Tag Archives: what-is

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 »

What is spelt flour?

spelt flour

Spelt flour is one of the most popular whole grain, non-wheat flours available. It shows up in pastas, breads and in a variety of specifically wheat-free recipes. But what exactly is spelt flour? Spelt is a cereal grain in the wheat family, but it is not the same thing as wheat (same genus, different species). The grain has been cultivated for centuries, in both central ... Read More »

Do I need a flour sifter?

There are lots of recipes out there that call for sifted flour – particularly cake flour – and even more that ask you to sift together dry ingredients before incorporating them into the batter of whatever it is you’re making. Do you need to have a flour sifter to ensure that the recipes work properly? And for that matter, does flour really need to be ... Read More »

What are demerara, turbinado and muscovado sugars?

demarra and muscovado sugar

When it comes to baking, recipes mostly call for powdered/confectioners’ sugar, plain sugar or brown sugar. The textures and properties of these three types are taken into account when the recipe is formulated. But they are not the be-all and end-all of sugars, and a few of the “specialty” sugars (by which I mean that they’re less common here in the US) are gaining in ... Read More »

What is self-rising flour?

What is Self-Rising Flour? Self Rising Flour Brands

Self-rising flour has an almost magical sound to it. And if you look at recipes that call for it, you’ll see that they do not call for the addition of salt or leavening agents, though biscuits, cakes and breads made with seem to rise up just fine. The reason for this is that self-rising flour is actually nothing of the sort. It is flour that ... Read More »

Active Dry, Instant and Rapid Rise yeasts

Yeast is a living organism, a microorganism that (usually in conjunction with many of its friends) converts sugar into carbon dioxide, producing bubbles in bread dough and giving us lovely, light loaves at the end of the process. There are really two options available to the baker when he or she wants to make bread: use a starter that contains naturally captured yeast, or use ... Read More »

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