A post on how to measure flour may seem a little strange to many, bu to me it’s a baking basic that is never taught.
I really like to communicate with my readers, friends, family and guests at my cooking classes about the struggles of cooking and baking. I want to know what people struggle with so we can change things for them. Time and time again the same things come up, “my cookies never turn out” and “I cannot bake”. Now there are other concerns, but those are the two I get the most, so clearly it’s time to start solving these problems.
Not measuring flour correctly can completely, 100% ruin your cookies. Some of you may have a lighter hand with flour anyway, so you haven’t had the worst of time, while others really struggle to not have flat, hard, or bland baked goods.
I set out on a little adventure to experiment with flour measuring methods, and I was so excited to see the results. Aha! The measuring makes a huge difference!
A kitchen scale is such a lovely device to have. I’m serious. You don’t have to be a professional, in fact it’s the opposite. If you struggle with baking, a kitchen scale can help you to perfectly measure everything. In this case, it’s going to show us which method of measuring is the most accurate.
*Disclaimer- I am using my all-clad measuring cups which are very heavy. This has added enough weight to the scale that it truly throws things off, but remember if you just watch my numbers it will still show you just how much measuring can change things.
*UPDATE: I’ve just learned only needed to “zero” out my scale by pressing, “On/Tare/Off. That is such a huge tip!
How much does one cup of flour weigh?
When you are measuring at home, using your own scale (don’t have one? Scroll down to enter the giveaway) you should reach about 4.25 ounces for one cup of flour.
The picture above is probably the most common method for measuring flour. I certainly grew up doing it. You scoop the flour, and add a little shake to make sure that you have filled the measuring cup. This method, including my heavy measuring cup, is 13.9 ounces.
I’ll fully admit that I still do this next version if I’m in a really big hurry. You pre fluff the flour, stick the cup in, scoop and dump, and then scoop one last time, and level off the top with a flat edge. This method came up with 13.2 ounces. Significantly less.
The last method is the one I generally use, and is the preferred method. You use a scoop or spoon to scoop the flour and then sprinkle it in the cup until it is at the top and then use a flat edge to level it off.
This method comes up with 12.9 ounces.
And just look how much extra flour I have to add to get it back up to the original weight. Now, in baking, as you know, it’s a careful science to get foods to turn out, so having too much flour completely changes the physics of the recipe which can result in too dry, too flat, or too hard of food.
For my recipes I usually grind my own wheat, or I use King Arthur Flour. I’ll talk more about this later, but using a good quality flour is another huge component in baking. Quality ingredients equals quality foods.