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What is the Difference Between Culinary and Baking Arts?

These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually very different from each other. In culinary classes you mainly focus on the main courses of a meal, while in the other you might make sweet treats, like cakes, to end the meals or bread to go alongside them. So, what do you learn in a cooking class? What about a baking one?

If you're interested in discovering more about their many differences, keep reading. You'll find out how they differ and might even discover the one you think you'd like to attempt when searching for cooking classes Paris.

what is the difference between culinary and baking

Culinary Arts

This type is where a chef works to make appetizers and the main courses for diners to enjoy. This typically involves understanding specific techniques like butchery and involves a little more intense management in the kitchen because you have to be quick so the food doesn't go cold. 

Techniques

There are a few techniques this type teaches a chef which are essential tools to use in restaurants and a food career. 

  • Seasoning: knowing how to add light or intense flavors to recipes with spices and herbs is essential for chefs.  

  • Sauté: this will help you to quickly cook food and know how to toss it in a hot pan. 

  • Plating: it's not just the taste of the food that needs to be done well, but placing it nicely on a plate is crucial. The plate should have a beautiful aesthetic that tells the story behind the food, something that's important when serving plates in a restaurant. 

  • Preparation: this art requires that you carefully prepare ingredients in a certain way. Many recipes often need certain steps to be followed in order for that meal to turn out well. Cooks need to be careful to follow these to ensure the meal tastes how it's supposed to. 

  • Chopping: chopping vegetables, spices, and meat correctly are critical when making meals. You'll discover how to use certain types of knives to cut various angles and widths with your ingredients. 

What Classes are Required for Culinary School?

There are a few essential classes necessary for this. Dining room service, food sanitation, and even accounting are necessary to know to ensure you can succeed in the business. 

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Baking Arts

This is a branch of the culinary field and involves making bread, pastries, pizzas, quiches, cakes, and pies. However, this branch relies mainly on the use of an oven to bake the food. Unlike chefs, bakers can make both sweet and savory dishes and can specialize in certain areas. They can become patissier if they're interested in making pastries and desserts. For instance, a baker might enjoy making a certain pastry, like éclairs, so much that they decide to open a bakery that only sells this treat. 

Techniques

  • Preparing Pans: you'll need to know how to butter and flour pans so food doesn't stick to it. 

  • Melting Chocolate: melting chocolate might seem easy, but it's a very delicate task. You'll have to know how to melt it without it burning and losing its flavor. 

  • Beating Sugar and Butter: when making desserts like cookies, beating sugar and butter is important. You need to make sure it's fluffy so the dessert turns out well, but at the same not overdoing it. 

  • Zesting: putting a nice touch of color to desserts from the zest of fruits like lemons and limes can be fun. However, you'll need to make sure the zest doesn't give an overpowering taste to the food. 

  • Dusting Sugar: you'll be taught how to dust sugar nicely over desserts so it doesn't clump together. 

  • Kneading Dough: kneading dough can be tricky. You'll discover how you can properly do so to ensure it rises and bakes correctly. 

Studying these arts can be very fulfilling, but it does cost a bit and there are many different locations to consider studying in. Many educational institutions often focus on certain areas so if you have a strong liking for one area, like bread, you can usually find a school to help you grow in your knowledge of it. No matter which one you choose to study in a culinary school, you can be sure your career will help to make a great impact in cuisine. 

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

FAQ

  1. What is the difference between a cook and a baker?

To understand the difference between a cook and a baker, you must first understand the fundamental differences between cooking and baking. Many seasoned chefs compare the contrast between cooking and baking to the distinction between art and science. In cooking, recipes are generally open to interpretation, and cooks often improvise as they create their dishes. Baking, on the other hand, requires extreme precision, and recipes have to be amended carefully to create a successful dish. These differences are evident when you compare common cooking recipes to common baking recipes. Two recipes for scrambled eggs can look entirely different from one another whereas two recipes for sugar cookies will be quite similar.

Cooks, then, are more like artists in both their training and their practice. Cooks may learn certain fundamentals at first, but to become more advanced, they must hone their creative thinking abilities and learn to improvise. Bakers, on the other hand, are more like scientists since they must learn how each part of the baking process affects the final result, which allows them to precisely create their dishes.

  1. What are the 4 main methods of baking?

To become a skilled baker, you will need to master the four main methods of baking—creaming, whisking, melting, and rubbing in.

The first method, creaming, involves blending butter and sugar until fully mixed. Once you have creamed the butter and sugar, you will then add eggs, and once the eggs are fully mixed, you can add the rest of the dry ingredients. While this method appears simple, you must ensure that the butter and sugar are fully creamed in order to avoid inconsistencies in your batter, and sometimes, the mixture can split when the eggs are added, which could cause the result to be too dry. Creaming is one of the most frequently used baking methods since it forms the basis of common recipes for cakes and cookies.

The whisking method is fairly straightforward—you use a whisk to stir your batter in order to add air to your mixture, which allows baked goods to rise without the use of a leavening agent. Typically, you will whisk together eggs and sugar, and you will then fold in dry ingredients like flour. This method is typically used for lighter baked goods that don’t contain a significant amount of butter, such as sponge cakes.

Third, bakers can use the melting method to make moist, rich goods like gingerbread. In this method, you melt the butter before mixing it with other ingredients. Although this method is fairly easy since it does not involve beating or whisking ingredients, you should make sure that you add a leavening agent like baking powder to ensure your cake rises.

