There are a lot of things that contribute to cooking and baking success - some of the most important have to do with measuring. Here are some invaluable tips for measuring ingredients accurately.
Glossary of Terms for Measuring Ingredients
You may come across a few terms besides cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons when measuring. This glossary should help:
Dash – A dash is about 2 drops of a liquid or ⅛ teaspoon of a dry ingredient.
Lightly packed – Fill the measuring cup up with the ingredient and then press down gently – the ingredient will not hold its shape when it is turned out from the cup.
Firmly packed – Fill the cup and then press firmly. The ingredient will hold the shape of the cup when turned out of it.
Glug – Often used in old recipes, a glug is the sound that a liquid makes when it comes out of a bottle. One glug means to stop pouring when you hear that first “glug” sound, two would allow for two glugs, etc.
Heaping – A heaping teaspoonful or cupful is one that is rounded on the top and overflowing. You don’t level off the ingredients.
Pinch – As much as will fit between your index finger and thumb.
Scant – A scant cup of something means to make it slightly less than the full cup.
Tips for Measuring
While measuring ingredients isn't difficult there are a few things that can be challenging to the novice cook. Here are some tips to help you measure like a professional chef.
- Always measure the oil before measuring syrups or honey. The thick syrup will slide right out. If your recipe doesn't call for oil you can still either spray the measuring cup with nonstick spray or oil it lightly.
- Don’t measure over your mixing bowl. If a little extra falls out of your cup the proportions can be off. Measure over a clean bowl and pour any excess back into the bin or container.
- Measure butter by the lines on the outside of the wrapper. 1 line equals 1 tablespoon and 1 stick equals one half a cup.
- Measure shortening and lard by packing it into the measuring cup. Be sure to press out any air pockets each time you add a spoonful of shortening (or lard) to the cup. It should hold its shape when turned out.
- Shredded cheese, coconut, chopped nuts, fresh herbs, and chopped vegetables are most often lightly packed into the measuring cup.
- Brown sugar is most often firmly packed into the measuring cup.
- Measure flour by spooning lightly into the cup and not shaking or packing it down in any way. Level the top off lightly.
- Measure sifted flour by placing the measuring cup in a large, clean bowl and sifting flour into the measuring cup until it is full. Level it off lightly. Pour any unused flour back into the container.
You may also want to take a look at Essentials for Success