Culinary Dictionary  "B"

Our ever growing online community Dictionary and Food and Culinary Terms, Phrases and Cooking Techniques that begin with the letter B.



One of the traditional and classical cooking techniques through all time. Baking is to cook food, covered or uncovered, using the direct, dry heat of an oven. The term is usually used to describe the cooking of cakes, other desserts, casseroles, and breads.

Baking Ammonia

Baking ammonia is a compound also known as harts horn powder that was once used as a leavening agent. It's most often used in Scandinavian baking and is available at pharmacies and through mail order. Cream of tartar is an acceptable substitute, although cookies made with it are less crisp than those made with baking ammonia.

If you use baking ammonia for baking, use caution when opening the oven door because irritating ammonia-like fumes may be produced. Lovely!

Baking Powder

Baking powder is a combination of dry acid, baking soda, and starch that has the ability to release carbon dioxide in two stages: when liquid ingredients are added and when the mixture is heated. It is one of the main leavening agents.

Bain Marie

A bain-marie, also called a water-bath, is used in the cooking and holding of sauces / foods. Essentially it is a vessel that is resting inside another vessel which is filled with hot water. An indirect heat used to cook very slowly or to keep foods warm "to hold" over a period of time. For example you might hold a homemade hollandaise in a bain marie.


To moisten foods during cooking or grilling with fats or seasoned liquids or their natural pan juices to add flavor and prevent drying. You must be very careful when basting meat and poultry with pan juices or drippings. That's because basting tools could be sources of bacteria if contaminated when dipped into uncooked or undercooked meat and poultry juices, then allowed to sit at room temperature and used later for basting.


Brunoise is a French cooking term meaning to cut a vegetable into small cubes of precise and uniform measurement. It is the secondary cut of the julienne cut.


To split food, such as shrimp or pork chops, through the middle without completely separating the halves. Opened flat, the split halves resemble the wings of a butterfly.

Bouquet Garni

Bouquet garni are a bundle of fresh herbs usually thyme, parsley, and bay leaf used to add flavor to soups, stews, stocks, and poaching liquids. They are often tied inside two pieces of leek leaf or in a piece of cheesecloth.


Brine is a common agent in food processing and cooking. Brining is used to preserve or season the food. Brining can be applied to vegetables, cheeses and fruit in a process known as pickling. Meat and fish are typically steeped in brine for shorter periods of time, as a form of marinating and enhancing its tenderness and flavour, or to enhance shelf period.