A baguette is a type of French bread. The loaf is long and thin, with a hard crust and chewy interior. Baguettes can be made from scratch or bought pre-made from major supermarkets or local bakeries. According to France’s 1993 “French Bread Law,” a true baguette can only have four ingredients: flour, leavening, water, and salt.
Baking is a method of dry-heat cooking in which hot air circulates around the food and cooks it, typically by means of an oven. Baking is often used to make items like bread, pastries, cakes, cookies, meats, and fish.
Baking powder is a combination of baking soda, an acid (usually cream of tartar), and a moisture absorber (such as cornstarch). It is used to leaven baked goods in which there is no acid present, unlike its counterpart baking soda. Baking powder also comes in a double-acting form. This means that the baking soda has been mixed with two acids, one that acts as soon as liquid is added, and another that acts once heat is added. Double-acting baking powder is easier to find than single-acting, although both can be found at almost all major supermarkets or online.
Baking soda is a chemical agent used for cooking, baking, and other household jobs. When combined with an acid, such as buttermilk or vinegar, the chemical reaction releases carbon dioxide bubbles and causes leavening. Baking soda can be used for a variety of applications, such as leavening baked goods, tenderizing meat, and cleaning.
Banyuls vinegar, or le vinaigre de Banyuls, is a wine vinegar made from the sweet wine grapes in the Banyuls-sur-Mer area in southwest France. It is aged for five years, four of them in casks stored outdoors. Aficionados have detected notes of walnut and spice in the vinegar.
Basmati rice is a long-grain rice native to India. It is known for both its aroma and tendency to elongate during cooking. Basmati rice can be purchased at most major supermarkets and online. For more information on basmati rice, click here.
Black rice is a variety of rice that is deep purple to black in color. It is full of nutrients, phytochemicals, and fiber. A fairly unusual item until recently times, black rice was once so rare and so highly prized that it was reserved for the Chinese nobility. The age of the rice will affect the amount of cooking liquid that you will need—older rice takes more moisture to make it creamy. And it’s almost impossible to know how old your rice is; the age won’t affect its safety or flavor, but you will see a difference in texture. So if you want your black rice to have a creamy texture, it’s best to have extra stock or water at hand.
Blanching is a cooking process in which food, usually a fruit or vegetable, is boiled for a set time interval and then plunged into an iced water bath. The immersion into cold water immediately halts the cooking process.
This is the process of pre-baking or partially pre-baking a pie or tart shell that is going to hold a filling that either will not require baking or will be very juicy and therefore will need an extra-strong crust. Often, but not always, the raw crust is lined with parchment or foil and filled with weights of some kind (dry beans, clean pennies, commercial pie weights or chains ) so that it does not puff up during baking.
Bonito is a fish that is native to the Pacific; however, it can be found in the Atlantic as well. While it can be prepared and eaten by itself, dried bonito flakes are a much more common cooking application. Dried bonito flakes make up the base for dashi (a traditional Japanese broth), and therefore they are a staple of Japanese cooking. Both bonito and dried bonito flakes can be purchased in Asian specialty stores or at Whole Foods.
Botulism is a rare, but serious, food-born illness caused by the bacteria C. botulinum. Although very common, these bacteria only thrive in conditions where there is no oxygen. The most common foods affected by the botulism toxin are preserved vegetables, canned tuna, fermented, smoked or salted fish, and meat products such as ham, chicken and sausage. Because the risk of this poison increases while canning at home, it is important to follow proper canning instruction, especially in regards to time and temperature.
Braising is a method of cooking in which the food is first browned in a small amount of fat, and then is slowly simmered in liquid until it is cooked. The simmering can be done either in the oven or on the stovetop in a tightly sealed container, so that the liquid does not escape. This technique results in tender, flavorful dishes.
A Brazier is a large, lidded saucepan with a thick bottom that is used to brown foods. Generally, they range from 10 to 40 quarts and most often are made from steel, aluminum, or copper.
