French Baking Glossary – Show off your French speaking skills at your next dinner party!
French Terms – English definition 
These terms came from http://aulevain.canalblog.com/. It’s pretty fun to visit the blog, all in French, because when you click on the “Au levain in ENGLISH” it automatically translates the site to English using the Google translator!
ajouter to add
alveolée with lots of holes
le apprêt second fermentation
la autolyse autolyse, enzymatic rest
la baguette long thin loaf, ‘stick’
le bâtard thicker loaf, ‘bastard’
le blé wheat
le bol bowl
la boule round loaf
la buée steam in the oven
chauffer to heat
le chef starter, ‘chief’
la clé seam on shaped dough,
la couche dusted towel for proofing
la coupe cut,score
croquant crisp crow
la croûte crust
la cuiller spoon (not a common spelling)
la cuillère spoon
cuire to cook
la détente rest before shaping
diviser to divide, cut to loaf size
l’ eau water
l’ épeautre spelt (‘grand épeautre)
l’ épi ‘head’ of wheat
le façonnage shaping
la farine flour
la fermentation fermentation
la ficelle very thin loaf, ‘string’
le four oven
le frasage simple mixing of ingredients
le frigo refrigerator
le gluten gluten
gonfler to rise, inflate, oven spring
le grigne expanded slashes on loaf
le grignon most well baked part of loaf
la huile oil we
la humidification humidity
la hydratation hydration
le lait milk
la lame blade
le levain sourdough
la levée rising, proofing
la levure commercial yeast l
mélanger to mix
mettre to put, to place
la miche large round loaf
la mie crumb
le miel honey
mise en forme shaping
le pain bread
la pâte dough
le pâton shaped dough
le petit pain roll
le pétrin bread trough or kneading machine
pétrir to knead
le pétrissage process of kneading
French Baking Terms with a Little French History
Crème Anglaise –
Is French for English cream. Anglaise is a dessert sauce made from a pourable custard. It is classically flavored with vanilla, although other flavorings such as coffee, chocolate, or fruit may be used. In addition to being used as a sauce, crème Anglaise is also used as the base for other desserts, like ice cream and pastry cream. Making crème Anglaise is relatively easy to do at home, and the versatile sauce can be a useful way to dress up cakes and tortes for dinner parties.
The cream is made by whipping egg yolks and sugar together until the yolk is almost white, and then slowly adding hot milk, while whisking. Vanilla beans (seeds) may be added for extra flavor and eye appeal. The sauce is then cooked over low heat (otherwise the yolks will cook, resulting in scrambled eggs) and stirred constantly with a spoon until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and then removed from the heat. If the sauce reaches too high a temperature, it will curdle. Cooking temperature should be between 70 °C (156 °F) and 85 °C (185 °F); the higher the temperature, the thicker the resulting cream, as long as the yolks are fully incorporated into the mixture.
This can be poured as a sauce over cakes or fruits. Alternatively, it can be eaten as a dessert on its own, for example in Île flottante (“floating island”): the cream is poured into a bowl with a piece of meringue (blancs en neige) floated on top along with praline. It can also be used as a base for desserts such as ice cream or crème brûlée. It has a mild taste but a rich, and thick vanilla flavor. However, ice cream base is much thicker and has various flavorings.
Other names includes ‘crème à l’anglaise’ and ‘crème française’.
Crème fraiche – This French term means “fresh cream” and is a soured cream containing about 28% butterfat and with a pH of around 4.5. It is soured with bacterial culture, but is thicker, and less sour than sour cream.
Originally a French product, it is available in many countries. It is traditional to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia.
Bain-Marie – also known as a water bath – is a French term used for a piece of cooking equipment to heat ingredients, such as chocolate and butter combined, gently and gradually to prevent splitting and caking. Otherwise known as a double boiler.
The name comes from the medieval-Latin term balneum (or balineum) Mariae—literally, Mary’s bath—from which the French bain de Marie, or bain-marie, is derived. One thetory as to how the name Marie came to be associated with this equipment, according to culinary writer Giuliano Bugialli, the term comes from the Italian bagno maria, named after Maria de’Cleofa, who developed the technique in Florence in the sixteenth century.
A chinois is a cone shaped very fine strainer used to strain custards, purees, soups, and sauces, producing a very smooth texture. It can also be used to dust pastry with a fine layer of powdered sugar.
The name chinois comes from the masculine form of the French adjective and is the name of this utensil in French.
Crème brûlée (crème brulée in L’Orthographie 1990) (French for “burnt cream”), crema catalana, or Trinity cream (the British version introduced at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1879) is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel. Although often served cold in North America, traditionally it is to be served warm.
The custard base is traditionally flavored with vanilla, but is also sometimes flavored with lemon or orange (zest), rosemary, chocolate, coffee, liqueurs, fruits, and even spices such as ginger.
Sabayon Method – eggs are first cooked with sugar over hot water to reach a ribbon texture, then the chocolate is gradually incorporated — an easy method that results in a consistently good texture.
 Larousse Gastronomique, 1st English edition, p. 319