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What exactly is your definition of "baking"?

I suppose there are some things we can all agree that baking involves, right?

Like it involves an oven of some sort, but this is generally a necessary but not a sufficient condition. Because I suppose one can "bake" bread on the grill or an open-fire hearth as this old thread demonstrates http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/447683

We can also probably agree baking can involve both sweet and savory dishes. That's easy.

But does it have to involve flour of some sort? If it doesn't, does cooking a turkey or chicken in the oven count as "baking"? Or baking potatoes? Or beans? Is a person a "baker" if she baked beans?

And then there is Wiki's entry for "baking" (found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baking) which is rather unsatisfying and more of a tautological definition than anything else.

I feel like "baking" is one of those things I just know it when I see it, but can't really put words to what I know. Sort of how like how Justice Potter described "pornography" in the seminal Supreme Court case Jacobellis v. Ohio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_i...

So, what say you. How do you define "baking"?

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  1. I hate the word "baking" But to me, anything with flour, is baked. So baked beans or baked potatoes are misnomers.

    5 Replies
    1. re: david t.

      Lasagna and meatloaf are also baked, as is just about any casserole.

      1. re: ferret

        To me; baking is bread, cakes, pies and other pastries. Baking a lasagna is cooking. : )

        1. re: ferret

          And mac 'n cheese and beef wellington are also things with flour, and which are baked.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Anything that you would sell at a school bake-sale is baking. No mac'n'cheese allowed.

        2. re: david t.

          Flourless chocolate cake, cheesecake (usu. flourless), meringues, macarons, creme brulee, are all baked.

        3. Baking refers to cooking with dry heat.
          Or out in the hot sun.
          Or doing something special with brownies...... wink wink.

          3 Replies
          1. re: wyogal

            How would you define roasting as different from baking? Or would you? We bake potatoes but roast carrots. We bake a ham but roast a chicken.

              1. re: babette feasts

                We do roast potatoes - but we first coat them with fat (as we do with other roasted vegetables).

                There's a lot of over lap between bake and roast.

              1. When I started to read this, I was thinking - 'why is someone trying pin this down? Why is an exact definition needed?"

                But then I looked at the posters name. It explains everything - and nothing. :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: paulj

                  I'm just waiting for the wikimasters to show up, cut and paste, debate the minutia, and prolong this well past the point of reasonable discourse...

                2. I know it when I taste it.