How to correctly measure a cup of flour (video)

I’m a big baking fan. I like cooking overall, but I love baking.

Chocolate chip cookies are my fav (I use King Arthur’s recipe, it’s to die for – though I add half white-whole-wheat flour, and no one’s the wiser), though I also love gluten-free brownies (my friend David Lebovitz’s recipe), and pumpkin bread (Cook’s recipe, though I replace a good deal of the oil with unsweetened apple sauce, and it’s just as good – I also add chocolate chips to one loaf, and use 100% white-whole-wheat flour, no one can tell).

What I’ve known for a while, but never really practiced, is that the way people typically measure a cup of flour tends to add 20% extra flour to the recipe.

20%.

That’s a lot of extra flour.

If you’re like me, you tend to measure flour by just sticking the measuring cup into the flour, dragging it through, lifting it up, and then slicing it level with a knife.

WRONG.

how-to-measure-a-cup-of-flourYou’re supposed to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into the measuring cup, then level it flat.  The difference?  Doing it the correct way yields around 4.25 ounces. Doing it the wrong way yields around 5.1 ounces of flour.  That’s 20% too much.

And actually, what you’re REALLY supposed to do is simply weigh the flour until you get 4.25 ounces.  But if you can’t weigh it, at least fluff and fill.

Of course, as others have noted in the comments, you’re in a bit of a pickle if you don’t know how the person who wrote the recipe measure their flour.

Here’s a video showing you how to do it, and proving the weight differential:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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