Measuring Flour–The Right Way
It seems like such a simple thing. Scoop the flour into a measuring cup and dump it into your baking bowl.
Here’s the real skinny: If you measure flour by just scooping, you will have too much flour in your recipe, and your final baked product will be heavy and dry.
There is an easy way to make sure that your baked goods look and taste like the photo and description, with the texture the recipe’s author intended.
There’s a measuring technique known as “dip, level, pour”. That means to scoop the flour into a flat-topped dry measuring cup till it’s slightly mounded at the top, level off the top with a flat edge, like a knife or spoon handle, and then pour the flour into your mixing bowl.
- Gravity and time have a way of condensing the flour in its container. In order to have this measurement come out right, you need to stir up (aerate) the flour first! Stir the flour in its container so that it’s no longer densely packed down, then go ahead and gently dip, level, and pour. This will ensure that you don’t pack too much flour into your scoop.
A second measuring technique is to use a spoon to scoop the flour into the flat-topped measuring cup, and then level it off. There is less chance that way of excess flour being jammed into the bottom of the measuring cup.
- While less likely to give you too much flour, this method, too, will benefit from aerating the flour. Stir the flour in the container first, to get some air into it.
Pay attention to the recipe, as it will often tell you which measuring method to use. If no method is specified, it’s safer to use the second method, spooning the flour into the cup.
One other thing. Unless the recipe tells you to—and I’ve never seen one that does—don’t sift the flour before you measure it. Sifting is NOT the same as stirring, and if you try to aerate the flour that way and then measure, you will end up with too LITTLE flour in your batter or dough.
Bottom line: Packed flour=BAD.
Aerated flour=JUST RIGHT.
“Stir it up, little darlin’, stir it up.”