How-Tos: Measuring Baking Ingredients

How important is measuring ingredients in baking? Answer: Very important. In baking, everything is precise. An additional pinch of this or less of that may not affect your beef stew very much, but baking is a science, and by mixing ingredients together, you create chemistry. It is important to be precise as there is a need for balance between fats, flours, leaveners and liquids.

This write-up is part of a series of tips and information for beginners in baking. Before you get started on any baking, here are some tips and pointer on how to measure ingredients.

Measuring Tools
1) Measuring Spoons - they usually come in sets of 4 to 8, with sizes ranging from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon

2) Dry Measuring cups – usually comes in ¼ cup, 1/3 cup, ½ cup, 1 cup

3) Liquid Measuring Cups

Measuring Dry Ingredients
Generally for dry ingredients like flour, baking soda, cocoa powder etc, loosely scoop the ingredients till they form a heap on the spoon. Do not tap, press in or shake to level them. Level off with the something straight e.g. a spatula or the back of a knife.

Measuring Brown sugar
Recipes usually require brown sugar to be firmly packed into the measuring spoon/cup. When measuring brown sugar, make sure they are packed in firmly (but not so firm as to crush them or till you have difficulty getting them out of the measuring cup.
An easy way to tell whether you have packed it correctly is to look at how it looks after getting out of the measuring cup. If the ingredient is lightly packed, after you pour it out, it will lose the shape of the measuring cup it was in. If firmly packed, it will still slightly retain the shape of the measuring cup after it was poured out.
Measuring Icing sugar/ Powdered sugar
Icing sugar usually needs to be sifted to remove lumps in them.
Measuring Liquid Ingredients
Pour your ingredient into a measuring cup, bend over so that your eyes on level with the measuring marks. This is to avoid parallax errors when reading the quantity of your ingredients.
Measuring Sticky Ingredients
Honey, molasses, golden syrup can be difficult to pour after you have measured them. One way is to lightly coat the inside of the measuring cup with oil or cooking spray first. This will allow the ingredients to slide out easily.
Measuring Butter
Butter comes in sticks and generally, each stick of butter equals 8 tablespoons or half cup.

If using a measuring cup, spoon the butter (assuming the butter is a little soft) into the measuring cup and pack lightly by pressing down lightly with a spoon or spatula, to remove any air holes.

Tip: Before filling with butter or shortening, line your measuring cup with a piece of plastic wrap. Fill with the required amount of butter or shortening. Pull the ends of the plastic wrap to remove the ingredient. It is easier to remove, and the measuring cups are easier to wash.

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