In Latin the verb pistare has a primary sense of ‘to pound or grind’ (cf. Lewis and Short 1380c), with transferred secondary senses of ‘to bake, to cook by baking’ and ‘to knead’ developing in the early medieval period (cf. DMLBS 2294a). The equivalent verb in Anglo-Norman is attested predominantly with the sense of ‘to bake’, although the context is not always clear as to which part of the process of working with cereals/dough (grinding – kneading – baking) the verb refers. The verb is used mainly with reference to the baking of bread or any dough-based product, which corresponds with the aforementioned etymology. However, the sense also seems to have been transferred to any kind of oven-baking, including the preparation of meat. In continental French, according to the DMF, the verb only has the original sense of ‘to grind’.
Both formally and semantically, the verb is very similar to paster and pestrer1, and a certain level of merging of the three must have existed already in medieval times. However, their distinct etymologies together with a different emphasis on what is the main sense and the evidence of three different word-families in the derivational nouns validate the necessity of three separate articles.