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The Right Way To Measure Flour

- sandoclr/Getty Images
sandoclr/Getty Images

Here’s how to perfect your baked goods.

You’re asked to bring a dessert to the church potluck. You decide on a reliable crowd-pleaser: chocolate chip cookies. You begin the baking process and start combining the dry ingredients in a bowl. When it’s time for the all-purpose flour, how do you add the called-for amount? Do you grab your measuring cup and scoop straight out of the sack? If this is your go-to technique, then it’s time to reevaluate.

Dunking a measuring cup straight into a sack of flour is not the best way to add the accurate amount of the ingredient to the recipe. This method causes flour to pack, loading way more in your measuring cup than the desired amount. One cup of flour weighs 4 ¼ ounces; scooping directly from the sack can add anywhere ½ to 1 ounce more of the ingredient to the measuring cup than needed. Not using the precise measurement of any ingredient (especially flour) can negatively affect the consistency of baked goods—whether erring on the side of too much or too little, this can throw off the whole recipe. Adding the just-right portion achieves the best results.

Don’t panic—correcting this mistake is incredibly easy and takes only a few extra minutes during the preparation process. The most reliable way for getting the correct amount of flour is to measure it on a digital kitchen scale. Investing in this gadget won’t break the bank—most of them cost less than $20 on Amazon.

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But if you’re in a pinch and don’t have a scale handy, there’s still another effective technique for calculating a more accurate measurement. Start by fluffing the flour in its sack or container with a spoon to loosen it up. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup until it’s overflowing. Then level off the top with the back of a butter knife. This way, the flour won’t be packed in the measuring cup, and it will eliminate any air pockets.

WATCH: How to Make the World's Best Buttermilk Biscuits

These foolproof techniques will make a major difference in the taste and texture of your baked goods. Remember these flour-measuring methods the next time you’re whipping up a batch of buttermilk biscuits or a classic Southern pound cake.

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