. Caramelizing sugar gives it a distinctive flavor.

Chop: To cut into small pieces using a sharp knife, appliance, or scissors.

Coats spoon: When a thin, even film covers a metal spoon after it has been dipped into a cooked mixture and allowed to drain.

Combine: To stir together two or more ingredients until mixed.

Cool: To come to room temperature.

Cream: To beat one or more ingredients, usually margarine or butter, sugar, and/or eggs, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.

Crimp: To seal the edges of two layers of dough with the tines of a fork or your fingertips.

Cut in: To distribute solid fat throughout the dry ingredients using a pastry blender, fork, or two knives in a scissors motion.

Dash A measurement less than 1/8 teaspoon.

Dough: A soft, thick mixture of flour, liquids, fat, and other ingredients.

Dot To distribute small amounts of margarine or butter evenly over the surface of pie filling or dough.

Drizzle: To drip a glaze or icing over food from the tines of a fork or the end of a spoon.

Dust: To sprinkle lightly with sugar, flour, or cocoa.

Flute: To make or press a decorative pattern into the raised edge of pastry.

Fold in: To gently combine a heavier mixture with a more delicate substance, such as beaten egg whites or whipped cream, without causing a loss of air.

Glaze: To coat with a liquid, thin icing, or jelly before or after the food is cooked.

Grate: To shred with a handheld grater or food processor.

Grease:. To rub fat on the surface of a pan or dish to prevent sticking.

Grind: To produce small particles of food by forcing food through a grinder.

Knead: To fold, push and turn dough or other mixture to produce a smooth, elastic texture.

Lukewarm: A temperature of about 105°F, which feels neither hot nor cold.

Mix: To stir together two or more ingredients until they are thoroughly combined.

Mix until just moistened: To combine dry ingredients with liquid ingredients until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened but the mixture is still slightly lumpy.

Partially set: To refrigerate a gelatin mixture until it thickens to the consistency of unbeaten egg whites.

Peel: To remove the skin of a fruit or vegetable by hand or with a knife or peeler. This also refers to the skin or outer covering of a fruit or vegetable.

Proof: To allow yeast dough to rise before baking. Or to dissolve yeast in a warm liquid and set it in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes until it expands and becomes bubbly.

Refrigerate: To chill in the refrigerator until a mixture is cool or until dough is firm.

Rind: The skin or outer coating of such foods as citrus fruit or cheese.

Rolling boil: To cook a mixture until the surface billows rather than bubbles.

Rounded teaspoon: When dough is slightly mounded, not level.

Scald: To heat a mixture or liquid to just below the boiling point.

Score: To cut slits in food with a knife, cutting partway through the outer surface.

Softened: Margarine, butter, ice cream, or cream cheese that is in a state soft enough for easy blending, but not melted.

Shred: To cut food into narrow strips using a sharp knife, grater, or food processor fitted with a shredding disk.

Soft peaks: Egg whites or whipping cream beaten to the stage where the mixture forms soft, rounded peaks when the beaters are removed.

Steam: To cook food on a rack or in a wire basket over boiling water.

Stiff peaks: Egg whites beaten to the stage where the mixture will hold stiff, pointed peaks when the beaters are removed.

Stir: To combine ingredients with a spoon or whisk using a circular motion.

Toss: To mix lightly with a lifting motion, using two forks or spoons.

Whip: To beat rapidly with a wire whisk or electric mixer to incorporate air into a mixture in order to lighten and increase the volume of the mixture.

Zest: The colored outer peel of citrus fruit, which is used to add flavor. The zest is often referred to as “grated peel” in recipes. To create zest, choose the diagonal-hole side of a box grater (it will zest more cleanly than if you use the nail-hole side) and rub lightly to avoid getting the white pith, which is bitter. For broader strips of zest, use a swivel-blade peeler or a sharp knife to cut away the peel.

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