KITCHEN SCOOP: Measuring Flour
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Measuring out some flour for those cookies you’re baking is simple, right? Maybe not. Alicia Ross has a few baking tips that make for a more accurate recipe, and could save you money in the long run.
1. Always use a dry measure for dry ingredients and liquid measure for liquids. This sounds self explanatory, but it is crucial to correct measuring. If you don’t have a good set of either, buy one! Reliable dry cup measures are under $10 and a set of two or three (1 cup, 2 cup and 4 cup) glass liquid measures are usually under $15 for the whole set. Same goes for a set of measuring spoons. Do not use your tableware for measuring.
2. Always spoon your dry ingredients into your cup measure, using a sifting or shaking motion to lightly sprinkle the dry ingredients into the measure. And swipe away the excess with a smooth edge. Never scoop the ingredient. Especially flour. You can get from ¼ to almost ½ cup too much flour if you “scoop” instead of “spoon and sprinkle.” The exception to this rule for dry ingredients is brown sugars; but follow closely the direction, which should indicate loosely or tightly packed. If it doesn’t specify, go with loosely packed.
3. Do not over mix cakes, cookies, breads or other flour-based items. Over mixing can cause dry, tough and dense results. Most recipes will warn against this and instruct: “just until mixed” or “gently fold” or even give an exact time on the mixing by strokes or in minutes.
4. Make sure your oven is fully preheated before placing the pan in the oven. Changes in temperature can vastly affect the final results.
5. Use an oven temperature gauge / thermometer (easily purchased at kitchen or mart type stores) to make sure what temperature your oven is functioning. Remember just because the “knob” or “numbers” read 400 degrees, the only way to know is with a thermometer. If your oven is off by 25 degrees, consider getting it professionally calibrated.