Basic Terminology in Baking – Biscuits or Cookies

Terminology involved in Baking – Bakery Industry

Cookies or a Cookie is an American term which is used for sliced or moulded eatable usually flat or slightly raised, sweet or salty, perfectly baked made up of flour, sugar, fats or oils including numerous ingredients which enhance its structure and provides a mouth-feel.

The other ingredients of cookies may include Cashew nuts, oats, Wheat Bran, Peanuts, Creams, Chocolate, Chocolate Chips, and Glucose etc. Thanks For wikipedia for providing a plenty of useful information about cookie.

Basic Terminology in Baking

Baking Involves flow of heat or you can say heat transfer. The whole process  and principle of baking, revolves around the transfer of heat from a heat source to the product being baked.

Also Read: Type of Sugar & Invert Syrup in Bakery Food Products – Biscuits

Heat Transfer can be of three types vizz. Conduction, Convection or Radiation. The more and uniform heat flow the better the biscuit baked. In an Oven baking is done by all the three types of heat transfer.

How this is achieved has a direct influence and result on the final baked product.

But it is not an easy task to operate an oven. There is a need of expert oven operator to run an oven in a bakery industry and make an easy flow of gases and uniform heat within the zones of oven.

Let us not deviating from our post and have a look on Terms used in Bakery Industries for Baking:

