Baking and cooking are the two most common methods for food preparation. Even though they sound the same, they are not. So what’s the difference between cooking and baking?
All the methods of preparing food to eat are cooking. And baking is a method of cooking that uses dry heat to cook. Most baking is done in an oven. Therefore, we can say, all cooking isn’t baking, but all baking is cooking.
However, if you want to dive deeper, go through the entire guide. We have made in-depth baking vs. cooking comparison that includes everything you need to know about baking and cooking.
Let’s get started!!!
What Is Baking?
As mentioned before, baking is a method of cooking, and it requires dry heat. To be precise, in baking, food is roasted at a high temperature. And it requires continuous dry heat; without it, foods can’t be baked properly.
The source of the dry heat could be anything; it could be wood, gas, coal, or electricity. However, electric ovens are most commonly used for baking.
A lot of food ingredients, including cookies, pasta, pudding, cake, muffins, pizza, vegetables, and meats, are baked. In baking, everything depends on precision, every ingredient has a purpose, and their quantities also matter a lot.
So anything off with either the ingredient quantity or temperature will throw the entire recipe off. This is why bakers need to be very careful.
What Is Cooking?
The old definition of cooking is preparing food by heating it with flames to change the chemical composition so that it is safe to eat. But now it has changed a lot.
Now cooking means heating the food by combining it with a bunch of other ingredients to make it taste better and safe to eat. Once, it was only flames that were used in cooking. But now, the heat is transferred to the food in three different ways, conduction, radiation, and convection.
Cooking causes some meat and vegetables to get soft, some to shrink, and some to get firm. That being said, cooking in high heat damages the nutrient profile of the food as well.
Baking Vs. Cooking Comparison Table
Baking means preparing foods by dry heating them in a confined area like an oven.
Preparing foods by heating them is called cooking.
Baking needs a precise amount of ingredients and heat.
People can improvise cooking by experimenting with different heat levels and ingredients.
Compared to cooking, baking is faster.
Cooking requires a long time.
Baking retains the food nutrient profile.
Cooking damages the food nutrient profile.
It is not as easy as cooking, as it is all about precision.
It is easy to do.
Requires tools like a whisker, measuring cup, mixer, and oven.
Requires tools like pots, pans, stove, grill, knife, spatula, tongs, etc.
Baking isn't as popular as cooking.
It is highly popular.
Difference between Cooking and Baking
Creativity and Improvisation
If you do a little bit of research, you will find cooking is called art and baking science. And the reason is you can do a lot of improvisations in cooking. Chefs experiment with different ingredients and different heat levels. But that’s not an option with baking.
In order to get the right texture and color, you need to set an accurate temperature. Plus, the quantity of water and other ingredients need to be accurate as well. Anything wrong with them will hamper the outcome. This is why baking is called Science.
Cooking can be done on a stove or grill, or open fire. It uses mediums like water or oil to heat up uncooked items like vegetables and meats. On the other hand, baking is done only in dry heat, mostly in ovens. Sometimes baking also requires a little bit of water and oil.
Cooking requires more time than baking. There goes a lot into cooking; you need to stir, add herbs and spices, then add the food that is to be cooked. Whereas in baking, once you prepare everything, you leave the food inside the oven to be baked. Once it’s done, the oven will let you know!
Cooking in high heat damages the nutrient profile of the food. This is why professionals always recommend using low heat for cooking foods. Compared to that, dry heat is way too healthy. It doesn’t damage the nutrient profile as much as cooking in high heat.
There is a huge difference between cooking and baking tools. Cooking requires tools like knives, pans, a grill or stove, tongs, pots, etc. On the other hand, in baking, you are most likely to require mixers, a whisk, measuring cups, and definitely an oven.
That being said, these are not the only tools cooking and baking requires. There are a lot of other tools as well, and which tool to use will depend on what type of food is being cooked or baked.
Our ancestors have been cooking for more than 2 million years, though the method was different. And baking was introduced around 6 thousand years ago.
Compared to baking, cooking is simple and easy to do. Plus, it is very easy to get all the ingredients for cooking as well. This is why cooking is very popular.
Baking requires accuracy and high precision, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. On top of that, baking requires an oven which isn’t widely available in some areas. As a result, people prefer cooking over baking.
Benefits of Cooking and Baking
There are a bunch of benefits of cooking and baking. The most important one is that cooking or baking destroys food-borne pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and parasites, making the food safe for us.
Here are some other advantages of cooking and baking –
Baking and cooking are fun ways to get rid of daily stress at the office or school/college.
Learning how to cook or bake different cuisines will help you understand the different flavors, customs, and cultures of the world.
Healthy and Inexpensive
Cooking fresh food at home is way healthier than eating at expensive restaurants. You can preserve the needed nutrition profile in your diet if you cook by yourself. Plus, you save some extra cash as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is baking better than cooking?
Baking foods lowers the calories and fat consumption, which is a must for healthy diets. Due to the dry heat, fats drain off during baking. Plus, you don’t need any extra oil to bake foods, so there won’t be any oxidation or other reaction.
Moreover, unlike cooking, baking retains the nutrients in the food. And lastly, baking is way faster than cooking, which is why overall, baking is better than cooking.
Do you bake a pizza or cook it?
Making pizza requires both. You need to cook the dough, after which you add the toppings and put it in the oven for baking.
Is baking considered cooking?
Baking is a subset of cooking, so technically baking is considered cooking.
In short, what we learn from this cooking vs. baking comparison is that baking is a method of cooking. And it requires precision. On the other hand, cooking is pretty relaxing to do.