How to Measure
Graduated Measuring Cups
Measuring cups that resemble small pots. They are usually made of plastic or metal and come in
sets of four (1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1/4 cup). They are excellent for measuring dry
ingredients because they can easily be leveled off.
Liquid Measuring Cups
Measuring cups that look like little pitchers. They are widely available in 1-, 2-, 4-, and 8-cup
measures. They come in glass or plastic, with the amounts indicated in cups, ounces, and
milliliters. Pyrex is a good brand. The larger measures can double as mixing bowls.
Come in sets of four (1 tablespoon, 1 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, and 1/4 teaspoon).
Each 1/4 pound stick of margarine or butter measures 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons. In the United
States, the wrapping usually has tablespoons and teaspoons clearly marked. One stick usually
equals 1/2 cup. If it has not been packed that way, pack margarine or butter into measuring spoon
or measuring cup.
Most sugar can be measured in a graduated measuring cup. Simply spoon it in and level off with
the straight edge of a knife. Most recipes usually call for certain amounts of packed brown sugar.
To measure packed brown sugar, pack sugar down lightly with back of spoon, then level off.
In most recipes, flour is supposed to be measured straight from the canister or package (the flour
needs to be airy, if it seems compact, stir it in the container before measuring it). NEVER pack
flour down into the measuring cup or tap it excessively. Lightly spoon flour into graduated
measuring cus, and level off with straight edge of knife.
It is important to measure flour correctly in low-fat bread making because when we reduce the
fat (which tenderizes it), we don't want to dramatically increase the flour (which toughens it).
Really Detailed Instructions about Measuring Flour
Measuring Flour: Correct Method In order to measure flour correctly, it must be sifted once
before measuring to prevent packing of the flour. Most recipes for baked products assume this,
since sifted flour tends to pack on standing, this sifting process should be performed just prior to
measuring. Estimate the amount of flour which must be sifted for the measurement and sift. To
fill the measuring cup, the flour should be dipped with a tablespoon and placed lightly into the
cup until the cup is heaping full. Excess flour is then removed by moving a straight edge such as
a knife or metal spatula across the top of the heaping cup. It is important at all times during this
process of filing or leveling the cup, not to shake the cup (or tap) since either will cause packing
of the flour.
Thus, the correct technique of measuring flour consists of 3 steps:
(1) Sift the flour
(2) Fill the measuring cup to heaping full
(3) Level cup with a straight-edged spatula
When flour is measured by this method which eliminates packing of the flour as much as
possible, one cup should weigh about 4 ounces or 112 grams. A second method is to sift directly
and evenly into the cup and level off with a straight-edged spatula.
Measuring Flour: Incorrect Method
When flour is measured without sifting but by tapping the measuring cup, additional flour is
needed to fill the cup - the result of packing of the flour. Since the degree of packing cannot be
controlled, measuring flour in this manner will result in variable results. In one case, one cup
measured by this method weighed 173 grams, an increase of 61 grams over the standard
measure. This increase represents an excess of one-half cup of flour in a recipe and would
probably yield a poor quality product.