Can You Answer These Basic Questions All Home Bakers Should Know?

Amanda Monell

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Everyone who has baked has had this happen.  You have a special event to cook for, or you want to treat a loved one to a fantastic sweet pastry.  The problem is that you've never done it before.  You pull out the recipe, and like many comedic situations, you've never looked at the recipe before.  We could bet that at this time, your oven hadn't been turned on or used save to cook frozen pizzas.  While you read through this recipe, you discover that it is way more complicated than you thought and you don't have half of the ingredients required.  In the end, you've got a messy kitchen, you're frustrated, and the fire alarm is going off.

But that was a long time ago.  Maybe you gave up after the incident and decided that it was time to go back to the bakery.  Or perhaps you gained confidence after the accident and are now a budding baker.  You've started to understand that baking is about creating chemical reactions by precisely measured ingredients.  Your hand blender is your best friend, and you've picked a side in the plastic versus wooden spoon debate.  

Do you think you can answer a few questions about baking?  If so, grab your favorite apron, slip it on, and take this quiz!


What ingredient is used in bread to make the dough rise?

There are two different ways to prepare your bread dough using yeast. If you want a lean, moist dough, you want to keep it in a warm kitchen and let it do its thing for about 45 minutes. If you want a cosrser dough, you want to slow the rise of the yeast by putting it somewhere cooler, which while it takes longer, it is often used to produce some of our denser breads.

What should you put on a rolling pin to prevent the dough from sticking to it?

There are flours made from all different types of grains, from the all-purpose flour to almond and coconut flours. If you're ever wondering what kind of flour to use, refer to your recipe: If it only says flour, it's best to stick with an all-purpose flour.

Which of these ingredients is in a meringue?

In addition to egg whites, granulated and super fine sugar, vanilla or almond extract and cream of tartar are key ingredients to making a good meringue. When it is ready, a typical meringue will look stiff and glossy.

What is the yellow part of an egg called?

If you're making a meringue, egg whites are your friends. However if you want to make a creme brulee, you're going to want to use the egg yolks. Creme brulee is a perfect dessert for dinner parties: somewhat easy to make, and when you add sliced fruit and a splash of rum, it can warm a cool night.

What is the ideal type of pan to use for a cheesecake?

If you are using a mix for a cake you are planning for an occasion, stick with a cake pan. If you use a springform, it will dribble out of the sides because the batter is too runny. Other recipes that use a springform are tortes, no-bake cakes, and of course, Chicago deep dish pizza will use a springform pan to get that crispy crust.

What kind of frosting has a dash of cream cheese and buttercream?

With a creamy and subtle sweetness, cream cheese frosting is usually found on red velvet cake and carrot cakes. Basically, if you have made a dense cake, a cream cheese frosting will only make it yummier.

What's another name for powdered sugar?

In addition to confectioner's sugar, powdered sugar can also be called 10X sugar. This name is derived from the number of times this sugar is processed, making it into its fine powder.

Which cake is known for its deep red color?

In the 1920s, the red velvet cake was born in Austin, Texas. The key ingredient was manufactured by Adams Extract Company, which was one of the first companies to sell flavor extracts as well as the red food coloring to make the red velvet cake red.

What kind of cake is known for its airy, fluffy texture?

Because of its light and airy taste, angel food cakes are great for a simple summer dessert. Other recipes that use angel food cake include strawberry shortcake and various trifles.

What do many bakers use to apply frosting designs to their cookies, cakes and cupcakes?

In a pinch, if you can't find or don't have a piping bag, cutting an edge off a plastic bag can be a substitute. Another tip? If you don't know if your lines will be perfect, trace an outline of what you want in the frosting already on the cake and then carefully ice it. The small indentation will help corral the icing to its desired location.

What item will bakers use to make their cakes look blemish-free?

When it comes to creating a professional-looking cake, fondant is one of the most important tools in a baker's arsenal. Because it is claylike, you can easily flatten it using a rolling pin. The only problem with fondant? Even though it is made of sugar and marshmallow, the texture as well as the insane amount of sweetness can make things a little too sweet for cake eaters.

What kind of icing is used to decorate cookies?

If you're looking to construct a solid gingerbread house, royal icing is essential to your project. Royal icing is often used to join the walls and roof together as well as adding decor and other ornamentation.

When decorating a cake, what are the tools that bakers will use to create flowers and to write messages on it?

In addition to making flowers and writing messages, there are tips for various decor, including grass and other shapes. Drop flowers are one of the easiest to make: when the frosting makes its way through a drop flower piping tip and is dabbed onto the cake, it forms a perfect little bloom.

If you need to ice a cake pop, which topping should you use?

When you use a candy melt to frost your cake pops, it makes things easy as pie. The white chocolate disks melt into liquid, then you simply dip the pop into the liquid and it creates a nice, evenly coated dessert.

After baking a batch of cookies or loaves of bread, what do you use to cool the cake down?

