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Process of cooking by dry heat, especially in an oven. Baked products include bread, cookies, pies, and pastries. Ingredients used in baking include flour, water, leavening agents (baker's yeast, baking soda, baking powder), shortening (fats, oils), eggs, milk, and sugars. These are mixed together to create dough or batter, which is then transferred to a pan or sheet and heated. Leavening agents produce gas that becomes trapped in the dough, causing it to rise. Shortening makes doughs more easily workable and the final product more tender. Egg whites are used to produce a light, airy texture, and yolks contribute colour, flavour, and texture. Milk is used for moistening and flavouring and sugars for sweetening and aiding fermentation.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on baking, visit Britannica.com.