Can You Answer These Questions All Home Bakers Should Know?

By: Jennifer Post
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Can You Answer These Questions All Home Bakers Should Know?
Image: izusek/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Being a home baker is not as easy as some would think. Kids, spouses and siblings are some of the harshest critics. Not to mention, you have to do all of your own dishes. 

The best perk of being a home baker today, as compared to years past, is that so many tools and ingredients that professionals use are now available to us, thanks to the world wide web.

Ever see a glossy cake in a bakery window and wonder how they accomplished that? All you have to do is look it up and the odds are good that someone, somewhere, has gotten insider industry knowledge on how you can recreate it at home. Recreating things at home also means that you can add your own spin to it. Don't like dark chocolate? Add milk chocolate. Not enough powdered sugar? Food process granulated sugar until it becomes a powder. There are so many ways that today's home bakers have an advantage.

Baking became a respected profession many years ago and hasn't lost traction to this day. That doesn't mean that you have to be a professional to be respected for your baking, although there are certain things that every home baker should know. 

Take this quiz to find out how many baking questions you can answer!

Cinnamon What warming spice, used in desserts and savory dishes alike, is shown here?
Cinnamon
Cinnamon is the bark of a tree that is stripped and curled. There are two varieties of cinnamon, Cassia and Ceylon. This spice can be used in sweet or savory baking, but is most common in sweet rolls and quick breads.
Nutmeg
Ginger
Clove

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Pastry cutter What key pie dough making tool is pictured here?
Potato masher
Pastry cutter
When making pie dough, you want the heat of your hands to come into contact with the dough as little as possible. The pastry cutter is designed to "cut" the butter into your flour until it is the consistency of crumbs. Using your hands would cause the butter to melt.
Rolling pin
Pizza cutter

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Vanilla What baking staple is shown here?
Vanilla
Vanilla is an absolute staple for baking. Some recipes call for vanilla bean, but most call for extract. If you are looking to swap one for the other, switch out one teaspoon of vanilla extract for about a two-inch piece of vanilla bean. For great flavor, vanilla is an absolute must in your pantry.
Lemon juice
Honey
Peppermint

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Springform Pan When baking a tart, what pan is easy to use?
Ceramic pie dish
Loaf pan
Springform
A springform pan allows you to remove a tart from the pan without having to dig around the sides of the crust to loosen it, if you've greased the pan enough. Place the bottom of the pan on top of an upside-down glass, and the pan should fall away, leaving those clean, dramatic edges.
Disposable aluminum pan

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Sifter What is the name of this tool that will greatly change the way you measure flour forever?
Sifter
Any time a recipe for baked goods calls for flour, you should sift it before you measure it. If you measure compacted flour, you will end up with a dense final product. Sifting helps to keep things light and airy.
Bain-marie
Double boiler
Grater

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Pound Cake What dessert is traditionally made with equal parts of several ingredients?
Cheesecake
Pound cake
Pound cake is traditionally made with a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of flour and a pound of eggs. Since there is no leavening agent, the volume comes from beating the batter until it is full of air.
Croissant
Strudel

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Rhubarb Can you identify the ingredient shown here that is classically paired with strawberries in the spring?
Banana
Rhubarb
Strawberry rhubarb is a classic combination for muffins, tarts and pies. But keep in mind that both strawberries and rhubarb give off a lot of water, so cook them down before using them to prevent a soggy bottom - which would disappoint Paul Hollywood.
Celery
Coconut

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Molasses The difference between white sugar and brown sugar is the ingredient shown here. Can you identify it?
Marmite
Maple syrup
Molasses
White sugar becomes brown sugar with the addition of molasses. The amount of molasses added will determine if you have light or dark brown sugar. You will also notice a texture difference, and that is because as more molasses is added to the sugar, so is more moisture.
Dark corn syrup

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Rolling Pin What baking tool, shown here, can be wooden, marble or plastic?
Rolling pin
There are many different types of rolling pins. A wooden one is good for things like cookie dough that doesn't need to be chilled. A marble rolling pin is good for pie dough, as it helps keep the temperature of the dough cool, which is key in pie dough.
Microplane
Mallet
Masher

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Yeast What leavening agent is shown here?
Baking soda
Baking powder
Yeast
Yeast is used mostly as a leavening agent for breads, and the dough needs to rest to let the yeast help the bread rise. A good way to tell if your yeast is still active is to try blooming it in warm water and sugar. If it foams after about 10 minutes, you're good to go. If not, time to toss it.
Baking ammonia

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Dough hook The tool shown here is best for doing what to bread dough?
Kneading
The dough hook attachment for your stand mixer is a great way to knead your dough, so you don't have to do it by hand. However, if you're kneading with the dough hook, keep an eye on the texture and feel of the dough. You don't want to under-knead or over-knead your dough.
Proofing
Tenderizing
Aerating

