Proper measuring techniques are important for successful cooking and baking. Here are a few tips to help ensure your success in the kitchen.
The Right Tool for the Job
Be sure to use proper measuring utensils for measuring – graduated individual measuring cups for dry ingredients, a glass measuring cup for liquids, and measuring spoons. Having the proper measuring tools is sometimes essential for a recipe to turn out right.
Different recipes sometime require different methods of measuring an ingredient. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of almonds, ground, this means that you should measure out 1 cup of whole almonds and then grind them. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of ground almonds, this means that you should grind the almonds first and then measure out 1 cup.
If the preparation method is stated after a comma, it is an indication that the ingredient should be measured and then prepared. If there is no comma, the ingredient should be prepared before it is measured.
To correctly measure flour or other dry, powdery ingredients, use a spoon to scoop the ingredient into the exact size measuring cup. Do not shake or tap the measuring cup on the countertop as this will compact the ingredient and affect the final measurement. Keep scooping the ingredients until the measuring cup is overflowing. Using the back of a knife, level off the ingredient until it is even with the top of the cup.
To measure other dry, but less powdery, ingredients, such as rolled oats or breadcrumbs, pour or scoop the ingredient into the measuring cup and level off with the back of a knife.
To measure liquids, use a glass measuring cup with graduated markings on the side. Place the cup on a level surface and pour the liquid into the cup. Check to make sure you have the exact amount by viewing the measuring line at eye level.
Ingredients like honey, nut butter, or applesauce should be in measuring cups intended for dry ingredients as they are not fluid enough to be measured in a glass measuring cup intended for liquids.
When measuring a sticky food like honey, coating the inside of the measuring cup with oil will help the honey slide out of the measuring cup easier.
Some recipes call for special steps to ensure that the correct amount of an ingredient is used. For example, a recipe may call for 1 teaspoon of salt, scant. What does this mean? Check out the list of special instruction terms below.
Level or even means that the ingredient is placed (somewhat heaped) in the exact measuring utensil needed and then scraped straight across the top edge of the utensil with the back of a knife or other straight tool to remove any of the ingredient that is above the top edge of the utensil.
When a recipe calls for an ingredient to be firmly packed, it should be tightly pressed into the measuring utensil to fit as much as the ingredient as possible in the utensil but still not be above the top edge of the utensil.
Heaped means that as much as possible of the ingredient is placed into the measuring utensil and then piled above the top edge of the utensil. Heaped is slightly more than rounded.
This measurement is not very precise.
When a recipe calls for an ingredient to be lightly packed, it should be lightly pressed into the measuring utensil.
When an ingredient is rounded in a utensil, it is not leveled, but instead rounded on top. Rounded is slightly less than heaped and slightly more than leveled.
This measurement is not very precise.
Scant means that the measuring utensil isn’t quite filled to the top. Instead, just slightly less than the required amount is used.
When a recipe calls for an ingredient to be sifted, it should be put through a flour sifter or a fine sieve so that it is light and airy.