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Cooking Terms – What is the Difference Between Roasting and Baking?

August 8, 2008

I did my very best yesterday to keep mum at a particular time, while out with my girlfriends on our weekly get together, when during a heated conversation, the differences between baking and roasting came up.

I wondered why the big problem; but it made me realize, well you can ‘roast’ a chicken, but you can also allow a chicken casserole to ‘bake’ in the oven… I wondered were these cooking terms confusing to others as well?

I even joked to one of the GF’s not involved like me, in the said ‘cooking term’ conversation of confusion, that I must write an article on the differences, since it seemed too much of an argument between these two other women. So much so, by the way, I was intrigued as their voices rose up in volume – were we not out together only for some fresh air and nice conversation?

In particular, the argument was between ‘roasting’ and ‘baking’ terms and what did they really mean? So, what was their actual difference? Are these terms used safely interchangeably? Or are we using these terms loosely in exchange for the other? The answer is now solved – whew! I thank my lucky oven mitts!

Here is what I found out:

Roast v. To oven-cook food in an uncovered pan, a method that usually produces a well-browned exterior and ideally a moist interior. Roasting requires reasonably tender pieces of meat or poultry. Tougher pieces of meat need moist cooking methods such as braising.

Bake v.– To cook in the oven. The terms baking and roasting are often used interchangeably, but roasting usually implies cooking at a higher temperature—at least at the beginning—to get the surface of the foods to brown.

I was going to intervene the conversation between these two ladies and let them know this, but really wanted to make sure of my own assumptions. Since, I too had been using these terms interchangeably, but was I in fact correct when I did so? Well, yes, it turns out, and I am so relieved, as is my frilly apron.

I will make sure my lady friends receive this post so that the ‘argument’ is now settled and they will see both that they were correct…

Happy roasting and baking everyone!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. noble pig permalink
    August 8, 2008 10:22 am

    I actually the fact that there was such a heated argument about this!

    I never thought about the actual differences before but I would neve roast a cake!

  2. Leah Q. permalink
    August 8, 2008 1:34 pm

    I too would never roast a cake, though I have broiled a few by mistake – well ok I burned them or didn’t use the correct amount of ingredients. In fact I actually added an additional 3/4 cups of milk to my last made fudge cake – which it turned out to be extra moist and slightly more dense than usual, but no less, was still an amazing cake…go figure….

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