Once you get the hang of certain baking and cooking recipes, you might be able to eyeball most of the ingredients. However, even professional chefs need accurate measurements for the most delicious results, so let’s not be too confident in this area. Dry ingredients are especially important, so we need the right tools for measuring them. Here’s some more detail on why measuring ingredients is so necessary.
It’s even more important to measure the dry ingredients correctly while you’re baking. Think of baking as a kind of chemistry experiment; the ratios have to be just right, or the whole thing could go to waste. Too little flour, you lose the structure in your cake. Too much, and you get a tough, dry result.
However, even the usual set of measuring cups might not be the ideal choice when it comes to dry ingredients. The perfect tools for such components of your baking would vary according to your requirements. Let’s discuss this in more detail below:
A Digital Scale
We cannot emphasize the importance of digital scales if you really want to get your measurements accurate. With the technology we have at our fingertips, it’s fairly easy to convert the ingredients for any recipes into grams and ounces instead of cups and spoons. If you can splurge a little, getting a decent scale for your kitchen could be the best investment you’ve ever made.
A kitchen scale will also help you in doubling or halving recipes where required. It can also be of great assistance when you’re making something like a pound cake. The standard recipe for this is to use the same volume for each ingredient. The components here are usually flour, eggs, milk, etc. With the kitchen scale on the job, it’ll be a breeze to measure out just the right volumes and get the perfect cake each time.
What’s even better is that a digital scale will help you keep control of your dietary intake. If you’ve allowed yourself no more than four ounces of a certain seasoning, spice, or any other food item, the scale can help you measure everything carefully. This is just one of the little tricks that complement your diet and workout routine.
This OXO Scale with Pull-Out Display is probably one of the best tools you can buy for measuring dry (and wet) ingredients in your kitchen. You may have to use a bowl of sorts for the wet ingredients, but the dry ones won’t need any additional equipment. Plus, having such a scale will also save you from dirtying a whole set of cups and spoons for just one recipe.
Getting the hang of a digital scale might be challenging at first, but you’d soon get into the habit. What’s more, a scale like this will also help to save you some money. The healthiest chocolate for your baked dessert is likely quite expensive as well. When you measure it out accurately with a scale, you’d probably make the chocolate last as much as possible.
A Set of Measuring Spoons
Measuring spoons actually come in several different shapes and sizes. You can get them in a square or round shape, or go for a trowel-like scoop for the larger measurements. Some options also have a little sliding apparatus at the top of every spoon, so you can easily level off the dry ingredient before putting it in the mixing bowl. This increases the accuracy and will probably save your hands from getting too dirty while baking.
The material for the perfect measuring spoon set might also vary according to your preferences. Many might be content with regular plastic, while others may go for the aesthetic of copper measuring spoons. Other options like stainless steel or a mixture of plastic and metal are also available.
In theory, we could very well start baking with just a coffee cup and regular spoons for measuring our dry ingredients. This will hardly guarantee a decent outcome, though, so invest in a set like these OXO Rectangular Measuring Spoons as soon as possible. These have plastic handles for easy holding but stables steel heads so that your food doesn’t come into contact with plastic.
These spoons are also graduated, which is a must-have when you’re looking for the best measuring spoon set. Spoons are also standardized measurement units, so you’d have to take care of their accuracy as well.
Dry Measuring Cups
Yes, there’s a difference between dry and wet measuring cups. Wet measuring cups are usually larger, but let’s focus on the ones that measure dry ingredients first.
You can fill these cups in several ways, such as scooping, spooning, and sifting. Interestingly, the method you use will directly affect how much of each ingredient you get in the cup. For instance, scooping with a light hand will get you a lower weight than with a heavy hand. The difference could be as much as a few ounces, which is quite serious when you’re baking.
If you’re on the lookout for a nice set of dry measuring cups, check out these Norpro Stainless Steel Dry Measuring Cups. Dipping and sweeping is usually the best method with such cups. This involves dipping the required cup in the container and then lifting it out. The cup should be piled high with the ingredient, whether it’s flour, cocoa powder, or anything else.
The excess should fall back into the container. You can then use a chopstick or butter knife to level it off. The cup should then have a flat surface equal to its brim.
Be warned, though; dry measures are quite inaccurate due to their compressibility. If you pack in the cup of flour, you’re going to get a lot more than with the sweeping method we’ve discussed above. This goes for any type of flour–cake, bread, or all-purpose. If you’re sifting the flour into the bowl, the resulting powder will be fine and airy. This could result in the cup filling much more quickly, so you might get as little as half of the scooped cup.
Make sure to read the recipe carefully and see whether it calls for a packed cup or gives details about the weight required. Either of these details will give you more insight into how you should start measuring. The recipe should give you an equivalency chart, at the very least. If it doesn’t, you may have to conduct a bit more research before lighting that oven.
There are several types of measurements we can use for dry ingredients. Some recipes call for cups, while others may list their ingredients in terms of teaspoons, tablespoons, or pinches. If you want to stay on the safe side and follow the recipe just as it is, keep a close eye while measuring your dry ingredients.
Above all, it’s usually best to do all your scooping and ladling yourself, as everyone has a different hand when it comes to measuring out ingredients. Use that digital scale every time, and you’d likely stay on safe ground. If you do have measuring spoons and cups, fill them up and put them on the scale as well. Eliminate the weight of the tool, and you’ve got an accurate weight.