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How To Measure Ingredients
It is important to learn how to measure ingredients. When we measure ingredients for baking, accuracy counts. To that end, it is important to use the correct tools for the job and to properly use those tools.
Whether a recipe calls for cups, ounces, or milliliters you want to use measuring cups designed for liquid ingredients. Liquid measuring cups have spouts for pouring, easy to read markings for accuracy, and headspace so you do not spill. Combined, these features are far better for measuring liquids than your set of dry-measure measuring cups.
Knowing how to measure ingredients when using a liquid measuring cup is particularly crucial. When you use a liquid measuring cup it is important to leave the cup on your countertop. When you raise the cup to view the measurement it will be inaccurate. If you do not have one, the easiest way to measure liquids is with an angled cup. This measuring up by OXO is fantastic.
I have two 1-cup Pyrex measuring cups that have been handed down to me by my grandmother and my mother. I prefer these measuring cups for heating and melting in the microwave. The OXO is microwave safe, but I prefer my old-school Pyrex.
Measuring by weight gives you the most accurate results. When shopping for your scale make sure it weighs in grams, pounds & ounces, milliliters and fluid ounces.
Another scale feature that is vital to your baking sanity is the zero/tare feature. The tare feature allows you to place your bowl on the scale and reset the scale to zero. When you add ingredients you can tare the scale after each addition. If you don’t do this you will be weighing each ingredient and subtracting for the weight of the bowls and cups you are using to measure. The Accuweight 207 has all of the features listed above. It is sturdy and easy to clean.
When measuring an ingredient like flour with a measuring cup, scoop the flour in a heaping scoopful then use a flat utensil like a knife or spatula and swipe the top of the cup. That gives you an even, uncompressed cup.
Recipes will often ask for “packed” brown sugar. In the case of packed brown sugar, you do want to compress the sugar into the cup. Brown sugar has moisture that keeps the crystals from sitting closely together like granulated sugar. To compensate for the space between the granules you need to pack the sugar into the cup for an accurate measurement.
When shopping for measuring cups you have too many choices. Many of us have a set of plastic measuring cups in our drawer. Maybe you are missing a few cups out of one set so you bought more and still kept the partial set. The measurements are worn away. If they were held together by a plastic ring, that ring broke ages ago. I even had a measuring cup that had a melted side.
It is time to buy a set of measuring cups that will last the rest of your life. Stainless steel measuring cups are available in all shapes and designs. When choosing a measuring cup you want to make sure that the handle is a part of the cup, not riveted or soldered onto the cup. The handle and the cup should be level. The cup should not be sharp to avoid injury. Check out the OXO Good Grips measuring cups.
When using a measuring spoon, use the same method you use for measuring cups. Scoop out a heaping amount and swipe off the overage.
Why you should use metal measuring spoons: plastic spoons are not as strong as their metal counterparts and may break. The measurement marks on plastic measuring spoons can wear off. You want spoons that are held together by a strong but user-friendly ring. Do not settle for a plastic ring. The ring that holds your spoons should open and close easily but not so easily that you begin losing spoons in your drawer. Finally, plastic spoons are prone to static electricity causing dry ingredients to stick to the sides of the spoon. This impacts measurements and makes the spoon harder to clean.
The shape of your measuring spoon counts. Oval and rectangle shaped spoons fit into the smaller spice bottles where round bowls often won’t.
After years of using the same spoons, I am ready for a new set. My spoons are on a ring like a key ring. It is easier to wash the whole set then remove a single spoon. It is a little frustrating. I just bought these spoons by Cuisipro.
No matter the tool what is important is how you use that tool. Even if you use the highest quality ingredients if you measure them inaccurately the finished product will not be what you hoped. If you are using measuring cups and spoons make a habit of the scoop and swipe method. Use liquid measuring cups for liquids and dry for dry. If you have access to a scale, use the scale. Your measurements will be more accurate and you will have fewer dishes in your sink.