Butter pieces on a baking table with a bench scraper

Weights and Measures-Accuracy in Baking

Weights and Measures-Grams vs. Cups

Kitchen scale, bowls of flour, sugar, and brown sugar

 

One of the basic principles I learned entering professional baking is weighing ingredients versus measuring them.  You might be asking if it would make much of a difference?? I asked the same question too!  What I learned is weighing ingredients provide some great advantages, I even adapted this method in my home kitchen with many of my recipes.

Advantages of Weighing Ingredients

First, weighing generally provides greater accuracy and ensures the recipe will be consistent when made over and over.   When measuring a cup of flour, there can be some inconsistencies and variables involved when measuring.  Did I fill the measuring cup accurately, perform the dip and sweep method right, or just eyed the level of flour in the measuring cup? Have to admit at times I do this.

Second, it makes the recipes easier to scale up or down.  Let’s say for example you wanted to take half of a recipe that had 1/3 cup.  It is much easier to scale that 1/3 cup in grams then by measuring 1/6 cup.  Also, if you had a recipe that you needed to make (x4) of, having the ingredients in grams would make that super easy to convert.  Lastly, when putting a recipe together by weight, it is much faster to weigh ingredients than measuring as you only need a kitchen scale and no measuring tools.  You can weigh out all the dry ingredients easily in one bowl by simply clearing the scale each time for each dry ingredient you weigh.  

Putting into Practice

When I started my first job as a pastry assistant in fine dining restaurant we primarily used weighing and volume in all ingredients for every recipe we made.  The kitchen scale and I became fast friends and I realized then what a tremendous tool it was in a commercial kitchen, and even in my home kitchen.   I’m so thankful for the digital versions!

Salter Kitchen Scale
                             Still going strong after 10 years

My time working in professional catering is where I really became super comfortable using weight verses measuring.  All of the recipes I made were converted to the metric system and a kitchen scale was a necessity.  I guess it made perfect sense as I worked for a French pastry chef.  I treated myself to what would become a great purchase of a small scale that I used so much at my baking table, that measured everything in ounces and grams.  It was the best tool I could have in that kitchen!  The recipes I made were mostly in great quantities and this allowed for super-fast and efficient production on all fronts.

The Metric System-Fast Friend

So with that, I converted most of my recipes at home to the metric system.  Funny, I never thought back in math class I would ever use the metric system here!   However, knowing most of our baking aspires from French pastry techniques, it makes perfect sense doesn’t it?  Also, I still have my same scale I bought back when I worked in catering that is still with me.  She is almost like a relic, family member, and beloved kitchen tool.  She has taken good care of me!

Another quick note, when I had my home-based baking and cake business, I would make 300-400 cupcakes per order and this technique sure made preparing recipes much faster and more productive. Also, another great tip is you can premeasure the dry ingredients in your cake and cupcake recipes and store them in a sealed plastic container.  They will b ready to use when needed.

Basic Measures for Home

 

Kitchen scale with common baking ingredients

Here is a basic guideline I made for myself with standard baking ingredients to help get started with some of my recipes.

 

1 cup All Purpose flour = 158 grams

1 cup cake flour = 138 grams

1 cup sugar = 216 grams

1 cup brown sugar (packed) = 212 grams

¼ cup cocoa powder = 24 grams

1 egg (large) = 50 grams

1 egg yolk (large) = 19 grams

1 egg white (large) = 33 grams

¼ cup oil = 52 grams

1 tsp baking powder = 5 grams

1 tsp baking soda = 6 grams

1 tsp salt = 6 grams

1 tsp yeast = 3 grams

1 tsp vanilla = 3 grams

1 TBS honey = 20 grams

1 stick butter = 116 grams

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