Key Terms

acids
Substances with a pH less than 6; the lower the pH the more acidic.
alkaline
Having a pH greater than 7.
bloom
A whitish coating that can appear on the surface of chocolate. This effect is one of the main concerns in the production of chocolate. There are two types of bloom: fat bloom, arising from changes in the fat in the chocolate, and sugar bloom, formed by the action of moisture on the sugar ingredients.
brown sugar
A blend of sucrose, molasses, and molasses-flavoured syrup that is used for its distinctive flavour and for colouring.
calorie
The energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 °C.
caramelization
The development of colour in certain foods by heating until the natural sugars brown.
carbohydrate
Any of many organic compounds made with a 2:1 ratio of hydrogen to oxygen, including simple and complex sugars, starches, and cellulose.
certified organic
Determined by the government to be free of chemical additives.
chlorophyll
The green pigment found in algae and plants.
cholesterol
A sterol found in all animal tissues and animal fats. There are two types: low density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) and high density lipoproteins (HDL or “good” cholesterol).
conching
A process that refines pressed cacao into chocolate by rolling and heating to evenly distribute the cocoa butter.
conversion
The process of changing a complex sugar to a simple or invert sugar, such as the work done by bees in converting nectar to honey by means of an enzyme or the conversion of starch (a polysaccharide) to glucose by means of an acid or enzyme.
couverture
A term used for higher quality chocolates, usually containing a high percentage of cocoa butter.
dextrose (glucose)
A sugar produced from grain, with a sweetness level somewhat lower than sucrose. It is available dry or in liquid form as thick syrup. (Bakers are more familiar with the liquid form.) Dextrose is fermentable by yeast and soluble in water. Compared to sucrose, dextrose has a lower solubility and is the sugar of choice for donut finishing.
disaccharide
A form of sugar in which two molecules of simple sugar are bonded together in a more complex form of molecule. Sucrose is the commonest form of disaccharide. Disaccharides have to be broken down into simpler sugars to be used by either the body’s stomach enzymes or the yeast enzymes in dough.
disc separator
A machine designed to remove oversized and undersized grain from a batch.
enrich
To add extra nutrients during processing.
flour stream
Term for the exact chemical composition and quality of flour that comes out of a particular sieve in a mill.
fructose
A simple sugar found in fruits and honey.
genetically modified
Having genetic material that has been artificially altered so as to produce a specific characteristic.
gliadin
One of the main structural proteins found in wheat and some other grains that forms gluten in combination with glutenin.
gluten
A protein composite present in cereal grains, especially wheat, but also found in barley, oats, and rye. Composed mainly of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. Gluten contributes to elasticity and texture in bread doughs and other products containing wheat.
glutenin
One of the main structural proteins found in wheat and some other grains that forms gluten in combination with gliadin.
homogenized milk
Milk that has been processed so that the fat droplets are evenly dispersed and the cream does not separate. In Canada, homogenized milk also refers to milk that contains 3.25 g per 100 g milk fat, which is known as whole milk in the U.S.
honey
An invert sugar (i.e., a monosaccharide) made by bees from flower nectar and used as a sweetener for its distinctive flavour. It is hygroscopic (i.e., keeps products moist). Components of honey are levulose and dextrose (and a tiny fraction of sucrose).
hygroscopic
Able to attract moisture from the air. This is typical of most simple sugars, such as glucose and honey.
invert sugar
A simple form of sugar obtainable naturally (e.g., honey) or artificially by conversion of sucrose. It stays liquid and is prized for its moisture retention capabilities.
lactose
A sugar naturally occurring in milk and other dairy products.
levulose
A simple sugar or monosaccharide that is formed by the inversion of sucrose and also exists naturally in honey.
lipids
A group of naturally occurring molecules that include fats, waxes, sterols, fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, and cholesterol.
maillard reaction
A chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that contributes to the browning of foods.
maize
Another word for “corn.”
middlings
Bran, germ, and other coarse particles.
monosaccharide
A simple molecule of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, such as levulose, fructose, or glucose, that is easily fermentable.
nutrient
Something found in food that nourishes living beings. Nutrients include proteins and vitamins.
pH
A measure of acidity and alkalinity. The lower the pH, the more acidic the substance, and the higher the pH, the more alkaline. Substances with a pH above 7 are considered alkaline, and substances with a pH below 7 are considered acidic. Substances with a pH of 7 are considered neutral.
pasteurization
The exposure of food to temperatures high enough to destroy harmful microorganisms.
pentosans
A class of carbohydrates found in rye flour.
photosynthesis
The process by which plants use energy from sunlight to produce their own food.
plansifter
A machine composed of stacked sieves that separates stalks of grain into different streams based on size.
polysaccharides
Complex units of carbohydrate, such as starch or cellulose, that are decomposable into more simple sugars
powdered sugar
Sugar that has been ground into a fine powder and is used to make icing.
protein
Element in plant or animal tissue supplying essential amino acids to the body.
raw sugar
The brown sugar received at the mill from the source country. It has been somewhat refined, but still has considerable impurities.
sodium
An essential nutrient that regulates blood volume, blood pressure, osmotic equilibrium, and pH. Most of the sodium in the diet comes from salts and processed foods.
sucrose
“Ordinary” sugar; a disaccharide. It is the most familiar form of sugar and comes in various sizes of granulation.
sweetness equivalent
A measurement of the sweetness of sugar compared to sucrose, which is rated at 1.00. Anything with a higher number is sweeter than sucrose, and anything with a lower number is less sweet.
temper
1. To add a hot liquid to egg yolks slowly so as not to cook the yolks too quickly.
2. To allow an item to soften slightly by coming to room temperature slowly.
3. To heat and cool couverture to create a crystal structure that will result in shiny and crisp finished chocolate.
4. To add water to a dry grain and let it rest before milling so as to toughen the bran and soften the endosperm.
trans fat
A polyunsaturated fatty acid that has been converted from its natural form by hydrogenation and is used in the manufacture of shortenings.
wheat shorts
Fine bran particles, germ, and a small portion of floury endosperm particles as separated in the usual processes of commercial flour milling

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Key Terms by The BC Cook Articulation Committee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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