Measuring for Baking


ScaleWhen it comes to baking , weights and measurements are critical and scales are the key to accuracy.  In cooking, it is easier to correct mistakes than in baking.  Recently, a reader made my Angel Food cake and wrote to tell me it didn’t rise as she expected.  Could I tell her what she might have done wrong, she asked.  My first guess was she incorrectly weighed the flour.  I suggested she use a scale if possible, she did on the next one and happily it came out perfectly for her.  This is the best case I can make for scales.  Anyone who knows me, knows this has been my mantra in baking for years – scales, scales, scales.

They are easy to obtain (even Walmart stocks them) and cost around $20.00 to $30.00 – a small investment for peace of mind when measuring ingredients.  Make sure the scale will weigh in either grams   grams on scale

or ounces.Scale 2

Mine goes up to 10 pounds but it should go up to at least 5 pounds.  When you get your scale home, test it for accuracy by weighing a pound of butter.  Take the butter out of its carton first, turn on the scale and weigh it.  It should be 16 ounces or 454 grams.  We tested all of our scales at the shop this way.

There are two types of measuring cups.  The dry measuring cup is flush on top.  Dry MeasuresThe liquid measure has a lip and the measurement is recessed slightly for convenience to avoid spilling.
Liquid  Measures

Ounces by weight and ounces by volume are not interchangeable.   A pound of all purpose flour (16 ounces or 454 grams) weighed on a scale equals 3 1/2 cups of flour by volume.  However, 3 1/2 cups of flour may not weigh a pound if measured by volume.  Flour is particularly difficult to measure without a scale.  It depends upon how it is put into the cup. Because flour packs down in shipping and stacking on the grocer’s shelf, if it is not weighed,  it needs to be lightly stirred in its container first then Stirring flourspooned into a dry measuring cup to overflowing.  flour overvlowingThe excess should be removed by sweeping it off with the back of a knife or any flat utensil.  Sweeping the flour off

Swept offThat should get you close to 140 grams per cup.

Making things more complicated it depends upon which flour you are weighting and how it is to be weighed.  For baking purposes here are the weights I use.  Also, note there are differences between sifted and unsifted.  If the recipe reads 1 cup sifted flour, the flour has to be sifted into the cup to be measured.  If the recipe reads 1 cup flour, sifted, then measure the flour and sift it afterwards.  If it doesn’t say, assume it is unsifted.

Type of flour                                Cup, sifted                       Cup, unsifted_
All purpose flour              115 grams or 4 oz.                140 grams or 5 oz.
Bread Flour                      115 grams or 4 oz.                140 grams or 5 oz.
Cake Flour                       100 grams or 3 1/2 oz.          114 grams or 4 oz.
Pastry Flour                      115 grams or 4 oz.                125 grams or 4 1/3 oz.

You will need measuring spoons for small amounts of ingredients.  I like metal spoons rather than plastic which can distorted in the dishwasher.  Also, the shape of the spoon doesn’t matter.  They come in all shapes.Measuring spoonsWhile timers for baking may not be thought of as a measuring device, they are.  I have extra timers in addition to the oven and microwave timer so I can take the timer with me if I am going out of the kitchen.  I prefer a timer that has minutes and seconds on it.


Thermometers are yet another measuring device.  An oven thermometer is very helpful for baking.  Ovens can change their temperature from time to time and it is good to know what the current temperature is and adjust  up or down.  I also have thermometers in my refrigerator and freezer as well as an instant read, candy and meat thermometer.ThermometersWith the tools above, measuring ingredients, time or temperature will be assured for your baking.

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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4 thoughts on “Measuring for Baking

  1. Dauhn Minus

    Thank you so much ! I knew that measuring was critical in baking and even bought a inexpensive chart on doubling but now I will buy a scale and some of the other necessary items I need since I do bake so often; and such a variety of things. You are such a blessing.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Dauhn: You are exactly the person I write for. Sometimes I think the blogs are so basic, but then I remember when I started and how much I had to learn to own the bakery. You will find much more success in your baking with the right equipment and techniques.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Mary: So glad you found me now. If there is anything in particular you want to know about, let me know. I’ll work it into a blog.

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