Baking Specialties

Bread is a combination of flour and water that has been baked. Over the years bread production has become increasingly more complex with a multitude of additions ranging from fruit to nuts, and many different kinds of flours. Bread is a staple food in many countries and has cultural significance as well. With common sayings arising such as “the bread winner,” bread has become one of the most important parts of the worlds diet.

Cake is obtained from a chemically leavened batter that results in a spongy and airy texture. There are thousands of cake recipes and variations, but there are some consistencies in defining cake. Cakes are typically circle in shape, however many cakes are also rectangular, or cut into specific shapes in order to be decorated. Cake is almost always sweet, which differentiates cake products from bread, which is typically not sweet. Additionally, cake is often made from a batter, which is much more liquid than dough. Cakes are often named based on their primary ingredients, such as butter cakes, or their shapes, such as Bundt cakes and layer cakes.

Crackers, or savory biscuits, are a savory and crunchy product made by layering sheets of strong dough and baking until the texture is crunchy. Crackers come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, but are generally three inches or less in diameter, 1-5% moisture, and made from grain flours. Crackers by definition are 60% flour, which is higher than most other baked products. The low moisture content of crackers leads to longer shelf life than other baked goods. Crackers that are high in sugar typically form weak dough; therefore most crackers have a low sugar content. Crackers also always have small holes called docking holes cut into them in order to prevent large pockets of air from forming in the product.

A cookie is usually a small sweet, crispy or cake like pastry made often with flour, sugar, liquid and fat. It’s name is derived from the Dutch word Koekje, meaning “small or little cake”. The earliest cookie dates as far back as 7th century A.D. in Persia, where they first cultivated sugar. In England and the British colonies, cookies are also called Biscuits. The Germans call them Keks, or Plätzchen, and the Spainards call them Galletas. In Italy, there are several forms of cookies including amaretti and biscotti.

Doughnuts are a fried dough confectionary often eaten for breakfast or as a dessert. This sweet comfort food first appeared in cookbooks in 1803, and was officially termed “dough nut” in 1809. By 1900, doughnuts were being referred to as the more common “donut” in the United States because donut is an easier spelling and ease of pronunciation for immigrants.

Food product lacking gluten, including any species of wheat, rye, barley, spelt or triticale, and wheat flour or wheat starch.

Consumers these days are looking to purchase baked products that are nutritionally functional, higher in fiber, lower in sodium, fat and calories with a cleaner label. Baking with bromates, lard, trans fat and sodium moieties are a thing of the past, and looking to ingredient functionality to boost the nutritional panel is an innovation that bakers cannot surpass these days.

Organic is a term used to describe foods grown without aid of genetic engineering or synthetic assistance such as pesticides or fertilizers, and is void of further chemical processing and additives. For fruits and vegetables to be considered truly organic, the soil must not include chemical fertilizers or pesticides and refrain from spraying protectant after growth even to prevent spoilage. The final product must be as naturally derived as possible. In the food industry, for other items such as granola bars, cereals, breads, or any other product with multiple ingredients the sum of the product must be 95% entirely organic with only 5% inorganic ingredients.

The term pastry primarily refers to either savory or sweet products wrapped in some form of pastry dough. There are many forms of pastry dough, though the most common is short crust pastry dough. The basic ingredients of pastry dough are flour, sugar, milk, shortening, baking powder, and eggs. When these ingredients are combined to form a dough that is flakier or crumblier than bread dough. The high fat content in pastry dough, and how the fat covers the flour used is what leads to a flakey pastry. Presentation is also more highly valued in pastries, therefore there is typically more time spent on making this product. This leads to a more expensive product.

A pie uses pastry dough and is filled with sweet or savory fillings. Pies can either be baked or fried.

Pizza is a savory dish made with a form of flatbread and usually topped with tomato sauce and cheese. The word “pizza” is thought to have come from the Latin word pinsa, meaning flatbread. It is thought that the Italians invented Pizza. However, it’s origin goes back to ancient times in the Middle East.

Tortillas are flat, thin, light-colored, round breads, made from corn or wheat. Depending on the region, they may vary in size from 6-30 cm. Along with tacos, burritos and enchiladas, tortillas are considered a staple food for most people in Mexico and Central America. In the U.S., wheat flour tortillas are the fastest growing segment of the entire baking industry. Flour tortillas are a favorite of NASA astronauts and have been on their space menus since 1985 due to their ability to handle microgravity problems, unlike bread crumb.

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