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Room temperate butter This important cookie ingredient will most certainly impact the final bake. What is it?
Shortening
Lard
Room temperate butter
There is no ingredient that can replace the flavor and consistency that butter provides. Making sure it is at room temperature before attempting to cream it with your sugar is crucial. Let the butter sit out on your counter for a bit before mixing, and you should be good to go.
Coconut oil

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Croissant To make pain au chocolat, pieces of gourmet chocolate are wrapped inside what pastry?
Puff pastry
Pain au chocolat, basically a chocolate croissant, is one of the most popular versions of the croissant family. They can be made a few ways, but the classic way is to wrap puff pastry around a long, thin bar of chocolate. You can also spread mini chocolate chips over the entire surface of the puff pastry, then fold.
Strudel
Traditional pie dough
Brioche dough

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Silicon mat What is this non-stick sheet made out of?
Wax
Parchment
Silicon
Silicon mats are the best option out there for nonstick surfacing, especially if you are making things like caramel, toffee or marshmallow. They even work brilliantly for cookies and sheet cakes. While they may seem pricy, they are totally worth it. They won't curl in the oven or blow all over the place if you are baking in a convection oven.
Fiberglass

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Lavender Earl Grey tea is a great flavor complement for the dried flower pictured here. What is it?
Verbena
Lemon
Lavender
Lavender is somewhat new to the baking world, but even inexperienced home bakers have seen at least one recipe that uses the dried, food grade flower in baking. Earl grey is a great compliment because of its subtle yet powerful flavor.
Lily

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Measuring cups The measuring tools shown here are best used for what?
Measuring liquids
Measuring dry ingredients like flour or sugar
It is best to use dry measuring cups for dry items like flour or sugar. Level off the top with a straight edge, such as a spatula. Use liquid measuring cups, which typically have a pouring spout, for measuring liquids.
Recipes that use the metric system
To help weigh ingredients

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Pumpkin bread Pumpkin bread is what type of bread?
Quick bread
Quick breads are leavened with chemical agents such as baking soda and baking powder, as opposed to yeast. Yeast takes time to develop, whereas baking powder and soda work quickly, while the dough is baking.
Bread pudding
Yeast bread
Naan

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Uneven cake An uneven cake, like the one shown here, is caused by what?
The batter was not thoroughly mixed.
The oven is too hot.
The oven is not level.
Any of the above
There are a few reasons why your cake might come out unevenly baked. It is important to read the recipe carefully, weigh ingredients when necessary, and make sure to always preheat your oven. Make sure your oven is functioning properly and blend your batter thoroughly.

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Flax Seed meal What is the ingredient shown here that is commonly used in vegan baking?
Flax seed
Since no animal products can be used in vegan baking, people have had to get creative. One of the things they found is that mixing ground flax seeds with water provides enough moisture and strengthening to work as an egg substitute. Of course, it will not be exactly the same as using an egg, but for vegan baking it does the trick.
Coconut flour
Oat flour
Palm sugar

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Lattice pie crust What is the design style of pie crust shown here?
Lattice
Lattice crust isn't just placing strips over each other. You are basically weaving them through each other to create the classic look. It is a great option to show off the pie filling inside, so your guests will know what dessert they're choosing.
Crumb
Houndstooth
Over/under

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Sunken bread What happens if bread dough is underbaked?
It will melt.
It will sink in the middle.
Cooking dough all the way through ensures that you will get the height you desire. If a dough is undercooked, it will remain heavy, which is why you will see visible sinking in any spot that is not thoroughly baked. To prevent underbaking, knock on the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it's done.
It will be bland.
It will taste too sweet.

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Madeleine Which classic dessert might you sell by the seashore?
Petit four
Madeleine
Madeleines are often called cookies, but they are actually made out of sponge cake. Traditional madeleines are baked in a special madeleine pan, which produces small, shell-shaped cakes.
Sacher torte
Profiterole

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Cacao nibs What type of cacao is shown here?
Butter
Powder
Nibs
Cacao nibs are the dried and fermented bits of cocoa beans, and they add the perfect amount of chocolatey crunch to smoothies, cookies, pancakes and more. They aren't sweetened, though, so don't confuse them with chocolate chips.
Pod

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Butter and sugar What two ingredients are used in the creaming method?
Cream and sugar
Butter and salt
Butter and sugar
The creaming method is a classic mixing method for most cookies and cakes. In this process, you beat together softened butter and sugar until the mixture is light, fluffy and pale yellow. This ensures a soft texture in whatever you're baking.
Butter and flour

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Ladyfingers Lady fingers are a main component in which dessert?
Creme brûlée
Tiramisu
Lady finger cookies are the classic base for tiramisu. They are light, crispy cookies that soften when soaked in coffee, espresso or liquor. Other ingredients in tiramisu include mascarpone and whipped cream.
Dirt pudding
Eton mess

