Baking is a game of details. While my husband likes to cook and grill, he’s not a fan of baking because he would have to stick to the details in the recipe. Even if you follow the recipe precisely, the method you use to measure your ingredients can greatly affect your finished product.
One cup of flour weighs 4.25 oz. on a digital scale. “What’s the big deal?” you might think. “I’ll just put it in a measuring cup.”
I weighed two common ways of measuring flour to see what the difference would be:
Dipping and Leveling = 5.1 oz
This means that you are dipping the measuring cup into a bag or container of flour and then leveling it off.
Spooning and Leveling = 4.3 oz
This means that you are spooning the flour from a bag or container into the measuring cup and then leveling it off.
I used to always measure flour with the “dipping and leveling” method. But when I made bread at the same time as Katie one time, we realized that our bread turned out very differently. The only difference we could figure out was how we measured the flour. But if the recipe calls for 4 cups of flour, check out the difference:
Weighing 4 cups of flour: 17 oz
Dipping and Leveling: 20.4 oz
Spooning and Leveling: 17.2 oz
Measuring your flour by dipping and leveling can mean you are inadvertently adding 3-4 ounces of flour (almost a full cup!) of flour to the recipe. That can create a drastically more dense and dry product.
The most recommended method for measuring dry ingredients is by weight. If you don’t have a digital scale, the next best method is to spoon the ingredients into a dry measuring cup and level it. If you’re ever curious, King Arthur Flour has a great chart for weights of dry ingredients.