Bread flour is a flour that has a high protein and gluten content, which makes it well suited for breads and other yeast-leavened recipes. Foods cooked with bread flour tend to be chewier and lighter than foods cooked with all-purpose flour. Bread flour can be purchased at all supermarkets or it can be ordered online.
A Brine (n) is solution consisting of water, salt, sugar, and sometimes herbs and spices used to preserve, tenderize, or flavor various foods.
To Brine (v) is to marinate a food in a solution consisting of water, salt, sugar, and sometimes herbs and spices in order to preserve, tenderize, or flavor the food.
Brioche is a soft French bread made with a yeast dough, butter, and eggs. It contains a high percentage of fat, which adds richness to the bread and makes it suitable for dishes like French toast and bread pudding. Brioche has savory uses as well.
Broiling is a fast method of cooking meats, poultry, ham and fish. It uses a direct heat source which is over the food. Broiling allows a food to become crispy on the outside, while remaining juicy on the inside.
A broth is a flavorful, aromatic liquid made by simmering meat or vegetables in water or a stock. A broth is made similarly to a stock, but additional seasoning is added. This makes a broth more flavorful and satisfying. A broth, unlike a stock, may be eaten on its own.
Brown rice contains the whole natural grain of the rice, so it is less processed than other kinds of rice. The outer bran layer is what gives brown rice its fiber and other nutritional benefits; this layer of bran makes brown rice more perishable than other forms of rice. It requires more water and cooking time than white rice. Brown rice can be bought at all major supermarkets.
Brown sugar is granulated sugar to which molasses has been added. The molasses is what provides its characteristic color, as well as its moist and clumped texture. Brown sugar has a slightly different taste to white sugar and is used commonly in baking. Brown sugar can be bought at all major grocery stores.
Buckwheat is a gluten-free seed that is grown all over the world, even in harsh climates. Until the 1970s, Western cooks used it predominantly as animal feed, but it became more popular as its health benefits became more widely known. Buckwheat contains many nutrients and has more fiber than other grains, such as oats. It has a strong, somewhat bitter flavor when raw and a toasted flavor when roasted. Buckwheat flour can be used in porridge or pancakes, and can be substituted for wheat for those who are gluten intolerant.
BUCKWHEAT SOBA NOODLES
Buckwheat soba noodles are Japanese noodles made with a combination of buckwheat and regular wheat flour, with the wheat flour used to hold the noodle together). They look like light brown spaghetti but have a slightly coarser texture and a somewhat nutty flavor. Japanese cooks use them in both hot or cold dishes, and they are a typical New Year’s treat and housewarming gift. Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat.
Bulgogi is a popular Korean dish, in which beef is thinly sliced, marinated, and grilled. For instructions on how to prepare bulgogi, check out our recipe.
Commonly found in Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, and Turkish cuisine, bulgur wheat is wheat that has been pre-cleaned, dried, and then ground into finer particles. This process makes cooking quicker than when using whole-wheat kernels. What differentiates bulgur wheat from cracked wheat is that bulgur wheat has been pre-cooked. Bulgur wheat has a nutty flavor and is rich in many vitamins and nutrients. It can be purchased from many supermarkets, Middle-Eastern specialty stores, or online.
Burdock root is a root that originated in Eastern Europe and northern Asia, but is now also grown in North America. Burdock root is considered both a vegetable and medicinal herb. It contains a large number of vitamins and nutritional benefits, and it is used in a wide variety of medical procedures such as blood purification and treatment of chest and throat ailments, as well as skin disorders. Burdock root is sold in approximately two-foot long, one-inch diameter stalks in certain vegetable stores or Asian herb shops. It is prepared by softening the fibers, usually through boiling, and then can be eaten raw or used to make chips, salads, or in a variety of Japanese dishes. For more information on burdock root, click here.
Butter lettuce, also known as Boston or butterhead lettuce, has tender, buttery leaves that form a soft head.