Baking is a food cooking method that uses prolonged dry heat by convection, rather than by thermal radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. The most common baked item is bread but many other types of foods are baked. Heat is gradually transferred “from the surface of cakes, cookies and breads to their centre. As heat travels through it transforms batters and doughs into baked goods with a firm dry crust and a softer centre”. Baking can be combined with grilling to produce a hybrid barbecue variant, by using both methods simultaneously or one before the other, cooking twice. Baking is related to barbecuing because the concept of the masonry oven is similar to that of a smoke pit.
Baking has been traditionally done at home by women for domestic consumption, by men in bakeries and restaurants for local consumption and when production was industrialised, by machines in large factories. The art and skill of baking remains a fundamental one and important for nutrition, as baked goods, especially breads, are a common food, economically and culturally important. A person who prepares baked goods as a profession is called a baker.