Measurements – Scales & Cups

The volume that a measuring cup holds can vary from brand to brand. This is problematic when precise measurements are required, as in baking.

Nowadays, more and more recipes are providing weight measurements, not only for baking, but also for cooking. Just last week I was following a recipe that called for three medium zucchini. Fortunately, the recipe also noted a weight; they called for two pounds total. Medium is a relative term, open for interpretation. The three “average-sized” zucchini that I had in my kitchen weighed three pounds total (an increase of 50%). This significant difference would have thrown off the amount of seasonings I needed, and resulted in a less than stellar outcome. Providing an ingredient weight in the recipe averted a flop.

I love the reliability of my kitchen scale, and use it daily. They can be found inexpensively at home goods stores. I have tested the Zest Kitchen + Home measuring cups to ensure they hold what most refer to be a “standard cup” of flour, which is 120 grams, so you can be sure your baked goods will come out right. If measuring by cup, make sure to follow the “fluff and scoop” method for flour. That is, fluff up the flour in the bag or your canister using a spoon or a fork, then scoop with a spoon gently into your measuring cup, leveling the top with the flat side of a knife. And if you are following a recipe for a savory dish and need to rely on your judgment of a “medium sized-zucchini”, taste as you go and adjust the seasonings as needed.

One additional note: Complicating matters further, there is the issue of humidity. Flour as an ingredient in particular, can act as a sponge and absorb moisture, making what otherwise would be the same measurement of flour heavier in a moister climate, such as Florida, than say in the high desert of Utah. Even in the same location, seasonal differences may occur, where summers are generally more humid than winters. I wouldn’t sweat it, but it is something to keep in mind while you are gathering your ingredients, no matter if you are using a measuring cup or kitchen scale, and might choose to make slight adjustments accordingly.

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