Learn how to Measure Flour Accurately for Baking. Avoid failed bread and baked goods recipes with this easy step-by-step guide.
There are many reasons a recipe fails but the most common I suspect is improperly measured flour. Accurately measured flour is foundational to successful baking recipes.
The problem with improperly measured flour
Flour in recipes, as a standard in American kitchens, is measured by the US customary weight system in cups. By this customary standard, one cup of flour by weight is 120 grams or 4.4 ounces. And while the standard measuring cup is designed for this volume, achieving that weight accurately can be challenging.
Novice bakers may not realize that scooping flour directly from a container with the measuring cup will compact and add more flour by weight. Too much flour in a cake or bread recipe will result in dry, gummy, and tough baked goods.
As you can see from the above image, scooping one cup of flour directly from the container resulted in approximately ¼ cup of additional flour. Image measuring a recipe for 3 cups of flour; that would be almost one extra cup of flour in your recipe!
The most efficient way to measure flour accurately
The most efficient way to measure flour is to weigh it with a kitchen scale. Kitchen scales are invaluable tools. Knowing that a cup of flour is 120 grams, I can easily weigh three cups of flour in less time than it takes to scoop and level one. I truly recommend investing in a kitchen scale.
Equipment needed and instruction for measuring flour with a kitchen scale
You will need a digital kitchen scale like the Ozeri (affil link) model featured. Also, a container to pour or scoop the flour into and the unit of measure for the recipe. I weigh all of my ingredients in grams for consistency. A reliable conversion chart like this on found at King Arthur Flour website HERE may help you to decide which is best. To begin:
- Turn the kitchen scale on and make sure that it is set to “0” (zero).
- Place the bowl you will scoop or pour into on to the scale. It will register the weight of that container. Your scale should have a “TARE” button.
- Press the TARE button to cancel the weight of the bowl. The scale will read “0” again.
- Set your unit of measure and begin scooping your flour into the bowl until the desired weight is achieved. If you are over the weight amount, remove small amounts until the correct weight is reached.
The proper way to fill a dry measure cup with the spoon and level method
Parchment or wax paper
Spooning and leveling is a tried and true highly beneficial method. You will find that this method gets a more accurate weight than scooping flour from the container.
Begin by lining your work area with parchment or wax paper. This helps with clean up later. Place your flour container and tools on the paper. Loosen the flour by briskly working a spoon back and forth in the flour.
Spoon flour into the measuring cup. Don’t press it down or shake it. Continue until the measuring cup is full but not piled too high. Using the back of the butterknife, evenly level the flour in the measuring.
You now have a pretty accurate one cup of flour. Notice in the above image how close the measurement is to the most accurate weight for one cup when spooning versus scooping.
To clean up simply use the wax paper to funnel the excess flour back into the container.
Test your new measuring skills with these awesome recipes!
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*Updated on 10/1/2020 for improve content. It was first published on 9/17/2019.*