Terms Used in Baking Science

Definations/ Meaning/Explainations

Aeration The incorporation of air and/or gas in bakery products by mixing, beating or whisking.
Gas is introduced by baking powder and yeast.
Batch The content of the oven. One mixing of bread or cakes.
Batter A soft completed cake mixture.
Bay A well, made in heap flour.
Beat The aeration of fat. sugar, eggs and other materials.
Body Firmness and response of the crumb or dough to pressure.
Brake A machine to roll pastry or other dough.
Break That part of the crust formed during oven spring
Bulk fermentation Fermentation time between dough kneading and scaling.
Bun A small yeast fermented or chemically aerated, sweetened cake.
Bun wash Eggs brushed on bakery products before baking
Cake A baked mixture of fat, sugar, eggs and flour, with or without milk, baking powder, fruits, etc.
Cake hoop A metal ring which supports a cake during baking.
Carbonate of ammonia A mixture of ammonium bicarbonate and ammonium carbonate.
It completely volatilises when moistened and heated, into ammonia gas, Co2 and water.
Carbon dioxide A heavy colourless gas produced as a result of the fermentation of sugar by yeast.
This gas is also evolved from a carbonate or bicarbonate alone
or in the presence of an acid, when moistened and heated.
Chaffing The careful final moulding of buns, scones, etc., to produce a perfectly smooth skin.
Clarity A crumb free from cores seams and streaks.
Clearing The thorough dispersal of all ingredients during dough making
Coagulate The partial or complete solidification of a protein in a suspension by heat.
Coat To cover a cake with icing or cream
Comb scraper A plastic scraper with a serrated edge, which makes a pattern
on the surface of the royal icing, chocolate or cream.
Cones Coarsely ground rice or maize, used to prevent a dough from sticking during manipulation and proving.
Consistency The “feel” of the dough.
Cores Hard spots in the crumb structure
Cream 1. to beat fat and sugar until light and fluffy
2. to add cream as a decoration to a baked cake
3. dairy-cream, butter-cream, custard-cream, etc
Cream of tartar One of the best acid components of baking powder,
Cream powders Various acids to be used in baking powders.
Crumb All the loaf except the crust.
Crust That part of the outside of the loaf that is dehydrated and caramelised during baking.
Cup cakes Small cakes baked in crimped paper cups or cases.
Curdle A cake mixture, which has separated and has lost its smooth consistency.
Cutters Implements, either plain or fluted, used to cut out biscuits and pastries in various shapes and sizes.
Develop To thoroughly mix dough to increase its elasticity by complete hydration and the development of the gluten.
Divider A machine manual of mechanised, that will accurately a piece of dough into smaller pieces.
Dough A yeast fermented mixture.
Draw To remove bread or cakes from the oven,
Dredger A small container with a perforated lid used to sprinkle sugar, flour, etc’.
Drummed hoop A cake hoop across the bottom and side of, which is stretcher a sheet of strong grease, proof paper
Dust To sprinkle flour on the tabletop to prevent dough or pastry from sticking
Egg wash To wash dough pastry pieces with beaten egg
Elasticity The effect of manipulation on a dough
Emulsion An intimate mixture of the fluids that normally would not mix, such as oil and water.
Enrichment The addition of enriching agents such as fat, sugar, eggs, etc., to doughs and pastries.
Essences Aromatic compounds used for flavouring confectionery
Extensibility The degree to which dough may be stretched or deformed without break or rupture
Face The side crust of a tin loaf
Fancies Small decorated cakes of any kind.
Ferment A soft sponge used as a preliminary stage for rich fermented doughs.
Fermentation Panary fermentation is brought about by the action of yeast on sugars
in solution which produces Co2, alcohol and other by-products.
Final proof The fermentation period before baking,
Fingers Finger shape products.
Fondant A form of icing made by boiling sugar, water, glucose or a weak acid to 115º C,
then agitating when it is cool until it forms a mass of minute crystals
Foxy colour The red-brown colour of the crust caused by an under- fermented dough.
Gelatinization The heating of starch in water so that the cells burst. On cooling a gel is formed.
Genoese Sheets of good quality plain cake that are cut into small shapes for making genoese, fancies, etc.
Glaze 1. egg washing before baking.
2. to brush with highly boiled apricot puree.
3. to wash with sugar solution after baking.
Glucose Thick viscous, colourless syrup used in boiling sugar to prevent premature graining.
Gluten Insoluble wheat protein after hydration
Glycerine A colourless, odourless syrup with a sweet taste,
Grain The size, shape and arrangement of the cells which make up the crumb surface.
Green dough Under fermented dough
Handing up The shaping into balls of yeasted dough pieces and scones after weighing, in preparation for final shaping
Harshness A dough with a tough tenacious gluten.
Hot plate A heated flat, metal plate in which muffins, crumpets and pancakes are baked.
Hygroscopic The power of attracting moisture.
Hygrometer An instrument to measure the humidity of the atmosphere.
Icing The coating and decoration of a cake with royal icing.
Icing sugar Finely powdered sugar
Intermediate proof The time allowed for the dough piece to recover after handing up and before final moulding.
Jelly A liquid substance thickened by a thickening agent like starch, gelatine, pectin, etc.
Knock back The operation of degassing a fermented dough either by hand or machine.
Lamination The formation of numerous alternate layers of dough and butter in puff pastry by rolling and folding
Lecithin An emulsifier from eggs yolks and Soya beans.
Liqueurs Spirits sweetened with sugar and flavoured with essences, fruit juice, distillates or essential oils.
Manipulations The use of the hands or machine in moulding, folding, rolling, shaping and plaiting
Masking To cover a cake or such like base with butter cream.
Maw seed Seeds to sprinkle on tea breads and rolls.
Mince meat A confection for making mince pies and tarts, containing currants,
peel, sultanas, raisins, suet, sugar, apples, spices, lemon juice and brandy or rum.
Mould 1. shaping dough a hollow form for casting marzipan, biscuit dough, etc.
2. a form to shape chocolate – a minute, micro-organism
No time dough Straight dough with a very short bulk fermentation.
Oven spring The increase of volume during the first stage of baking
Over developed dough, which has fermented too much and has been manipulated excessively.
Paletta knife A thin, flat, knife with a rounded end used for spreading, icing and cake batter.
Pan Baking tin for bread.
Pectin A thickening agent found in fruits and vegetables.
Pie Fruit of meat in dish covered with a pastry lid,
Pinched The decoration on the edge of short-bread
Pinning The rolling of dough or pastry into a flat sheet with a rolling pin.
Piping 1. the decoration on a cake 2. the depositing of batters through a piping bag
Plaiting The weaving of one or more ropes of dough into ordered design.
Pound cakes All cakes baked in a round hoop or oblong tin
Prove The filling of yeasted dough with gas.
Proofer A cupboard with a controlled humidity and temperature for the fermentation of yeasted goods.
Puff pastry A laminated structure built up of alternate layers of dough and butter.
Recipe Ingredients and processing method of a certain product
Recovery time The time necessary for a dough to lose its toughness manipulation.
Retardation The arresting of fermentation by keeping dough at
Rice flour Finely milled rice used for dusting purposes.
Ripening The action of fermentation, manipulation, time, salt water and temperature on gluten,
all of which will affect its toughness.
Rolls Small bread shapes used at breakfast, dinner and tea.
Rope The crumb of the loaf discolours, becomes sticky and emits a bad odour.
Royal icing A mixture of icing sugar and egg white, sometimes with the addition of lemon juice.
Savoy bag A triangular shaped bag made of cloth or a plastic material into which a pipe is inserted.
Savoy pipe A metal nozzle to be used in a piping bag
Scoop A big spoon for holding &y materials like flour, sugar, etc.
Scraper 1. a small oblong piece of plastic, with two round corners rounded for scraping down mixing bowls.
2. a metal blade in a wooden handle that is used to scrape the surface of a bench, floor or baking  trays.
Season The dulling of shiny surfaces of pans and baking tins so that heat will penetrate and not be reflected.
Seasoning The adding of pepper, salt, spices and herbs to meat and other savoury products.
Sheen Reflection from the cells in the cut surface of the crumb
Shell Or flying top, a loose top crust by too short a final proof
Short pastry  A friable easily broken pastry made from flour, fat, sugar and egg. For savoury pastry the sugar is omitted.
Sour A dough in which excessive acidity has been allowed to develop.
Shred Character of the surface at the break. lt may be smooth, ragged or broken.
Sieve Utensil with a wire or nylon mesh through which dry materials are passed.
Skinning The formation of a skin by evaporation of the surface moisture.
Slack dough soft dough.
Slab cake Plain or fruitcake baked in rectangular tins or frames.
Snow Well beaten egg whites.
Sodium- bicarbonate The constituent of baking powder that liberates Co2.
Soft flour Flour containing weak gluten.
Spatula A wooden tool with a flat blade for beating and mixing
Sponge A light plain cake produced by whisking eggs and sugar together until stiff and thoroughly aerated,
then carefully blending in flour.
Sponge&dough method dough made with a sponge.
Stability The quality of the gluten in dough that enables it to withstand the effects of fermentation and manipulation.
Straight dough A method of bread making in which all the ingredients is mixed together at the dough making stage.
Streaks Continuous patches seen in the crumb structure.
Strong flour Flour containing strong, stable gluten.
Tart A pastry case baked with a filling
Tea breads Small yeast goods made from enriched dough shaped in many ways.
Texture The “feel” of the cut crumb surface.
Turntable A piece of equipment for the icing of the cake which can be rotated at any speed.
Wash 1. to brush with eggs, milk, water, before baking 2. to brush with a glaze after baking
Wedding cakes A richly fruited cake covered with almond paste coated and piped with royal icing,
usually made in several tiers.
Yield The calculated units from the total baked weight of a particular formula.

