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Measuring flour correctly

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I just learned that you are supposed to spoon your flour in the measuring cup, not scoop it out of the bag or canister. I read that if you scoop, you can get as much as 25% more flour. Sometimes I pour the flour into the measuring cup. I guess that is wrong, too.

Have you found the spooning of the flour makes a difference?
KitchenAid Professional 600 6 qt. in January 2011
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KitchenAid Professional 600 6 qt. in January 2011
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post #2 of 28
We just went through this debate on another forum I belong to. Some people scoop into the cup, right out of the bag, others spoon the flour in, then level.

The method of measuring flour can mean the difference between a successful or failed recipe. And this is why I weigh my flour, instead of measuring.

AP flour measures to 4.5 ounces per cup.

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post #3 of 28
The only thing I heard about scooping is that it can cause you to have air pockets, therefore, you don't "scoop" the right amount of product needed.
post #4 of 28
It also compacts the flour, possibly causing too much flour to be measured out.

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post #5 of 28
I agree with Playingwithsugar, weighing flour (or most dry ingredients) is really the way to go. If I use measuring cups, I use a measuring scoop to fluff the flour and pour into the measuring cup and level with a knife (taking care NOT to shake the flour down into the measuring cup or pack it). I did an experiment and by using this method, it was very close to the weight of flour measured using my scale. I almost always weigh my flour, though. Especially when testing a new recipe icon_wink.gif .
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I am a scratch baker working towards becoming a decorator, too Man, I hope practice really makes perfect
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post #6 of 28
Weighing flour is the correct way to measure flour. It's the way it's done in bakeries.
Flour can Measure (volume) differently due to a few different reasons. Humidity can be one reason. The way the flour settles can be a reason.
Winter wheat vs spring/summer wheat can cause a difference in density which would also cause differences in weight/volume.

Bakeries usually measure all the dry ingredients by weight, on a scale. Liquids ingredients, are usually measured by volume. (cups, pints, quarts, gallons etc...)

There is a difference when measuring one cup (volume) of flour vs. weighing 8 oz of flour. And if you scooped that flour into a one cup measuring cup, and then placed it on the scale everyday for 2 weeks straight, you would come up with several different weights.
It's best to weigh.
post #7 of 28
If you want to see how it will make a difference, fill a measuring cup with flour by spooning it in, then tap the cup on the counter and see how much it compacts down. If you scoop it you'll be packing it into the cup, and that gives you too much flour, which then creates too much gluten when it's mixed. That makes the texture of the cake too tough. Or "inferior product" as they said in culinary school.
post #8 of 28
weigh weigh weigh.... the only way...
post #9 of 28
For weighing are you meaning to weigh before sift or after sift?? Also what is the conversion for PS? Is there a chart someplace that breaks down dry ingredient into weight? I've never weighed my dry ingredients but it does bring about a very valid point, esp the humidity living in FL.
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post #10 of 28
weigh before or after - a pound is pound.. sifted or not. I sift after just to get lumps out.. but it still weighs the same.
post #11 of 28
Sift according to your recipe. But a pound is going to weigh a pound, today, tomorrow and the next day. Where as 2 cups will weigh different depending on the day and how you measured them. (did you sift? Did you tap the cup?)
It doesn't matter if it's flour or sugar, a pound is a pound.
post #12 of 28
I always weight my dry ingredients, and even most of the times my wet ingredients too.

As for weighting flour sifted or unsifted, it depends on the recipe.

If the recipe says for example 2 cups sifted flour in ingredient list, it means you sift and then weight 2 cups.

If the recipe says 2 cups flour in ingredient list, and later in directions it indicates sift the flour, it means you have to weight 2 cups unsifted flour.

For your information --->
1 cup unsifted flour = 125 grams
1 cup sifted flour = 112 grams

I made a chart of the most common ingredients that I use in baking and have it handy in a laminated sheet.

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post #13 of 28
Put me down as someone who weighs the dry ingredients. And for this very reason too.

I always sift after I weigh. But for fun tomorrow I will try sifting before I weigh to see if I get more or less flour. But I believe it should not make any difference weight wise. Sifting only incorporates air, takes out the lumps, and fluffs it up. It really should not make a difference to the weight.
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post #14 of 28
sifting only changes the amount of flour you use if sifting is mentioned in the directions, as someone said above. If the recipe says 1 cup of flour sifted, they are intending for you to use a different amount of flour than 1 cup of sifted flour.

1 cup of sifted flour means sift it first, then measure it in a cup and level. If you do this it will weigh 112g, as infinitsky says. So if you're someone who weighs ingredients, and the recipe calls for 1 cup of sifted flour, just weigh out 112g. whether you sift it before weighing or after will not make a difference; it will still weigh 112g.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, sifted, that means to measure flour into a cup, level, then sift it, after. Done this way, it will weigh 125g, as infinitsky says. So if you're someone who weighs ingredients, and the recipe calls for 1 cup flour, sifted, just weigh out 125g. Whether you sift it before or after doesn't matter. It will still weigh 125g.

If a recipe does not mention sifting, you can assume that it should be measured in a cup, unsifted. What you do after that is up to you.
Or, if you weigh, it should be weighed at 125g. Whether you sift it at any point is up to you.
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post #15 of 28
I'm going to make another suggestion for those of you who don't own a scale. In The Wedding Cake Book by Dede Wilson, she recommends aerating the flour by stirring it with a whisk and then using the "dip and sweep" method (just leveling with a spatula-NOT tapping or shaking the cup). I don't own a kitchen scale and I have been measuring flour this way for years. My cakes come out perfect every time. So while I do believe a scale is the best way, there are other ways too.
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