Knowing the proper kitchen terms can mean the difference between your cake rising or flopping, your casserole baking or burning, and your steak tasting juicy and flavorful instead of dry and bland. Here are a few cooking terms that every at-home chef should know.
- Al dente. Though you’ve likely seen this term on the menu at your favorite Italian restaurant, do you know what it means in terms of cooking? Al dente literally translates to “to the tooth,” which describes the tender yet firm way that pasta should feel after cooking.
- Blanch. To blanch something, like an egg or greens, means to completely submerge it in rapidly boiling water and cook it just slightly.
- Caramelize. Caramelizing involves heating sugar enough for it to turn brown and have a special crunchy taste. This is normally applied to desserts, meats, or onions.
- Clarify. To clarify means to remove the solids from a liquid until said liquid turns clear. For example, when you skim the foam from the top of a pot of broth or remove the milk fat from butter.