Two words that you hear frequently are baking and cooking. The two may share the same goal, which is to create tasty food, but they differ in the food they create, the appliances, tools, and equipment they need to do it, how much emphasis they place on precision and improvisation, and where in the world they are most well-liked.
With over ten years of experience experimenting with food and creating delectable dishes in the kitchen, I am Angie, a food enthusiast, and self-taught baker. I have a thorough understanding of the art of cooking, and I love to make it simpler so that everyone can do it!
I’ll describe what cooking and baking are in this article, highlight their key distinctions, and address any additional queries you might have.
To find out more, continue reading!
What Is Cooking?
Raw meat and some vegetables not only taste bad, but they are also unhealthy to eat because of the bacteria they contain.
Since it allowed us to transform uncooked ingredients into delectable food, the discovery of fire was a major turning point for humanity.
Cooking refers to a method of preparing food that involves heating and combining the ingredients to change their chemical composition and make them safe for consumption.
Cooking’s fundamental tenet has remained constant throughout history: raw food must be heated.
However, preparation techniques have evolved through time, such as the use of herbs, spices, and flavorings as well as the use of cooking utensils as opposed to cooking directly over an open flame.
Natural products like animal protein, dairy products, produce, eggs, herbs, spices, water, and minerals make up the majority of the ingredients used in cooking.
The taste, texture, appearance, and even chemical make-up of some foods can change when they are heated. Eggs may become firmer, while some—such as meat and vegetables—may become softer and more tender.
Because of the moisture evaporating, some may become brighter while others may become darker, and some may even become smaller.
Due to the use of heat during cooking, the nutrient profile of the ingredients is somewhat diminished, but cooking makes the ingredients more palatable and flavorful.
Cooking can be done in a variety of ways, with each person using a method that suits their cooking abilities, socioeconomic class, and culture.
Several popular cooking techniques include:
What Is Baking?
The Great British Bake Off, a bakery, or even baked snacks may come to mind when you hear the word “baking.” However, the majority of people will typically picture a tasty morsel emerging from the oven’s dry heat.
And those individuals are not mistaken.
Continuous dry heat is used in baking as a method of cooking. Wood, coal, electricity, or gas could all be used as the heat source. One of baking’s primary characteristics is the constant heat. Some foods’ chemical makeup cannot change without consistent exposure to dry heat. For instance, heat is necessary for dough to darken, firm up, and form a crust.
There are many ingredients that can be baked. Pizza, meat and fish, vegetables, pasta, muffins, cookies, pies, scones, and other common foods all require baking to prepare.
Baking Vs Cooking: The Four Differences
Following is a list and explanation of the four key distinctions between baking and cooking.
One type of cooking is baking. In reality, you are baking whatever it is that you put in the oven. Pasta, vegetables, meat, seafood, and other foods may fall under this category.
On the other hand, most people associate baking with sweet treats that appear out of the oven like magic rather than savory dishes that require rising dough or batter.
In order to give the dough or batter these air pockets and give them their distinctive rise, leavening agents are frequently used.
The following baked goods are some of the more well-known ones: cake, bread, rolls, cookies, pies, pastries, and muffins.
Appliances, Equipment & Tools
In a chef’s kitchen, you can anticipate finding: pans, pots, knives, a peeler, tongs, a grill, and more. In contrast, a baker must have an OVEN, as well as measuring cups or a scale, a spatula, a whisk, a stand or hand mixer, and other essential tools.
Of course, the list changes depending on the type of baking that a baker specializes in. For instance, a baker of cakes would probably require a number of cake or muffin pans, whereas a baker of bread would require proofing baskets, rolling pins, and, if they use a stand mixer, a hook attachment.
Precision Vs. Improvisation
For good reasons, cooking is frequently referred to as an “art,” whereas baking is a “science.”
It’s encouraged to improvise when you’re cooking. In fact, a master chef can be told apart from a novice cook by their ability to improvise and cook without a recipe.
On the other hand, baking is a game with a lot of rules. Baking requires a high level of accuracy and precision, just like science. The smallest variation in humidity, time, or temperature can have a profound impact on the outcome. In baking, an unexpected outcome is more often than not one you don’t want.
Every country has its own distinctive cuisine, and cooking methods and ingredients vary greatly from region to region.
Despite the widespread use of methods like grilling, roasting, braising, and boiling, baking as we know it today dates back to about 2600 BC. The Egyptians are typically credited with the development of enclosed ovens and the use of yeast in bread (source).
Bread eventually became a staple food in most European and American diets as baking spread throughout Europe. The introduction of baking to Japan and subsequent spread throughout East Asia, however, didn’t occur until the 16th century (source).
In nations where baking is less common, you will unsurprisingly find it more expensive and challenging to locate appliances, equipment, and ingredients specifically made for baking.
Cooking Or Baking Is Healthier, Right?
An unhealthy diet is one that contains excessive amounts of fat, sodium, and sugar while also being prepared at high temperatures.
While many would argue that baking is healthier because it requires little to no added fat, this is obviously not the case when we are talking about desserts like cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and so on where sugar and butter are often added in generous amounts.
Compared To Cooking, Is Baking Better?
The response to this query depends on the person answering it. You can make your own decision based on all the factors I’ve listed above and whatever is better for you in the end!
So, how do baking and cooking differ from one another? Baking is one of the methods of food preparation that fall under the umbrella term of cooking. In contrast to baking, which uses indirect, dry heat from an oven to prepare food for consumption, cooking can be done in a variety of ways. If you enjoy baking cakes, breads, and pastries, you may love cooking but prefer baking above all else.