ABCs of Baking: M for Measurements

If I’ve taught you anything by now, it’s that baking is a science and precise measurement is key to a successful chemistry experiment. At Milk Jar, we say that “every gram matters,” which brings me to my first point.

There are 2 ways to measure ingredients: by volume and by weight. Let’s talk about volume first. 

Most recipes in North America are written in volume measurements, calling for cups and teaspoons of ingredients. One question many people ask is “What’s the difference between dry measuring cups and liquid measuring cups. The measurements are exactly the same, they are just designed to make measuring their respective ingredients easier. The volume of a dry measuring cup is exact when you fill it up and level it off. This would be tough to do with liquid ingredients and not spill them, so necessity was the mother of this invention. Liquid measuring cups include a handle and a pour spout, as well as extra space making it easier to measure precisely AND get all of it into your mixing bowl. And, they are often made of glass, allowing you to heat the ingredients if needed. Another common question I get is which is which when they see a lowercase and uppercase T in a recipe. The lowercase is a teaspoon and uppercase is a tablespoon. It’s easy to remember if you just think the smaller t is the smaller measurement. 

If done carefully, volume measuring is precise enough for successful at-home baking. 

Which brings me to Weight measurements. Measuring by weight is the most exact way to measure, which is why it’s the professionals’ chosen method. Even though the US is not on the metric system, the unit of measure used is grams. This is because ounces can be both a volume and a weight unit of measure, but I digress. To accurately measure by weight, you’ll want to get a digital food scale, which you can get for under $30. After you turn the scale on, make sure it’s weighing in grams, place your empty vessel on the scale, and hit the Tare button. That’s a very important step so that your scale is at zero and not including the weight of your vessel in the shown weight. Then, add your ingredients. If adding more than one ingredient to the same bowl, tare after each ingredient before adding the next one. 

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