Must-Haves for Measuring

Must-Haves for Measuring


Carpenters are fond of saying, “Measure twice, cut once” and I say the same holds true in the kitchen where careful measurement can mean the difference between culinary conquest and catastrophe. Here are some of the tools I use to insure against the latter.

Perfect Beaker
This is pretty much the only liquid measuring cup I use. Wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, the perfect beaker is equally easy to read when full or very nearly not. And the indexing around the outside includes pretty much every form of volumetric measurement you could ever need.

Stainless Steel Ruler
There are plenty of baked good recipes out there that call for careful measurement of length, but I use this stainless steel ruler for a lot of other jobs. For instance, if I’m supposed to reduce a pot of a liquid by a third, what better way to calculate than to stick a ruler right down into the pot for a baseline measurement. After all it’s way easier to reduce from four to two inches than to simply guess “by half.”

Push Cups
I have long been a proponent of plunger style measuring vessels because there is simply no device better for volumetrically finagling or dispensing goopy stuff like mayo, shortening and peanut butter.

Scale
I have a rule in the kitchen: If you can weigh it … weigh it. This is especially true of compressible powders like flour. Not only is this OXO model accurate and precise, (there is a difference, but that’s a discussion for another time) the digital display pops out for easy positioning and reading.

Baster
Although it’s more commonly known as a “turkey baster,” this is not the tool I would reach for if I was actually going to baste a turkey, which of course I wouldn’t because basting is evil. What I like this device for is measuring liquid ingredients, especially those I’m attempting to extract from narrow bottles containing bits and pieces I want to leave behind, (think pickle brine or chili oil). What makes this model special is that the tube is indexed in both U.S. and metric volumes.

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  1. 3
    William

    What is an acceptable tolerance for a digital scale. just bought one the other day and tried measuring 7oz. of sugar, and it wouldn’t get to an even 7oz., it would either read 6.98, or 7.02. i’m new to baking using weight, should i get a different one?

  2. 4
    Dee

    So….if we should be using a volumetric weight for compressible ingredients like flours (which I completely agree with) does anyone have a conversion for cups to ounces? Would that vary based on density of the item? I don’t have a single recipe in my arsenal that provides a weight for such ingredients.

    • 5
      David

      Conversions For Ingredients Commonly Used in Baking (Cooks Illustrated)

      Ingredient: 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
      Ounces: 5
      Grams: 142

      Ingredient: 1 Cup Cake Flour
      Ounces: 4
      Grams: 113

      Ingredient: 1 Cup Whole-Wheat Flour
      Ounces: 5 ½
      Grams: 156

      Ingredient: 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
      Ounces: 7
      Grams: 198

      Ingredient: 1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar (light or dark)
      Ounces: 7
      Grams: 198

      Ingredient: 1 Cup Confectioners Sugar
      Ounces: 4
      Grams: 113

      Ingredient: Cocoa Powder
      1 Cup ⅔ Cup
      Ounces: 3.04 2.03
      Grams: 86.11 57.40

      Ingredient: 8 Tablespoons Butter (1 stick, or ½ cup)
      Ounces: 4
      Grams: 113

      • 6
        Philly Girl

        Some of the volume to weight measurements you give are a little off. I suggest using the USDA Foods list. Select the “Standard Reference” and look up the food. It is an excellent reference which I use to convert recipes to weight. For example you give the weight of 1 cup of whole wheat flour is 156 grams. USDA gives the weight as 1 cup of whole wheat flour is 120 grams. I have been using the 120 grams per cup to convert bread recipes for a bread machine for years, and that weight is spot on. At 156 grams per cup I would be producing tasty bricks of bread

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