While many people enjoy gooey fall-apart cookies, for a baker, those types of cookies are a bit of a nightmare. When a cooling rack is used, it gives the cookies time to solidify, which makes it easy to transport.

How do you tell if a cake is completely cooked?

When using this method of cake preparation, it is best to do it quickly. When you open the oven to do the poke test, the heat escapes and if you do it too long, it could take a few moments for the oven to get back to the desired temperature.

What would you use to create a candy's shape?

In addition to making candy, molds can be used to make a plethora of edible things. These items include shot glasses, popsicles and mousses.

After mixing a batter or dough, what is the best tool to use to make sure that all of it is used?

Using a rubber scraper to get every last drop of dough or batter into your pans can be a double edged sword. While it's great that you're using every last piece or drop, you're going to be missing out on eating some of it.

What piece of bakeware is used to bake cookies?

In addition to cookies, a cookie sheet is a great thing to have in the kitchen. It can be used to roast vegetables, reheat pizzas or bake french fries. Due to its thin and flat construction, the heat distributes equally.

What kind of chocolate is ideal for making chocolate chip cookies?

While any chocolate is good for a cookie, many chocolate chip cookie recipes call for semi-sweet chocolate. The reason is that unlike a lot of the chocolates on the market, the cacao levels are higher than some of the other chocolates, and the amount of sweetness in the chocolate makes it a versatile chocolate in to use in many different recipes.

What kind of pie crust looks like a woven basket?

Lattice top pie crust is a simple way to make your pies look elegant yet homey. Using a pastry cutter, slice the crust into small strips. Then after attaching the strips to the crust, weave it using an over-under pattern. Viola!

What would you use to make your pastries look shiny?

In addition to making your pastries and breads look shiny, egg washes can be used to make your treats look brown and it can act as an adhesive to stick pieces of pastry to each other (a good example of this is an empanada) as well as to help seal toppings to your treats.

What is a benefit of using a water bath?

By using a water bath in an oven, not only is extra moisture added to the oven, it also helps provide a more even heat source. Cheesecakes and custards are two sweets that benefit from the water bath method of baking.

What is another name for a cookie gun?

A cookie press looks remarkably like a caulk gun: It has a plunger, a long cylinder tube, a trigger, and tips for application. One cookie that is made using a cookie press is the German spritz cookie, a fluffy and soft butter cookie.

Which of these items would you use to spread frosting on a cake?

Whenever a cake needs to be frosted, it is usually best that the cake is completely cooled before frosting is applied. If it is too warm, the frosting may end up melting and instead of having a nice even distribution over the cake, it will have small pits where the cake ate through the frosting.

Which type of cream should you use to create whipped cream?

When looking at creams to use for producing whipped cream, the amount of milk fat needs to be at least 30 percent. The higher the percentage of milk fat that a cream has, the fluffier the whipped cream will be. The fat content also comes into play when it comes to how long a whipped cream will keep its form. If it has a lower percentage of milk fat, it will flatten pretty quickly.

What baking tool is used to create cookies in various shapes?

Cookie cutters are a great way to let your imagination shine in your baking, especially if you choose to decorate your cookies after you cut them. With a little royal icing, your gingerbread men can have their smiles and with sugar cookies, you can design an array of different patterns.

How many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?

If you ever bake cookies using butter, the best way to do so is to get stick butter. Why? Because on the side of each stick of butter's wrapper are notches to measure your butter for you.

How many ounces are in a cup?

Some of the larger measuring cups will have notches on the sides of them showing both the cup and ounce measurements. The reason behind that is that there are some recipes that are written with ounces only and some that are written with cups only.

Which of these items is considered a wet ingredient?

Even though it is a solid, brown sugar is considered a wet ingredient. The reason behind it is that it is fairly malleable when mixed with other ingredients.

Which of these items is considered a dry ingredient?

Many recipes call for mixing dry ingredients. Instead of using a spoon to attempt to do so, simply drag a knife through the pile of ingredients to mix them together.

Which of these items makes it easier to beat eggs?

If you're in a bind and your wire whisk is in the wash, another easily accessible item you can use is a fork. Both of these items have multiple tongs which will help break up the egg yolks.

What is one of the differences between dark brown sugar and light brown sugar?

Because of the molasses found in brown sugar, it limits the shelf life. In many cases, if not properly stored, the molasses will make the brown sugar harden, making it useless to use in recipes.

In bread making, what technique is often used to add air to the dough?

Another reason behind kneading bread is more scientific. Because there is yeast in most bread dough, creating the gluten strands is essential: if these strands aren't created, your dough will more than likely be sticky.

In addition to a cooking mat, which of these items could be used to prevent messes on counters when working with dough?

Parchment paper is a must have in any cook's kitchen. It can be used to make piping bags and store items. Another function of parchment paper is to line pans when cakes get put into the oven: it is heat resistant and has no residues that could end up on your treats.

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