But in this case, weight is the ONLY way to go!
You see, not only is weighing ingredients when you bake actually easier than using measuring cups, it’s cleaner too!
You may think I’m crazy, and maybe that’s true. I mean, what sane person would bake, bake, bake, then also blog about baking? I mean, really, there’s a limit. Not.
The truth is, I no longer need to wash measuring cups. No fussing about whether I should fluff the flour before I pour it into the measuring cup and should I level it off with a knife? No running out of that certain size of measuring cup. I mean, really NO MORE rushing to wash the oil out of a measuring cup so I can measure the flour.
You’d think I’d be taking a more professional approach to telling you about weighing ingredients, talking about the science of baking and why weighing ingredients is best. All professional baking teachers say to weigh ingredients. Fact.
PJ Hamel, blogger and member of the King Arthur Flour staff, says this: “For best success, measure your ingredients with a scale, rather than measuring cups.” Check out her blog here.
Alice Medrich says: “Too much flour is one of the top reasons for tough, hard, dry cookies and cakes that resemble doorstops. Measuring flour with measuring cups is usually the problem: if you ask 5 home cooks to measure a level cup of flour and then weigh each of their results, you will get a range of weights from about 4 ounces to 7 ounces, each supposedly one cup of flour!” Read the rest here.
Now, I listen when Alice talks, always. She owned a great chocolate shop in Berkeley for many years and her chocolate cake-making class on Craftsy is absolutely the best! She solved all of my issues with melting chocolate, so she’s a miracle worker.
And Alice says weigh. Originally, I started weighing my ingredients because that’s what the best of the best say to do. I should mention Rose Levy Beranbaum and her Cake Bible, the industry standard. She pushes using weights, too. Well, not like pushing drugs, but really she highly recommends using weights in your baking.
So all the pros (literally) recommend weighing ingredients, and that’s what they do until they’re so good at their craft that they can eyeball everything. I don’t know how many can do that. I can’t, and I’ve never known anyone who can, but I’ve heard of it.
The bottom line is that weighing ingredients makes a better product. That doesn’t apply to ingredients used in very small amounts in home baking, such as vanilla or salt, but does apply to flour, butter, nuts, oils, sugars, and so on.
What are the steps if you decide to start weighing ingredients? First, you need a scale. Most scales these days will measure either grams or ounces/pounds and you can use either type of measurement. I use grams because there are 28.35 grams in one ounce, so grams are just that much more accurate. But you can use either.
It works well, it’s just a little smaller and when I have a large bowl, I have troubles seeing the read out. Also, the platform is smaller, making it harder to place large items on the scale. Other than those things, it’s a great scale. And, yes, mine is pink, but you have a wide range of colors to choose from. Here’s an Amazon link for it.
So, now you’ve decided to try weighing your ingredients and you have a scale. What’s next???
Well, you have to take every recipe you have and measure normally, using measuring cups. Weigh each ingredient and write down the weight. NOT!
It’s actually easier than this. King Arthur Flour has webpage with an ingredient chart which will tell you how much any ingredient weighs. They’ll tell you per cup in most case so just multiply or divide by the number of cups you need. For instance, flour is 120 grams per cup, so 1½ cups of flour will be 1.5 X 120= 180 grams. Link to the chart: HERE Just note that the chart divides ingredients into “Flour” and “Ingredients”, so if you’re looking up non-flour ingredients, click the “ingredient” button at the top of the chart.
Now that we’ve exhausted the topic of weight, I think I’ll go get a cookie! Just don’t ask me what my weight is!