The Dissimilarities Between Cooking and Baking
Maybe you have heard your mother while trying to bake some pies saying she’s cooking, but you are probably holding your head and wondering; isn't there a difference between cooking and baking? Well, these two methods of meal preparation are actually not the same, and no great chef will tell you differently. Let’s explore these dissimilarities together.
Cooking Vs Baking
Without a critical look at the two methods of food preparation, one might think they are synonymous but the truth remains that these two methods are technically different. They are methods that often produce good and really tasty things to eat but the methods employed to arrive at these edibles require different processes.
When the word oven is mentioned, people’s minds go to baked edibles as though they are the only edibles that could be prepared using such kitchen equipment. There are some regular cooking procedures that might require you prepare some items at a specific heat in the oven and this wouldn't necessarily amount to baking. A ready example is when you are trying to roast some chicken drums.
Cooking is a method that allows for lots of substitution and improvisation. You might not need a general note on the specific amount of spices you need to add to make a pot of soup as all that is required is a general idea unless in some special cases where top culinary skills are required. Just a pinch of salt here, a slice of tomatoes there could make up a nice cooked meal and at other technical instances where a particular dish requires garlic and it all seems you are short on garlic, shallots would easily do the trick and the whole outcome would look perfect.
Baking is, however, a method that requires precision in its recipe application. There is usually a standard measure of substances which you must put together to achieve a desirable result and it requires a total mastery of temperature and how it could affect the interaction between ingredients. Also, there is almost no room for substitution. You cannot, for instance when making cookies, substitute margarine for butter, without affecting their flavor.
Science Vs Art
Cooking is a form of art where you are not bounded by limitations but you can express your skills as far as you want by combining and substituting different edibles. You are permitted to turn errors into something different and also to bring variation into a typical dish to enhance flavor and taste.
Baking, on the other hand, is a science; you are bound by its law. It is almost like you are following a set of experimental protocol where attention must be given to measurement, temperature and quality of the items required and a non-compliance with the full recipes involved by lead to a result totally not desirable. That is why good cooks might not make good bakers and vice versa because the two methods are just different.
So, being a good baker doesn't necessarily turn you into a chef. But if you are a good baker and you want to be regarded as a good cook as well, it is important you start attending cooking classes where you can expect to learn different cooking tips.
For more information, please refer to the following pages:
- Is baking a healthy cooking method?
Baking is generally considered a healthy cooking method because it does not require large amounts of unhealthy additives like fat or salt. While some recipes call for a pan to be lightly greased, the amount of oil added is typically quite minimal, particularly when compared to less healthy cooking methods such as frying. Additionally, baking does not typically cause nutrients in a dish to break down, which further contributes to its reputation as a healthy cooking method.
However, whether or not your baked dish is healthy ultimately depends on the ingredients that you use. A baked vegetable dish with simple ingredients like Brussels sprouts, carrots, and various herbs and spices is certainly healthy, but pastry goods like butter croissants or sugar cookies are high in fat, sugar, and overall calorie content. Therefore, while baking may generally be a healthy way to cook, whether or not your baked dish is healthy ultimately depends on your primary ingredients.
- Will boiling food kill bacteria?
Because boiling food involves subjecting it to temperatures above 200 °F, boiling can kill the majority of bacteria in food that is harmful to humans. Most harmful bacteria cannot survive temperatures above 120 °F, which is why cooks must ensure that the internal temperature of sensitive foods, such as chicken breasts, is well above 120 °F for a sustained period of time. However, boiling is not the only way to heat food to kill bacteria, and it may alter the taste or texture of certain foods.
You should also keep in mind that although boiling food does kill the majority of harmful bacteria in it, you should not use boiling as a method of decontaminating spoiled food. For example, a common cooking myth suggests that you can boil chicken to make it safe to eat even if it is spoiled. While boiling spoiled chicken may eliminate most of the harmful bacteria, the chicken’s texture and taste will be unpleasant, and certain harmful bacteria may not be killed.
- What is the difference between roasting and baking in an oven?
