Xanthan Gum: Xanthan Gum is a polymer of glucose, made from modified corn starch, which is used as a food additive and provides structure and acts as a thickening agent in sauces and batters.
Gluten: Composed of the proteins gliadin and glutenin, gluten is the basis of many baked goods. In the presence of water, gliadin and glutenin bind with each other and also to the water molecules. These proteins continue to connect with each other until ‘sheets’ of gluten form. These sheets of gluten are strong, elastic layers within the structure of, say, a dough, which will ultimately help create a baked goods chewy texture, as well as help trap air within the dough to allow rising.
Hollandaise: a yellow sauce made with butter, egg yolks, and lemon juice or vinegar. In French, it means, “from Holland.”
Liaison: the process of thickening a sauce, soup, or stew. It was originally a French word to refer to a close connection or bond.
Yeast: A fungus used as a leavener in baking. The yeast feeds on sugars, causing the release of CO2 and ethanol, which form small air bubbles within the structure of a dough. These air bubbles expand upon heating causing dough to rise.
Roux: a mixture of flour and fat where all the starch granules in the flour are separated. They are used to thicken sauces, soups, and stews.
Emulsion: a mixture of two liquids that do not normally combine (often water and fat). An emulsifier (such as egg yolks) is used to achieve a smooth consistency.
Maillard Reaction: the browning of foods (such as the grill marks on meat) due to the reaction of sugars with proteins.