Blending Method--The blending method is almost opposite to the creaming method and it is used mainly for muffins and cakes. It usually goes like this: mix together wet ingredients, sift together dry, add together and blend. There is no creaming to create air, it is simply to incorporate everything evenly.
Chilling--You see this step in so many recipes, but why? For cookie dough, it helps for the butter to become cold again so that your cookies won't just become flat, cookie mess when you bake them. Through experimentation, the butter flavor in the doughs seems to be more prominent if you chill it pre-bake, "butter marination" if you will! For many laminated doughs, it is so that the gluten can relax, the butter layers stay put, and then when you're ready to roll and fold again, you won't mush together the layers with room temperature butter. You would essentially just be ruining the beautiful laminating that you're working so hard on!
Creaming Method--This is just the fancy term used when you paddle together the butter and sugars. This helps to aerate your dough. When a recipe says to "cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy", this is so that your cookies, cake, etc., will have more *poof* to them!
Crumb Coat--This is to make sure that none of the crumbs get on the outside of your cake while doing the final icing. You take a very thin layer of buttercream and go around the top and sides of your cake. You will also refrigerate your cake post crumb coat, which, more or less, locks everything into place! This step, while not always the most fun, is crucial in creating a perfect foundation for your final buttercream coating.
Double Boiler--I use this mainly when melting chocolate, which allows for it to melt evenly, unlike a microwave. To make a double boiler, all that you need is a small pot and a bowl, usually glass or metal. Fill the pot with about 1" or so with water, but make sure that the water does not go so high that it touches the bottom of the bowl. Turn on your burner, you want to get the water steaming at least. Add the chocolate to the bowl, place the bowl on the small pot, watch your chocolate melt! If you see that a lot of steam is coming out of the top of the pot, you must turn down your heat! Water is no friend of chocolate. Stir often to make sure it's melting properly.
Lamination--One of the most beautiful things in baking. Who doesn't love a delicious, buttery croissant? Palmier? Danish? Laminating dough is simple yet crucial. This is done by rolling your butter/dough (like the sticky buns), out to the desired size, let's say 11"x13". After this, you usually do either a 3 fold which is what I call a business letter fold, or a 4 fold, aka book fold, which is when you take one side and fold it 3/4 of the way, the other 1/4 of the way to touch what was just folded, and then fold it in half. Doing this the appropriate amount of times gives your dough anywhere from 80 to 300 layers!
Peeling Stone Fruit--What is a stone fruit? Peach, nectarine, plum, apricot, cherry. How to peel? Put an X on the bottom of your fruit. Bring a pot of water to a full boil, add the fruits for about 60 seconds, take out of boiling water, place into an ice bath/cold water, peel! Super simple, you'll never stress about this again!
Rising--As explained in my sticky bun recipe, this is a crucial step in making any yeast raised products. As yeast is a living thing, it needs all of the things a living thing does: food, heat, time to grow/proof. During this time, the flour breaks down into simple sugars, which the yeast then eats. As this happens, CO2 is released, and the dough rises. This is also the reason that recipes call for you to heat your milk/liquid that you're mixing with the yeast to about 110F so that it's not boiling=killing the yeast, and not freezing=retarding the yeast/dough. Also important: you do not want to try to rush the 2 hour (at least) proofing period. Making this step go faster will not help you in the long run, but can over inflate the CO2 bubbles, therefore popping them and making your bread not as beautiful. And that delicious gluten you just worked so hard on, will be yucky.
Sifting--Ever found a nice lump of baking soda in your cornbread? A lovely chunk of cocoa powder in your cake? That's because the dry ingredients weren't sifted! By putting together all of your dry ingredients in a sieve and making sure that it's combined evenly as well as smooth, your final product will be lump-free! This also helps with distributing ingredients. It's no good if your leavener is in one part of your batter because you want the entire cake to rise beautifully, not just the top half! It may seem like a pain to do this extra step (which will take 1 extra minute!), but your guests and even yourself, will definitely enjoy dessert more without a bite of baking powder.
Tabling--This is very commonly used with ganache. Tabling is simply moving or agitating the ganache on a cool (I like marble!) surface, so that proper crystals can form, which leads to a smooth and creamy finish/bite. I have made a great video which shows a very basic way to do this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uRSVM3zCIA&feature=youtu.be
Temper(eggs)--This can also be done with chocolate, but for now we will discuss tempering eggs for, say, custards. What happens when eggs get too hot? They cook, or curdle. This is not exactly a beautiful sight, not something that we want when making a lemon curd, a pastry cream, etc. Here are the simple steps for tempering in your eggs so that you have a smooth and appealing final product. Usually you will take half of your sugar and combine it with what is on the stove and the other half will go in a bowl with your eggs, whisk. Once your stovetop liquid comes to a boil, you slowly pour half of it in with your eggs, whisking the eggs the entire time! This may require two people. Once you have tempered the eggs with some of the hot liquid, pour all of it back into the pot and whisk, usually until it comes to a second boil. Voila!
Water Bath-- This is used mostly for custards, which need to be baked evenly due to the fact that they are thickened by eggs. A water bath will insulate the custard, and because they water does not get above 212 F, it bakes your dessert the same throughout. To make a water bath, you simply place the pan in which your custard is in, in a larger one, fill it up halfway up with water, and bake! Be very careful as you are taking it out of the oven because not only is the pan hot, but you have boiling water to deal with as well!