Bakeshop measurements

my trusty kitchen scale

A few weeks back, I did a post about pizza that included a recipe for pizza dough. I gave the measurements in various forms, including both in ratios and in weight. I am a big believer of using weight to measure everything in the kitchen, but particularly in the bakeshop. Measuring your ingredients by using weight is far more accurate than by volume measurement.

Take for example 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar. I do this each year with my students as an experiment and to show them why weight is far more accurate. I ask each student to get 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, and then ask them to weigh this brown sugar that they have just measured. Each year its the same thing, no two students have the same amount of brown sugar. Some are close to each other, but it usually ends up with about a 10% difference between the biggest and smallest amounts.

Now, when I ask them to measure 150g of brown sugar, each student has exactly the same amount of sugar; there is no variation.

And the nice thing about using the scale, is that you can measure each ingredient directly into the bowl that you plan to use for mixing your recipe. You can simply add your ingredient, and then hit the “zero” or “tare” button, and reset the scale. It matters not what is in the bowl from that moment, since as far as the scale is concerned, it is starting from 0.

I will make one last comment about scales, and this is to note a limitation. Many scales now include a volume measurement scale, however, this only works with three ingredients; water, milk, and eggs can be measured at 1L=1kg or 1lb=1pt. No other liquids will be accurately measured accurately on a scale using the volume option since they do not have the same density.

Now, I do recognize that some people are more comfortable with volume measurements, such as millilitres and litres or cups and pints. If you do prefer to work with volumes, I would suggest that you have two different types of measuring cups.

liquid measuring cups

The above picture shows measuring cups designed for liquids, which we know because it has a spout designed for pouring the liquids out. These are not ideal for accurate measuring of dry ingredients such as flour or sugar.

dry measurement cups

The above picture shows dry measurement cups. These are designed to measure the most common amounts, and allows the user to scrap across the top to get an accurate measurement of your dry ingredient. It is well worth having both sets of measuring cups in your kitchen.

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