In today’s lesson we are going to learn something that is very basic in baking, and that is how to properly measure the ingredients. In baking, measurement should be exact or at least close to being exact. A small amount of extra flour could make a huge difference and we wouldn’t even realize it until we ended up getting a tough dry bread, or an overly sweet cake. I honestly think before when I was starting to get into baking that I know how to measure ingredients. After all, how difficult it is? We use measuring cup and spoons, isn’t it as simple as scooping and dumping the ingredients in a bowl? Well, not really. Let me show you how to properly measure baking ingredients, this simple lesson will make a difference in the success of your bake products.
While I had been baking for awhile now, Sometimes, I still feel like a beginner. There is always so much to learn to refresh my memory or just to brush up my skills. I’ve decided to share with you my baking learning journey, and I hope this will benefit you as much as it helped me. I had been meaning to create more baking basics series but I had always been side track with recipe and travel post. I’ll be documenting things that I had learned and will share with you my experiences in baking, baking basics is not just my journey, it is our journey to making ourselves a better baker, especially if you cannot afford to go to a culinary school for whatever reason. I started on my own, learned everything on my own by reading and researching, by watching videos and by listening to advice and feedback. I feel it’s time to give back and share what I’ve learned.
Today’s Lesson: Measuring Ingredients the Proper Way
2 Ways to Measure Ingredients in Baking
Depending on where you are, you will probably be using either two of these ways to measure ingredients.
- By using Measuring Cup/Spoon – This is probably the most common way that most people measure the ingredients in baking, unless you are in European country that mostly measure ingredients by weight. I personally do this almost 95% of the time. Although this is the most common way, this is not the best way when it comes to baking. This way of measuring is not precise, although you could get by with it.
- Weighing – The best way to measure the ingredients in baking is by using a kitchen weighing scale. This gives a more precise measurement as compared to using cups or spoon. In weighing, 100grams is 100 grams, but 1 cup is not always 1 cup because it depend on how we measure it.
Let us start with the Measuring Cups and Spoon Way – By Volume
How to properly measure baking ingredients varies on what ingredients you are measuring. Let’s start with the dry ingredients.
Flour: Spoon & Level Method
Leta start with the most basic an common ingredients in baking, flour. You will be using flour 90% of the time unless you are baking a flourless recipe.
DON’T: The easiest and most common way most beginners measure flour is by simply scooping the flour and dumping it in the bowl. Sometimes we even tap it, thinking that tapping will give more room for more flour, which is correct and which is why you should not do it that way. Tapping will cause the flour to settle in the cup thus making you scoop more flour to fill the cup. So should you do it?
DO: You’ve probably read a lot of recipe saying “use the spoon & level technique”. What is means is that grab a measuring cup, and use a spoon (it doesn’t matter what size) and scoop the flour into the measuring cup. After you’ve filled Che measuring cup, use any flat surface object (a knife, a stainless spatula or handle of spoon or fork) to level the top of the measuring cup. The leveling will remove excess flour. This method applies for any kind of flour.
Granulated White Sugar: Scoop & Level Method
Measuring white sugar is fairly straight forward. You can directly scoop it using a measuring cup or spoon, then level the top using a flat surface object.
Brown Sugar: Scoop & Packed Method
Measuring brown sugar is slightly different from white sugar. Start by scooping the brown sugar then pack it down (press to make it compact). Brown sugar have more moisture and so if you scoop it as is, your measurement could be less than what is required. It not specified “packed” on the recipe, scoop and pack when measuring.
Icing Sugar/Confectioners Sugar: Scoop & Packed Method
Measure icing sugar as you would measure flour, using the spoon level technique. However, pay attention on how the recipe measurement is written for icing sugar. When it
- 1 cup confectioner sugar (sifted) – this means sift the confectioner sugar AFTER measuring
- 1 cup sifted confectioners sugar – means sift the confectioners sugar BEFORE measuring
It may sound the same, but actually it is not. Normally, confectioners sugar scooped without soft if first measures a lot more then when you scoop a confectioners sugar that has been sifted. Try it. Scoop 1 cup confectioners sugar then sift it and transfer in a bowl. Now, using the already sifted confectioner sugar, measure 1 cup. You will be surprised there will be about 1/4 cup excess.
Cocoa Powder: Scoop & Level Method
When the recipe did not specify, I normally go for scooping it directly and leveling it, then sifting it afterwards. Make it s habit to sift confectioners sugar before using it as it tends to have lumps, this is more important when making buttercream frosting.
Baking Soda and Baking Powder: Scoop & Level Method
Measure these leavening agent by scooping and leveling. Although these ingredients is normally use in small amount, measuring leavening agent correctly is very important just like and ingredients. On a side note, make sure to check the expiration date.
Active Dry Yeast or Instant Yeast: Scoop & Level Method
Measure yeast with the scoop and level technique. I usually buy the bottled one so I use a measuring spoon to measure it. If you are buying the one in packets, 1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons which is 1/4 ounce. Just like baking soda and baking powder, pay attention to the expiry date. To test if the yeast is still active, pour about 1/4 cup warm water ( 100F), add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 3/4 teaspoon active yeast. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, if it form a foam on the top it’s still active
Sticky Liquid Ingredients
When measuring honey, maple syrup, agave or molasses, spray the measuring spoon or cup with non stick spray. Pour the sweetener into the measuring spoon or cup . This simple step will make your measuring easy breezy. The sweetener will fall easily without sticking to the measuring spoon/cup.
