Tag Archives: what-is

What is pastry flour?

KA pastry flour

Cake flour, all purpose flour and bread flour are the three types of flour that you’ll most often see when reading through recipes. Once in a while, you might notice a wild card and see that a recipe calls for pastry flour, instead. Pastry flour is a high-starch and low-protein flour. It falls somewhere between the (average) 8% protein content of cake flour and the ... Read More »

What are cacao nibs?

cacao nibs

Dark chocolate bar with cacao nibs. Milk chocolate bar with cacao nibs. Chocolate covered cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are turning up in more and more places, but with little explanation as to what they are because they are almost always an add-in to some other product. Cacao nibs are basically raw chocolate, pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted, hulled and prepped to the ... Read More »

What is a ramekin?

ramekins

Ramekins are one of the few baking dishes that actually have their own name, setting them apart from generic sounding “cake pans” and “baking dishes.” Ramekins are small, cylindrical dishes that are used for baking individually-sized dishes. They are ideal for baking small souffles, as their straight sides make it easy for an egg white-based souffle mixture to rise up the sides of the dish ... Read More »

What is masa harina?

masa harina

When a recipe calls for cornmeal, it is usually referring to a slightly coarse and sandy flour made from ground, dried corn. It’s perfect for cornbread (for instance) and is widely used in other types of cooking, but in Mexico, Central and South America, this coarse type of cornmeal is not popular and a different type is used: masa harina. Masa harina is a very ... Read More »

What is fondant?

The term “fondant” can refer to a couple of different things. In many British cookbooks, for instance, a soft-centered chocolate cake is called “chocolate fondant.” The term primarily refers to a cooked mixture of sugar, water and cream of tartar that can be used either as a candy filling or as a frosting for a cake. Fondant is made by boiling sugar and water to ... Read More »

What is cream of tartar?

cream of tartar

Cream of tartar, more technically known as potassium hydrogen tartrate, is a fine white powder with many culinary applications. It is a byproduct of the winemaking process as the powder forms inside wine barrels during fermentation. It comes from tartaric acid, a naturally occurring substance in grapes and some other tart fruits that in the principle acid in winemaking. It helps to help control the ... Read More »

What is wondra flour?

Wondra flour is an ingredient sometimes called for in baking recipes, mostly in some pie crust and tart crust recipes that promise a flaky and tender crust. It is actually a brand name for a type of instant flour and, because the brand is so widespread, the name Wondra tends to be used in recipes. Instant flour is low protein, finely ground flour that has ... Read More »

What is browned butter?

melting butter

Browned butter is pretty much what it sounds like: butter that has been cooked until it is brown. The slightly more formal name for this is “beurre noisette,” or hazelnut butter – a double reference to the light brown color of the cooked butter and the lovely nutty flavor that it acquires during the cooking process. If you’ve ever cooked with butter, using it to ... Read More »

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