How To Measure Ingredients Correctly
Baking Is A Science
The members of my online baking class (at keikos-cake.com) come from all over the world. We have pastry friends from the US, UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia… and many other countries.
When I list the ingredients for a recipe, I must be sure that members in all countries will use the same amounts of ingredients as I do here in Germany.
With "same amounts", I mean the same proportions of weight.
Baking is a combination of chemistry and physics. It's a lot like science.
Baking a cake gives the same results when the same ingredients and amounts are used, under the same conditions, following the same steps.
That's great because it enables me to show you how to make perfect cakes, no matter where you live. There’s no guesswork.
And it all starts with measuring ingredients. I list the amounts in my recipes in units of weight: grams and ounces. In some countries, ingredients are also measured in units of volume like cups or liter.
Let’s see if that’s a good idea...
1. Measuring Dry Ingredients
I sometimes get emails from pastry fans who ask me to provide the amounts in 'US measurements' (meaning 'cups' and 'eggs').
'Cups' measure the volume of an ingredient. In baking, it's important to use the same weights to get the same results.
Now, that would be no problem as long as the following is true (I choose sugar as an example):
"One cup of sugar always weighs the same." — True? (yes/no)
Is that true? What do you think?
Let’s check... (watch the video):
How is it possible that one cup (or glass) of sugar weighs 17% less than another cup of sugar?
The reason here is the slightly different grain size. Each brand of sugar has a different grain size, so a 'cup of sugar' is different for each brand. That means, if I would list the amounts in my recipes in 'cups', you would only get the correct proportions if you use the exact same brands that I use. That's not practicable with pastry friends living in all parts of the world...
Always measure dry ingredients in units of weight (grams, ounces).
That's the reason why a scale is the second most important tool for a serious baker (the most important tool is the oven). A scale is cheap and solves all problems related to measuring ingredients.
This is the scale that I use in the video.
2. Measuring Eggs
Eggs come in many different sizes. HERE is a short list of "egg sizes" in different countries.
According to that list, an egg that weighs 62 grams is called:
And even within one weight range, egg weights can differ 16% and more. For example, a European "medium" egg can weigh anywhere from 53g to 62g.
Can you make a perfect souffle using 16% too much (or too few) egg white?
No, that's impossible. Making a perfect souffle (and many other treats) becomes a game of pure chance if you only count the number of eggs.
Always measure egg in units of weight (grams, ounces).
The video shows how to do it correctly...
3. Measuring Liquids
Liquids can be measured in units of volume (ml) or weight (g, oz).
For liquids, it's usually true that same volumes of liquid have the same weight.
In my recipes, I mostly measure the liquid ingredients in units of weight (g, oz.) and not volume (ml). It's just a lot easier to measure for example 127 g water with a scale than it is to measure 127 ml of water with a measuring cup.
However, you can always just exchange grams with ml. For example, if a recipe asks for 100 g water, you can measure 100 ml of water with a measuring cup, instead.
This also works for milk and heavy cream. They have a slightly different density than water, but the difference is so small that it doesn't matter (example: heavy cream with 35% fat has a density of 1.004 kg/l which is practically the same as water).
4. Different Pan Size
When you use a different pan size than mentioned in the original recipe, you will need to adapt the amounts of all ingredients. If your cake pan is bigger, you will need more ingredients. If your pan is smaller, you can use less.
To calculate the correct conversion factor use the Pan Conversion Tool (click):
It works for round and rectangular cake shapes. Just follow the instructions on the page.
It should be clear by now that the serious baker measures ingredients with a scale. 🙂
However, if you need to convert amounts from cups to grams or vice versa, you need a good conversion tool.
One of the best I've found online is THIS.
It converts just about everything. 🙂
However, I highly recommend you use recipes that list ingredients in amounts of weight and not volume. Then use a scale and you won't need to convert anything.
Now it's your turn!
Using a scale and measuring ingredients accurately is an easy way to improve your baking. Suddenly, you get consistent results and you can reliable use recipes from all over the world. 🙂
Do you already use a scale in your kitchen?
Or do you plan to get one?