Baking versus Roasting this is the question for people who like to potter in the kitchen. Please comment below to let us know what you think.
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Your recipe for roast loin of pork says to roast in a 350 degree F. oven. Your recipe for yellow butter cake says to bake in a 350 degree F. oven. For either recipe, you open the oven and put your food in. So, is there a difference between baking and roasting?
The short answer is “No.”
But it really isn’t as simple as all that. Baking and roasting are both dry heat cooking methods. This just means that heat is not transferred through a liquid medium during the cooking process. In modern times, we assume that baking and roasting both occur in ovens.
An oven typically has at least two heating elements, one on the top and one on the bottom. A convection oven also has fans that circulate the air. Roasting and baking use both heating elements and also the fans. Baked foods depend on even heat to brown and cook them evenly throughout, while roasting typically begins with high heat that results in quick browning, followed by lower heat that finishes cooking the food.
Cakes, pies and breads are always baked. The constant heat in the oven ensures that the outside browns and turns golden, while the inside cooks evenly enough to result in a tender crumb.
Roasting exposes food to high heat similar to broiling, except that the heat is supplied by both the top and bottom heating elements. After the food turns brown or develops a crisp outer skin, the oven temperature is reduced and the food is cooked until it is done in the center.
Two cooking methods — roasting and baking — are nearly synonymous with the concept of the oven itself, yet they are seemingly identical techniques. They both take place in the oven; they both use dry heat. So what’s the difference? Keep reading to learn the difference between roasting and baking.
While roasting and baking are almost identical ways to cook your food using dry heat, the difference in the two terms comes from the two different types of food they apply to. Generally, we “roast” food that already has a solid structure, such as meat or vegetables, in order to make it more tender inside with a nice crust on the outside.
The term “baking” typically applies to cakes, pies, and breads. In other words, we bake leavened items that need to rise during the cooking process. After they hang out in the oven for the right amount of time, these foods that started off lacking structure become solid and delicious. Have you been using these terms correctly?
Roasting and baking are both common cooking methods. Perhaps you’ve baked chicken breasts, roasted a whole chicken or a mix of root vegetables, or at the very least enjoyed a slice of baked cake. But do you know the difference between them?
If you’re cooking food that has a solid structure — like any type of meat or vegetables — no matter the temperature of the oven, you’ll roast it.
If you’re cooking food that doesn’t already have a solid structure, but will after it’s cooked — like muffins, cake, bread, and casseroles — the proper method is baking.
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