Measuring Ingredients for Baking
You probably know someone who bakes a lot, and it seems like she just tosses this in and that in andpresto, out come cookies or a pie or something delicious. It seems like magic, so you may wonder howimportant it is to be accurate in measuring. The answer is:
Proper measuring is critical tobaking. Baking is a science, and when you mix together ingredients, you're creating chemistry, albeit ediblechemistry, so being precise is important. There is balance between flour, leaveners, fats, and liquids.Extra salt or baking soda can ruin otherwise perfect cookies. Too much flour makes muffins taste dry and flavorless. Nobeginning cook should be nonchalant about measuring. The success of your recipe depends on it.As you begin to feel more comfortable with baking, you may feel inclined to experiment a bit, maybe addsome chocolate chips to peanut butter cookies, or throw some nuts or dried cranberries into oatmealcookies, or substitute pecans for walnuts. That's all well and fine, but give it time. You're never too good or experienced to measure.
come in sets of four or six, ranging from 1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. (Be sure to usegraded teaspoons and tablespoons — and not the spoons you use to eat with —for accuracy.) You can usethe same measuring tools for both liquids and dry ingredients. For liquids, fill the spoon until it's full. For dryingredients, pour or scoop into the spoon until it's full, leveling off the spoon with the straight edge of aspatula or knife.Never measure over the bowl of ingredients you're using for the recipe. If you over pour or level extra into the bowl, your measurements will not be accurate.
are essential for every kitchen. You won't find many recipes that don't requiremeasurements of some kind. Measuring cups come in two basic types:
Graded cups range in sizes from 1/4 cup to 1 cup and can range from 4 to 6 cups in a set.Use graded cups to measure dry ingredients and solid fats, such as shortening.
Glass cups are available in a wide range of sizes, the most common being 1 cup, 2 cups, and 4cups. Use these cups for measuring liquids.When measuring thick, sticky liquids such as honey, molasses, and corn syrup, spray the inside of the measuring glasswith nonstick cooking spray or grease it a little with oil. The liquid will then be much easier to remove.
Measuring dry ingredients
To measure flour, sugar, breadcrumbs, and other dry ingredients (with the exception of brown sugar in manycases), spoon the ingredients lightly into the measuring cup.
Do not shake the cup to make level!
Take thestraight edge of a knife (not the cutting edge) and level off the ingredient. Leveling it off gives you one levelcup. If the recipe calls for a heaping cup, do not level off the cup. Instead, leave a small mounded top of ingredients.Sometimes ingredients, such as brown sugar, shreddedcheeses, coconut, or herbs, are called for as lightly
or firmly packed. Why pack? Generally, these ingredients are bulkier and can form big air pockets if you usethe traditional spoon-and-level method of measuring. If you apply light or slightly firm pressure to theingredients, you eliminate some of the air pockets and get a more accurate measurement. Never push theingredients in so much that you actually crush them or pack them in so tightly that you have difficulty gettingthem out the of cup measure. If you do so, you will over measure, adding too much of the ingredient. A good