Finally, the rubbing in method is perhaps the most difficult baking method since it involves more skill and work. In this method, you use your fingers to rub your butter (or other fat) into the flour, and once that is fully mixed, you add sugar and then a bit of liquid to bring the mixture together. Once you add the liquid and fully rub it in, you must stop working the dough to avoid creating a tough texture. This method is commonly used for baked goods like scones.

  1. Is a baker considered a chef?

Generally speaking, a baker is not considered a chef. People often use the term “baker” to refer to anyone who bakes, including amateur hobbyists and entry-level professionals. For example, a mother who frequently bakes cookies for her children may be called a baker, or if you have just started to work at a bakery, your job title may include the word baker.

However, even experienced professional bakers are not always considered chefs. In France, a bakery - or boulangerie - is run by a professional artisan baker - or boulanger. While this profession is certainly respected, an artisan baker is not considered a chef since their training is not as extensive as the training required to become a proper pastry chef. Pastry chef - or patissier - training is far more involved, so only those bakers who have completed that training can be considered chefs. Therefore, the only “bakers” that are considered to be chefs are formally trained pastry chefs.

  1. What does each ingredient do in baking?

In baking, you use four main ingredients - eggs, flour, butter, and sugar - that each serve a specific purpose in your recipe. Eggs are often considered to be the backbone of many baked goods since they provide essential components such as moisture, structure, and emulsification. The proteins in eggs help build a baked good’s structure, and the yolk’s emulsifying properties bring together fats and liquids in the recipe, creating a smooth batter. Flour is another important structure-building component in baking, and it forms the primary structure in most recipes. Butter (or other fats) primarily adds flavor to a recipe, and it aids in leavening the final product and adding moisture to a batter. Finally, sugar obviously contributes to the flavor of a baked good, but it also serves a handful of other important purposes. Sugar helps make baked goods soft and moist, and since it caramelizes with heat, it contributes to leavening and structure.

  1. Should you become a chef or a baker?

If you enjoy making food for family and friends, then you may have considered pursuing a career as a chef or a baker. However, people who choose these career paths are often surprised by their intensity. Chefs and bakers often work long hours for low pay in competitive, high-stress environments, so only those who are truly passionate about the culinary arts should attempt to pursue them as a full-time job.

If you do decide to pursue a career in the culinary arts, you will then have to choose whether you want to become a chef or a baker. Deciding which path you wish to take will depend on two things - personal preference and creativity. First, you should consider whether you enjoy cooking or baking more. Given the demands of a culinary career, you should pursue what you’re most passionate about. If you’re torn between the two, you should then consider your own creativity. Cooks must constantly use creative thinking skills to amend recipes on the fly, but bakers typically use specific formulas for their recipes. If you enjoy having creativity and flexibility in your work, then you may want to choose cooking over baking.

  1. What are some gluten-free baking substitutes?

Bakers who want to eliminate gluten from their recipes typically substitute various types of flours for traditional wheat flour. However, many of these flours can impact the taste of baked goods, so you should ensure that your substitution matches the flavor profile of the recipe you are making. Almond flour, for instance, makes an excellent substitute for wheat flower, but you should only use it in recipes that will be enhanced by almond notes. For a more neutral taste, you can use buckwheat flour. Buckwheat flour’s earthy taste makes it an excellent substitution in breads. Likewise, sorghum flour has a mild taste that makes it a good substitute for wheat flour. Oat flour is another option, but if you use it, you should keep in mind that it may make your end product more moist, which may or may not be your desired result. For all gluten-free substitutes, you should check the label to be sure that your non-gluten flour was not cross-contaminated during processing.

  1. Does the term ‘culinary arts’ encompass baking?

At its most basic, the term ‘culinary arts’ refers to the art of making and serving food, and under this broad interpretation, baking is generally included – particularly in the context of creating and serving full meals. In fact, under this type of definition, you could argue that table manners and culinary etiquette also fall under the umbrella of culinary arts. This general definition of culinary arts thus encompasses nearly everything that is related to food. However, most industry professionals tend to use a stricter definition of this term that only includes cooking. This definition is still relatively broad since it includes aspects of cooking that range from specific skills like butchering meat to general knowledge like nutrition and food safety, but it does exclude pastry-making. For instance, most formal training programs have two options for potential chefs to choose from – culinary arts and pastry arts. Therefore, the term ‘culinary arts’ generally does not include baking when used by culinary professionals.

  1. Is it harder to cook or to bake?

Cooking and baking both come with unique sets of challenges, so whether cooking or baking is more difficult depends on your skills and strengths. One of the best-known sayings in the culinary world is that cooking is an art while baking is a science. Although you follow recipes in cooking, you must be able to improvise and exercise creativity while making a dish. Cooking also encompasses a wide variety of skills, and cooks must often multitask while making different parts of a dish. Cooking can therefore be difficult for people who are not naturally creative and struggle to improvise or multitask. Baking, on the other hand, is more scientific, so recipes in baking must often be followed to the letter in order for a dish to be made successfully. Additionally, baking requires plenty of time and patience. Baking is thus more difficult for people who prefer to have more creative freedom or who prefer more active pursuits. Whether it is more difficult to cook or bake thus depends on your individual preferences and skill sets.

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