When I started baking, I was very much a “throw about this in” and add “more or less that” would-be baker. The recipe would ask for 1 cup of flour, I’d turn to my cupboard of mugs and cups (all of different sizes) and spend a few minutes arguing with myself over which cup to use. Then I’d simply choose one and figure I set that as the “standard cup” measurement for this recipe. Um…. that doesn’t work.
So, you need to start out with right equipment. And there is not a great deal required.
Equipment to Measure Baking Ingredients
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring jugs
Firstly for the measuring cups. You get sets with a variety of sizes. For example, you could have a set with the following cup sizes:
- 1/8 Cup
- 1/4 Cup
- 1/3 Cup
- 1/2 Cup
- 1 Cup
Measuring spoons also come in various sets, such as a set with:
- 1/8 teaspoon
- 1/4 teaspoon
- 1/3 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon
- 1/2 table spoon
- 1 table spoon
Measuring jugs will also come in different sizes – two are shown in the picture above.
So, let’s use them!
RULE: when you measure baking ingredients, do not do the measuring over your mixing bowl. You don’t want an oopsy with the flour and then have to throw away the ingredients already in the bowl!
How to Measure Flour
- Choose the measure cup of the size that you need, for example, 1 cup.
- Fill it with flour – either scoop it into the cup or use a table spoon. Do not pack the flour in.
- Take a flat edge of a knife or use a spatula.
- Scrape the flour level with the top of the measuring cup.
It is the same when you are using measuring spoons to measure flour.
- Fill the spoon with flour.
- Level the flour with the spoon using a knife.
If the recipe asks for a heaped cup of flour:
Fill the cup with flour until the flour starts falling down off the edges of the cup.
How to Measure Sugar
This is a little different from flour:
- Take the measuring cup you need
- Fill it with sugar – either scoop it full or use a spoon
- Shake the cup until the sugar is level with the edge of the cup. (You can do this as the sugar grains are much bigger and rougher than those of flour.)
Note: if you use a knife to scrape the sugar level with the top of the cup, you will get a little less sugar.
You use the same method to measure sugar with measuring spoons.
How to Measure Salt
Salt is measured in the same way as sugar:
- Take the measuring spoon or cup you need.
- Fill it with salt.
- Shake the cup or spoon until the salt is level with the edge of the cup.
What about a “pinch of salt”?
- Dip your fingers into a container of salt.
- Pinch your thumb and forefinger together to remove some salt.
Note: Do not use just the tips of your fingers. Use the pads of your fingers.
If you were to put a pinch of salt in a normal kitchen teaspoon, this is what it would look like. So, basically, it is the tip of a teaspoon.
How to Measure Baking Powder
When you open a tin of baking power remove only half of the paper seal. To measure baking powder:
- Take the correct-size measuring spoon.
- Place it in the tin and scoop the spoon full.
- As you remove the spoon from the tin, use the edge of the paper seal to scrape the baking powder level with the top of the measuring spoon. Or, you can use the flat edge of a knife in the same way as for flour.
How to Measure Butter or Margarine
Generally you will measure butter or margarine (in its solid form) using a scale.
You can estimate the amount of butter you need to weigh by the following:
A block of butter is usually 500g.
If you need 250g, you can measure off half of it.
And then cut your block:
If you need 125g butter, this is 1/4 of a block of butter. So you take a half a block of butter and measure off half of that.
Then you can cut your 125g butter.
Simply add or take away from your block until you have the correct weight.
When you need to use measuring spoons for butter:
- Choose the correct size spoon.
- Fill it with butter. (Smear it into the spoon with a knife as if you are smearing butter onto a slice of bread).
- Use the flat edge of a knife to scrape the butter level with the top of the measuring spoon.
How to Measure Liquids
This applies to measuring all liquids, for example, water, milk, melted butter etc.
You will see that measuring jugs have markings along the edge to show the amount of liquid in the jug. Usually these markings will show millilitres (ml); litres (l) and possibly cups (1; 1 1/2; 2 etc.)
When you measure liquids, you must keep your eye level with the measuring jug.
So how you measure baking ingredients is not difficult, but is very important and can make the world of difference to your cakes and treats!
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