Measure liquid ingredients like water, milk, oil using the eye level technique. This means pour the liquid in the cup, the bend down or slightly squat to check if the liquid is level with the mark in the cup
Other Semi-Liquid Ingredients
Yogurt, Sour Cream, Peanut Butter, Apple Sauce or any fruit Puree should be measured using dry measuring cup and do the spoon and level technique
Ingredients like chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruits, sprinkles and candies should be measure using a dry measuring cup.
Measuring By Weight – Weighing The Ingredients
Now, let us go to the more precise way of measuring ingredients, by using a weighing scale. Whether you decide to use this way of measuring ingredients or not, buying a kitchen weighing scale is a good investment. There are a lot of inexpensive brand in the market, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
3 Types of Weighing Scale
How to Measure Ingredients Using Kitchen Scale
Keep your handy manual in case you need to refer to it as kitchen scale differs depending on the brand. The important thing to note here is to make sure to set the reading to zero before before adding the ingredients. If you place a cup of flour in a weighing scale that has not been set to zero, the reading will include the weight of the cup + weight of the flour. When measuring, you only want to measure the ingredients. Here is an example. The photo in the left shows the weigh of the cup + the flour. The photo on the right shows only the weigh of the flour. In my weighing scale, I have a button the resets the reading to zero taking out the weigh of the measuring tool.
Dry Ingredients Equivalent
|1 Cup||16 Tablespoon|
|3/4 cup||12 Tablespoon|
|2/3 cup||10-2/3 Tablespoons|
|1/2 Cup||8 Tablespoon|
|1/3 Cup||5-1/3 Tablespoons|
|1/4 Cup||4 Tablespoon|
|1/8 Cup||2 Tablespoon|
|1 Tablespoon||3 Teaspoon|
Wet Ingredients Equivalent
|4 Quarts||128 ounces||1 Gallon|
|8 Cups||64 ounces||4 Pints|
|4 Cups||32 ounces||2 Pints|
|2 Cups||16 ounces||1 Pint|
|1 Cup||8 ounces||1/2 Pint|
Common Ingredients Weight Chart
|All-Purpose Flour||1 Cup||4 1/4||120|
|Almond Flour||1 Cup||3 3/8||96|
|Bread Flour||1 Cup||4 1/4||120|
|Chickpea Flour||1 Cup||3||85|
|Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour||1 Cup||5 1/2||156|
|Oat Flour||1 Cup||3 1/4||92|
|Self Rising Flour||1 Cup||4||113|
|Unbleached Cake Flour||1 Cup||4 1/4||120|
|Cornmeal (Yellow)||1 Cup||5 1/2||156|
|Quinoa (whole)||1 Cup||6 1/4||177|
|Panko Bread Crumbs||1/4 Cup||1 3/4||50|
|Bread Crumbs (Dried)||1/4 Cup||1||28|
|Bread Crumbs (Fresh)||1/4 Cup||3/4||21|
|Granulated White Sugar||1 Cup||7||198|
|Packed Brown (Dark or Light)||1 Cup||7 1/2||213|
|Confectioners`Sugar (Unsifted)||2 Cups||8||227|
|Baking Powder||1 Teaspoon||4|
|Baking Soda||1/2 Teaspoon||3|
|Cocoa Powder (Unweetened)||1/2 Cup||1 1/2||42|
|Salt (Table)||1 Tablespoon||18|
|Instant Yeast||2 1/4 Teaspoon||1/4||7|
|Butter||1/2 Cup, 8 Tablespoon||4||113|
|Cream (Heavy, Light, Half & Half)||1 Cup||8||227|
|Fresh Milk||1 Cup||8||227|
|Condensed Milk||1/4 Cup||2 3/4||78|
|Evaporated Milk||1/2 Cup||4||113|
|Coconut Oil||1/2 Cup||4||113|
|Olive Oil||1/4 Cup||1 3/4||50|
|Vegetable Oil||1 Cup||7||198|
|Vanilla Extract||1 Tablespoon||1/2||14|
|Maple Syrup||1/2 Cup||5 1/2||156|
|Egg (fresh)||1 Large||1 3/4||50|
|Egg White (fresh)||1 Large||1 1/4||35|
|Egg Yolk (Fresh)||1 Large||1/2||14|
|Apple Sauce||1 Cup||9||255|
|Mashed Banana||1 Cup||8||227|
|Yogurt or SourCream||1 Cup||8||227|
|Peanut Butter||1/2 Cup||4 3/4||135|
|Chocolate Chips||1 Cup||6||170|
|Chopped Chocolate||1 Cup||6||170|
|Cashew (Chopped)||1 Cup||4||113|
|Walnuts (Chopped)||1 Cup||4||113|
|Almods (Sliced)||1/2 Cup||1 1/2||43|
|Feta Cheese||1/2 Cup||2||57|
|Cheese (grated cheddar,mozarella)||1 Cup||4||113|
|Ricotta Cheese||1 Cup||8||227|
|Parmesan Cheese||1/2 Cup||1 3/4||50|
|Cream Cheese||1 Cup||8||227|
|Sweetened Shredded Coconut||1 Cup||3||85|
|Unsweetened Shredded Coconut||1 Cup||4||113|
I only selected the common ingredients I used, but if you visit this Ingredients Weight Chart post, you will find almost everything.
My Latest Video
Baking Basic 101 Series:
If you missed my previous baking 101 Series, check out the details below.
Baking Basic 101 Series: Click the Item to Read Full Details
- 10 Essential Baking Tools for Beginners
- 10 Essential Baking Tools for Small Batch Baking
- Baking Basic 101 Series #1: How to Tell If Your Oven is Lying to You?
- Baking Basics 101 Series #2: Understanding Oven and Baking Temperature
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Categories: Kitchen and Baking Tips