What are Cookies or Biscuits?

Cookies or Biscuits are baked, dry, crispy product made up by blending flour, fat or oil, sugar, invert syrup, water with emulsifiers.

Cookies is an American word which is as known as cracker or Biscuit in England, Australia and India. It may be soft or hard, sweet or salty, moulded or cut, rough or smooth, round or rectangle or any shaped with a very less quantity of moisture (around 1% – 2%).

Cookies are baked until crisp, hard or just long enough that they remain soft, but some kinds of cookies are not baked at all.

Cookies are baked in a wide variety of styles and shapes, using a complete list of ingredients including sugars, spices, chocolate, butter, peanut butter, nuts, or dried fruits. The softness of the cookie may depend on how long it is baked, the longer we baked the harder we get.

It can be easily mass-produced in baking industries or can be prepared in small bakeries or home-made. Kids usually likes to eat Cookies or Biscuits very because of its taste and mouth feel.

Mothers used to cook few varieties of Biscuits who are really good in baking at home on some occasions like Christmas Cookies, Holidays cookies, Cookies for Kids with different variety of Creams. However, cookies are of more than 1000’s types which cannot be explained here in a single page.

How the Biscuit Name Derived?

The Old French word bescuit is derived from the Latin words bis (twice) and coquerecoctus (to cook, cooked), and, hence, means “twice-cooked”. This is because biscuits were originally cooked in a twofold process: first baked, and then dried out in a slow oven. This term was then adapted into English in the 14th century during the Middle Ages, in the Middle English word bisquite, to represent a hard, twice-baked product. (Wikipedia)

However, now a days a three step baking is used commercially in ovens at three different temperature ranges that are Slow Heating, Baking and colouring.

Also Read: Rotary Moulder Process in Biscuit Plant – Complete Guide

How the Cookies Name Derived?

In most English-speaking countries outside North America, including the United Kingdom, the most common word for a crisp cookie is biscuit.

The term cookie is normally used to describe chewier ones. However, in many regions both terms are used.

Its American name derives from the Dutch word koekje or more precisely its informal, dialect variant koekie. Which means little cake, and arrived in American English with the Dutch settlement of New Netherland, in the early 1600s. (Wikipedia)


Hope now you understand the exact difference between a cookie and a biscuit (both terms are inter-related and similar to each other) Both the terms are originated from different languages but known as similar.

People know this by both the names so don’t confuse if you read biscuit or cookies, because it’s almost the same meaning. However, the ingredients and the baking process are quite complex which will be explained very precisely in our upcoming posts.

Don’t forget to ask queries related to the cookies. Post your questions in Comment section below. Keep visiting for reading more updates on Biscuits Ingredients and their functions, Biscuits manufacturing process and a plenty of useful information related to bakery.


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