Cooking Terms

Cooking How-To,How-To
April 19, 2011

A glossary to decode your cookbook's tricky terminology.

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Mark Boughton Photography / styling by Teresa Blackburn
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Blanch…dot…flute…what? Sometimes reading recipes can put a serious cramp in your cooking style. Here are some commonly used culinary terms and what they really mean:

Blanch: Plunge food into boiling water for a short period of time and then immediately into cold water to halt the cooking process.

Cream: Beat ingredients (often softened butter and sugar) together with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy—which takes at least 1 to 2 minutes.

Crimp: Use a fork or your fingers to seal the edges of two layers of dough.

Cut in: Distribute solid shortening throughout dry ingredients with a fork, two knives in a scissors motion or pastry blender.

Dot: Sprinkle small amounts of margarine or butter over the surface of pie filling or dough for even melting.

Flute: Press a decorative pattern into the edge of a pastry before baking.

Proof: To allow a completed yeast dough to rise before baking.  Proof can also mean to dissolve yeast in a liquid and set it in a warm place 5 to 10 minutes until foam forms on top.

Stiff and Soft peaks: Beat eggs whites to the stage where the mixture will either form soft or stiff peak shapes when the beaters are removed.