The Danger of Weight Charts

How to Use Weight Charts

weighing vs measuring

Did the word “danger” grab your attention? Okay so we are not talking about shark attacks or anything that dramatic, but how about when you take the time to shop for ingredients and make a cake from scratch only to get lackluster or horrible results? This is what I call a dessert tragedy.


weighing vs measuring2


There are many reasons why we might not get great end results – oven not calibrated, you substituted ingredients, batter is over worked – the list goes on and on. But let’s take a look at how a recipe is presented and how it is that you actually go about making it. For instance if the recipe says:

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

That is not the same thing as:

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour.

The first is suggesting that you measure the flour, then sift it. The second one, vice versa. These will give you different amounts of flour.

Now let’s say you are following a recipe, like the one’s on Bakepedia, that call for 1 cup all-purpose flour and you decide you want to weigh instead of measure by volume. Maybe you Google a substitution chart or maybe you have one from a baking book. If you use a search engine I assure you that you will find weights telling you that 1 cup of flour is 4 ounces, 4.5 ounces, 5 ounces and even other amounts. How come? Because we measure cups of flour differently. You have to know how the person who developed the recipe measured their flour or you will not have accurate results.

Do not use a chart from one source and apply it to another source.

So, our suggestion is always to make the recipe as described. If the person used weight and tells you their cup of flour weighs 4.5 ounces, then you are good to go as long as you have a scale. If the baker used a dip and sweep method after aerating the dry ingredient, then follow suit. That’s what we do in the Test Kitchen by the way and you can read more here at How to Measure Dry Ingredients.

Not get into the kitchen and bake!



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