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Cheese Grater The tool shown here is mostly used for grating cheese, but home bakers know it can also be used for what else?
Grating butter for dough
A cheese grater is a great multi-purpose tool. When making pie dough and biscuit dough, or really any dough in which the butter needs to be mixed in cold. grating the frozen butter with a cheese grater is a neat trick.
Sifting flour
Straining liquid from fruit
Shaping pasta

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Fondant The flawless cake covering shown here is called what?
Buttercream
Fondant
For a smooth, bakery finish on your cakes, opt for fondant. You can make it yourself, but store-bought is actually fine. Roll it out thin enough so that it won't overpower your cake, but thick enough to hide any imperfections underneath. You can also use food grade paint to decorate it!
Ganache
Marzipan

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Linzer cookies What somewhat advanced cookie is this?
Thumbprint
Linzer
Linzer cookies are traditionally an almond-flavored sugar dough with a cutout top and jam in the middle. Sometimes the tricky part is remembering to sprinkle the tops in powdered sugar BEFORE they go on the jam-coated bottom half of the cookie,
Rugelach
Shortbread

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Balloon Whisk This whisk won't fly high in the sky, but it does share a name with something that floats in air. What is it?
Ball whisk
Balloon whisk
A balloon whisk is the best tool for whipping cream and egg whites. Since it is bigger, it allows for more air to get through the whisk and into whatever you are whipping. If you don't have a stand or hand mixer to do these things, a balloon whisk is the next best thing.
Flat whisk
Coil whisk

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rubber spatula Why is the tool shown the best option for scraping down the sides of a mixing bowl?
Flexibility
A rubber or silicon spatula is the best tool for scraping because it is bendy and can form to the side of whatever bowl you are using. It can also get into the paddle or whisk attachment to get all the bits out of there. Silicon has a somewhat sticky texture to it, which helps pull dough or batter away from the sides and bottom of a bowl, to reincorporate those ingredients into the main mixture.
Non-stick
Sharp edges
Sturdiness

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Rome Where is the baking profession rumored to have started?
New York
Rome
Baking flourished in Ancient Rome and became a respected profession because pastries were considered decadent. The Ancient Romans loved festive celebrations.
London
Paris

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Egg wash The shine on these buns comes from what?
Sugar
Wash
A wash can consist of eggs or milk, or both. Brushing the tops of unbaked rolls or buns with an egg wash or milk will help the tops get color in the oven, and also create a nice shine.
Glaze
Butter

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Offset spatula What tool, shown here, will greatly improve your cake decorating skills?
Knife
Offset spatula
An offset spatula is an invaluable tool when it comes to cake decorating. It allows you to smooth the frosting, get sharper edges, and keep your hands and fingers from getting into the frosting while you're going for that bakery-window finish.
Frosting level
Grater

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Slashed dough Why do we score or slash dough, as seen here?
To make pretty designs
To help dough rise even more
To let air escape
All of the above
Scoring dough is serious business. Scoring before baking can create lovely designs on a loaf. Scoring also allows air to escape from inside the dough, which produces a more uniform crumb structure and crispier crust.

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Millionaire bars What dessert, that you actually don't have to be rich to make, is shown here?
Copycat candy bar
Millionaire bars
Millionaire bars are a classic and decadent treat made up of a shortbread crust, a caramel layer and layer of chocolate on top. To enhance it even more, make sure the caramel layer is salted caramel.
Banoffee
Salted caramel delights

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Muffin What are the sides of muffins called?
Curtains
Walls
Muffins have a lot going on in them. They can be dense, light, full of fruits, nuts and other fillings. Because of this, they need some serious support. The sides of muffins, or walls, keep everything held inside the muffin, and also create a nice crunch compared to the moist interior.
Ridges
Foundation

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Eggs What is the baking benefit of the ingredient pictured here?
Protein
Adding volume and color
Eggs, when whipped and beaten, accumulate a lot of air, and this helps to add volume to many dishes. There are many varieties of sponge cakes that have no leavening agents whatsoever and just rely on the air from beating eggs with sugar or fat.
Making desserts denser
Making desserts lighter

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Butter Butter is shown here, but how many types of fat are used for baking?
1
2
3
4
There are four types of fats and oils that are used in baking. They are butter, margarine, shortening and lard. Butter is used most often, but margarine is used in a lot of vegan baking, while shortening and lard are seen most often in pie and pastry doughs.

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cookie spreading Why did these cookies spread so much?
Too much sugar
Too much butter
Oven not hot enough
Preheating your oven is a crucial step in baking that many overlook. Setting your oven to the right temperature is just as important. If your oven is too cool, it can cause cookies to spread out too much, as opposed to lifting up.
Too much chocolate

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Flour What element of the ingredient shown here makes raw cookie dough unsafe to eat?
Pathogens
Flour is a field food. If pathogens get into the wheat crop while it's growing, they will remain in the wheat through the milling process. If uncooked, these bacteria, such as animal waste, could cause illness.
Glue
Bugs
None of the above

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