The Proper Way to Measure Flour

How (Not) to Measure Flour
How (Not) to Measure Flour. Linda Larsen
  • 01 of 08

    The Importance of Measuring Flour Accurately

    We may not realize it, but most of the time we are probably measuring flour incorrectly. In cooking and baking (perhaps more importantly in baking) it is critical that the exact amount of flour cited in the recipe is what we are actually adding. Otherwise, we end up with dry cakes, chewy brownies and crumbly cookies. Depending on which technique you use to measure your flour, you may be adding in too much.

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  • 02 of 08

    The Wrong Way to Measure Flour

    How (Not) to Measure Flour
    How (Not) to Measure Flour. Linda Larsen

    Measuring flour incorrectly is one of the most common mistakes people make in baking and cooking. At the University of Minnesota, they conducted experiments where they learned that the biggest variable in every recipe is the cook. So standardizing measuring techniques is the most important way to ensure that a recipe works.

    This is the wrong way to measure flour: scooping flour from the container or bag directly with the measuring cup. This method will pack the flour into the cup and you'll...MORE end up with too much flour--even with a properly leveled top.

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  • 03 of 08

    The Weight is the Proof

    How (Not) to Measure Flour
    How (Not) to Measure Flour. Linda Larsen

    A cup of all-purpose flour properly measured should weigh 125 grams. As you can see, the flour measured incorrectly by dipping the measuring cup into the flour weighs 150 grams. This is 20% more flour than the recipe calls for. A cookie or cake made with this much flour will be tough and dry. Sauces will be too thick, and pie crusts will be crumbly and dry.

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  • 04 of 08

    Measuring Flour Correctly

    How to Measure Flour Step 1
    How to Measure Flour Step 1. Linda Larsen

    To measure flour correctly, you will need calibrated measuring cups made for measuring dry ingredients. Do not use a coffee cup or drinking glass. If the flour has been sitting in the container for a while, stir to loosen it.  Lightly spoon the flour directly into the measuring cup from the container or bag. Do not shake the cup and do not pack down the flour.

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  • 05 of 08

    Continue to Spoon

    How to Measure Flour Step 2
    How to Measure Flour Step 2. Linda Larsen

    Keep spooning the flour into the cup until it mounds well above the top of the measuring cup. Do not shake the cup and don't use the spoon to pack the flour down into the cup. Also, don't tap the cup with the spoon.

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  • 06 of 08

    Level Off the Top

    How to Measure Flour Step 3
    How to Measure Flour Step 3. Linda Larsen

    Using a dinner knife, turn it so the non-serrated side is facing the flour. Hold the measuring cup with the flour in one hand, and start sweeping the knife over the top of the cup to remove the excess flour.

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  • 07 of 08

    Keep Leveling

    How to Measure Flour Step 4
    How to Measure Flour Step 4. Linda Larsen

    You'll probably need to pass the knife over the measuring cup a few times to get a level surface. Do not shake the cup, tap the cup with the knife or pack the flour down.

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  • 08 of 08

    Weight of Properly Measured Flour

    How to Measure Flour Step 5
    How to Measure Flour Step 5. Linda Larsen

    As you can see, the properly measured flour weighs 125 grams. That's an accurate measurement, and the recipe will be perfect. If you are new to this baking skill, you may want to practice a few times to see how much flour you scoop into the cup. There are "light scoopers" and "heavy scoopers" among bakers. As long as you are within 5 grams, the measurement will be accurate enough for good results.

    Other flours weigh different amounts. For the most accurate baking, you can...MORE weigh flour instead of measuring it. But with some practice, your flour measuring skills will become quite precise.