What is the difference between "baking off" and "baking"? And "roasting off" and "roasting"? Is this just trendy jargon? ;o)

Or have I missed something, somewhere along the line? I've never seen "baking off" or derivatives in hard copy print, except in conjunction with contests, e.g., the Pillsbury Bake-Off. The term now seems to be quite prevalent in contexts not involving any competitions. And I've never seen "roasting off" anywhere until I saw it online today. Please help! ;o)

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24 Comments

Pegeen November 21, 2013
Creamtea, knowing a little about publishing in the U.S., it's really an economics issue: all of the "extra" editors, copy editors and fact checkers were job-eliminated after the economic declines. The number of typos and grammatical errors in The New York Times makes me weep somedays. It's a direct result of having to let go of those staff members as a result of advertising and circulation declines. Sigh. Well, I guess it's like the saying, "You can have progress or perfection. But not both."
 
Pegeen November 21, 2013
acookswords, I'm not sure if you heard the same piece, but here's the link:
http://whyy.org/cms/radiotimes/2013/11/19/plagiarism/
Go about 44 minutes into the interview for the part on trying to encourage an online culture that relies on more copy editing and less publishing of first drafts. I wish there was hope for that but for online sites that are expected to churn out fresh content like donuts, it generally costs too much in terms of time, money and talent to do that. Anyway, interesting food for thought.
 
creamtea November 21, 2013
Thanks for the link! I'm old-school and couldn't understand why there's so much of of that ""clunky writing (and so many basic mistakes) in the current "online writing culture". Although certainly there were deadlines within the print media culture yet people found the time to re-write, edit, refine.
 
Pegeen November 20, 2013
June, I do apologize for being off-topic (but anyone can choose to click on something else right now), but there was a great interview on NPR a day or two ago about the differences between write-and-publish-right-away and write-many-drafts that get copy edited and fact checked. I'll try to find the link. (And then I'll shut up!) ;-)
 
acookswords November 20, 2013
It was a lovely piece.
 
ChefJune November 20, 2013
Pegeen: "Where have all the copy editors gone?" [long time passing....] sad. in this age of blogs, very little is copy edited any more.
 
Pegeen November 20, 2013
p.s. "Pickup" is what you do in a bar late at night, right? And "pick up" is what you do to get the dirty clothes off the floor from the afore-mentioned evening?

Sorry. I'm totally procrastinating from getting some chores done...
 
Pegeen November 20, 2013
ChefOno - Oh where have all the copy editors gone?
 
ChefOno November 20, 2013

I hope you know, Pegeen, that my tongue was firmly in my cheek re brevity.

Distinguishing between "Bake-Off" (or "bakeoff") and "bake off" should be easy keeping in mind one is a noun and the other a verb. But many (most?) people have difficulty with similar terms. Examples of confusion between "logon" vs. "log on" are widespread and I know of at least one library Web site that can't keep "pickup" and "pick up" straight.

 
Pegeen November 20, 2013
Cynthia and Chef Ono, thank you, I finally get it: "finishing off" an already-started process. I'll always have trouble separating the term from the Betty Crocker Bake-Off though (the precursor to reality TV cooking shows).

And to be honest, I'm like most people, I think, and don't mind reading lengthy descriptions at all when the prose is well-written but that's a fairly subjective matter anyway.

 
ChefOno November 19, 2013

Not jargon in the derogatory sense, rather the concise expression of a concept. Bake off = bake + finish off, i.e. to complete a lengthy, sometimes interrupted, process. In other words, what Cynthia said except apparently points are being awarded for brevity.

 
calendargirl November 19, 2013
I love this question! Thank you for it, AJ. I agree with you, Pegeen, that less is definitely more in this case. (How's that for a one-off response?)
 

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boulangere November 19, 2013
As has been mentioned, both are commercial terms. I use "bake off" routinely to refer to something that has already been prepared to some extent, and just needs to be, well, baked off. I make cookie dough in huge batches; it gets scooped, frozen, and finally bagged in lots of 3 dozen. I pull out however many dozen I need at a time, pan them up (arrange them on sheet pans), thaw them overnight under refrigeration, and bake them off in the morning. The same goes for baguettes or loaves of sourdough bread that have rested in the walk-in overnight. "Bake" tends to refer to compositions such as cake batters which go straight from the mixer to the pan to the oven. "Roast off" and "roast" have similar connotations. A beef roast which has been seared at an earlier point in time, and held under refrigeration for however long, is later roasted off. Chicken breasts tend to go straight from the grill to the oven and be roasted. While none is a term one would typically see in reference to baking or cooking at home, I hope this clears up the mystery of so many terms.
 
acookswords November 20, 2013
Hear yea, hear yea.
 
amysarah November 19, 2013
I have zero interest in pretending to be a chef, or affecting chef-y talk...but I have used the term 'bake off' - rarely, but on a few occasions - basically when referring to baking a portion of something on the fly (e.g., frozen cookie dough, baked a few at a time, last minute.) That may not be correct usage, but c'est la vie - I'm just happy to have cookies.

But interesting about the random popularity of cooking jargon. One I've noticed constantly lately is saying 'a little bit of'....e.g., virtually every Top Chef contestant describing a dish: 'this is pan roasted orangutan, with a little bit of bamboo emulsion, pickled uni and tamarind foam'...not a grammar issue, but it seems like that phrase has become inexplicably ubiquitous.

 
creamtea November 19, 2013
Agree with AJ and Pegeen. I was wondering where this nouveau (or is it nouvelle) expression came from. One more question: is it "baked-off brownies" or "baked off brownies", and when can we eat them?
 
Pegeen November 19, 2013
I hope no one will kick my ass in any posts where my cup runneth over. Yikes. Man who lives in glass house should not throw stones.
 
ChefJune November 19, 2013
It's commercial kitchen-speak, and should not be written that way at all. Especially since it's grammatically incorrect. :(
 
Pegeen November 19, 2013
I'm sorry - it should have been "PN" for PazzoNico, not "PZ." That's my fault, not Antonia's.

It's just that the Z sound is so much fun. :-)
 
AntoniaJames November 19, 2013
I'm with you on the "too many words" point, Pegeen. As Theodore Geisel (Dr. Suess) so perfectly said,

"So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads."

Food writing is too often made a chore to read simply by the sheer volume of adjectives and adverbs used, which weigh the prose down dreadfully (to your teacher's point about getting the lead out!)

Thank you, PZ, for enlightening us. ;o)
 
Pegeen November 20, 2013
Dr. Seuss is the best
 
Pegeen November 19, 2013
Antonia, I've noticed that too!
Thanks for the explanation, PZ. But great, just what we need: having to add another word to sound cool or like you know what you're talking about? (when fewer words are better?)
I had a teacher who always said, "Get the lead out." Fewer words = better.
 
PazzoNico November 19, 2013
...Oh and when talking about frying, it becomes "fry up" or simply just "drop". "Fry up/drop those calamari."
Plus, it sounds cooler. ;)
 
PazzoNico November 19, 2013
Kind of restaurant/commercial kitchen "jargon".

"Bake off those loaves of bread before service."

No difference than saying "bake them".
 
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