While roasting and baking are both common cooking methods that use an oven, they are fundamentally different in many ways. First, roasting and baking involve different food structures. When you have a food that is already solid, such as meat, you will roast it, but baking involves using heat to solidify a liquid batter. Roasting and baking also use different temperatures to achieve their end results. Roasting typically uses a high temperature - think 400°F or more - to brown vegetables or meats. Baking, on the other hand, uses lower temperatures to allow a batter to solidify and cook slowly. Additionally, you will typically add fat (such as oil or butter) to the outside of foods that you roast, but foods that you bake will already contain fat within the mixture. In general, you will roast foods like brisket, asparagus, or potatoes, but you will bake foods like cakes, muffins, or biscuits.
- Can you cook multiple things in an oven at the same time?
You can certainly cook multiple dishes in an oven at the same time, but you will need to keep a few issues in mind, such as cook time, temperature, and flavor. First, when you cook multiple dishes in the same oven, you will need to add cook time since your oven will take roughly 15% longer to cook multiple dishes at once. Second, you will need to be aware of temperature-sensitive dishes (namely baked goods), so you may need to cook at a lower temperature to ensure that a more temperature-sensitive dish does not burn. Finally, you must also be careful not to not cook dishes with opposing flavors together. A brisket and oven-roasted garlic potatoes may blend flavors wonderfully, but garlicky potatoes will not go well with a sweet baked good like a cake. You must therefore ensure that you do not accidentally create contrasting flavors in a dish by baking it with a dish with pungent flavors.
- What is the best cooking method for vegetables?
Although how you cook your vegetables will depend on your skills, personal preferences, and the needs of your particular dish, the best ways to cook vegetables typically involve steaming or sauteing. Steaming is generally considered the healthiest way to eat vegetables since it involves minimal additives while maintaining the vegetables’ nutrient content. Cooking vegetables in water, as in boiling or blanching, results in loss of nutrients, so steaming vegetables achieves the same effect while maintaining their nutritional content. If you want your veggies to be more flavorful, however, then you should saute them with a small amount of fat. Although it seems counterintuitive, adding a bit of butter or oil to your vegetables prior to sauteing them can help your body more easily break down fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin D. Adding fat and seasoning will also enhance the taste of your veggies, making you more likely to eat more of them.
- How do you make oven-baked french fries?
Cooking oven-baked french fries is quite simple. First, you will peel your potatoes and cut them into the thickness of your choice. Then, once you have cut your fries, you will toss them in oil, salt, and other seasonings added to taste. Next, you will take out a baking sheet and coat it in cooking spray, and you will then spread your fries across the sheet in a single layer. You will then bake your fries at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until they are crisp and golden brown. For standard fries, you will typically allow them to bake for 35 minutes, but you will need to add time if they are thicker or reduce your baking time if they are smaller. After you remove your fries from the oven, you will remove them from the pan with a spatula and place them in a bowl to season them. Finally, you must allow them to cool before you serve them.
- Will you learn to bake in a cooking class?
Baking is one of many forms of cooking, but you may not learn much about it in a cooking class. Cooking classes cover a variety of basic cooking methods, such as frying, sautéing, boiling, and roasting, and the techniques that you learn may depend on the meal that your instructor teaches you how to make. For instance, if you learn to make pasta bolognese in a cooking class, then your instructor will likely teach you how to boil pasta, simmer sauce, chop onion and meat, and mix ingredients – not bake. However, dishes like casseroles or oven-baked vegetables require baking skills, so you will learn to bake in those classes. If you are taking a single-day or short-term cooking class, then you may not learn how to bake, but you will likely learn the basics in a longer course. However, if you want to learn how to bake, you should take a class solely dedicated to baking.
- Why is baking considered a science while cooking is considered an art?
Cooking and baking have often been compared to art and science due to the creativity, improvisation, and precision involved in these culinary forms. Cooking is often compared to art because it involves plenty of creativity and improvisation. In order to create the best recipes, they must creatively use local and seasonal flavors to make their dishes, and while cooking, they must make small changes to ensure that the dish tastes perfect. Cooking is thus considered art because the process and results can vary, but we know what is good cooking and what is not. Baking, on the other hand, involves greater precision, which is why it is considered a science. Bakers must often follow recipes to the letter, and changes to the recipe must be made with the overall composition of the baked good in mind. Like science, processes in baking are exact, and changes to any recipe are formulaic.