When you begin baking, it can be intimidating trying to decipher the various baking terms like "folding" and "whipping." Having been an avid baker for over six years, I can assure you that baking is a lot of fun once you get past its jargon. If you're unsure what some of these common terms mean, you're in the right place. Here's what 12 of the most common baking terms mean. Hopefully this makes your baking experience more enjoyable! 

1. All-Purpose Flour

flour, dough, bread, wheat, pastry, sweet, cake, cereal
Spoon Csu

All-purpose flour is made from a mixture of hard and soft wheat. It's used in a variety of recipes and is an easy substitute for many types of flour, like cake or bread flour. 

2. Autolyse

french bread, baguette, dough, pastry, toast, bun, cereal, flour, wheat, bread
Caroline Ingalls

Autolyse occurs during the bread making process and is a method that mixes the flour and water and then lets it rest for a period of time. This allows the gluten in the flour to relax and results in a better bread overall. Bread that's been given an autolyse period are usually larger and lighter, with an open crumb. 

#SpoonTip: Not all breads have an autolyse period. The recipe will specify whether or not the bread should have one. 

3. Beating

Beating refers to the mixing of ingredients using a wooden spoon, whisk, mixer, or food processor. This ensures that the ingredients are thoroughly combined and incorporates air into the mixture. This is a crucial step when making cakes, as beating makes them lighter and fluffier. 

4. Brûlée

sweet, cream, milk
Morgan Nielsen

To brûlée something is to burn it, specifically the top of something. This technique is most commonly used for caramelizing the sugar on top of crème brûlée or for finishing a meringue pie. A tool commonly used for this is a blowtorch. 

5. Creaming

Creaming is basically when you beat butter on low speed until smooth with a wooden spoon, hand mixer, or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer. Sugar is then added in and both are creamed together.

6. Egg Wash

apple pie, pie
Jocelyn Hsu

An egg wash is a mixture that gives a rich colour or glossy shine to the crust of a baked good. It's brushed on the baked good before it's cooked and is made from combining one whole egg, an egg white, or an egg yolk with one tablespoon cold milk or water.

7. Fermentation

sweet, cake, chocolate, pastry, bread, candy
Diana Ghidanac

Fermentation is a crucial part of the bread making process. During fermentation, the yeast and bacteria in the dough convert carbohydrates to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. This creates the airy texture we love in our bread and develops its flavor.

8. Folding

Folding is when you gently combine ingredients together without moving the mixture too much. You generally fold in already whipped ingredients (like egg whites), so you don't knock the air out of them. This baking term is easily confused with whisking or whipping, but folding is a slower, gentler process.

#SpoonTip: Use a rubber spatula to fold in ingredients. 

9. Gluten

chocolate, cream, sweet, cake, dairy product, mint
Ethan Cappello

Present in wheat, barley, and other grains, gluten is a protein that gives dough its elasticity. When mixing flour, be careful not to over mix or over knead it, otherwise the gluten will be overworked and your final baked good will be tough and chewy. 

10. Kneading

bread, flour, wheat, dough
Rica Beltran

Kneading is most commonly done when making bread. Essentially, you vigorously massage and fold the dough with your hands (or a bread hook on an electric mixer). Kneading the bread helps develop its gluten, which will result in a sturdier, tastier bread. Kneading is one of the most crucial baking terms to keep in mind to make a good loaf of bread.

11. Rise

sweet, chocolate, bread, cake
Helena Lin

Rising is the rest period given to dough after it's been kneaded or mixed. Rising is most commonly used when making bread, but can also be used for other recipes. Letting your dough rise is especially important to give your bread a well-defined shape when it's baked and allows the gluten to develop. 

12. Sift

flour, cereal, rice, milk, tapioca
Jocelyn Hsu

Sifting is the process of passing a dry ingredient, such as flour or cocoa powder, through a mesh sieve. This is done before mixing the ingredients together, and makes your final treat lighter in texture. This improves the taste and quality of the final baked good.

These are some of the most common baking terms that will help you master yet another of Chrissy Teigen's recipes this weekend. With this basic understanding of baking jargon, you can now read the instructions without confusion. So go on and enjoy your loaf of bread or whip up a quick spongecake if you're feeling adventurous.