Weight or measures?

Discussion in 'Baker Banter' started by Queen.B, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Queen.B

    Queen.B New Member

    Jan 10, 2018
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    I have recently started weighing my flour for baking recipes, as i've heard that professionals only weigh. I previously used the spoon & level method, which was always better than the scoop method, which from what i read, is a BIG no-no.
    But i'm finding the standards for say 1 C of flour, varies in different reference resources.
    I've read that 1 C can equal, 120 gr, 135 gr, & 140 gr....
    also, when i weigh the flour, it's way more than the standard measuring Cup....should i follow each baking recipe as it's printed instead of weighing the flour?
    Queen.B, Jan 10, 2018
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  2. Queen.B

    Apocalypso Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2017
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    Just as measuring with cups can yield a variety of results due to the packing of contents, there are differences in types and brands of flour. Not forgetting, flour is milled from wheat, and there are varieties and blends of wheat, and different milling types. Plus, bleached/unbleached, enriched/unenriched... also, if you're using recipes from elsewhere in the world, the flours will likely be a bit different.

    Start with checking your flour source on the bag (if you tossed the bag, check in the supermarket or its web site) what the weight per cup should be. King Arthur Flour has some pretty precise weights for all its varieties of flour on its site: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/ingredient-weight-chart.html

    In general, I'm seeing mostly a range between 120 and 130g depending on whether all-purpose or whole wheat or bread flour, so if you're seeing 140, that seems unusual.

    Swans Down cake flour (https://www.swansdown.com/about) says it's 28g per 1/4 cup, or 112g per cup, and that's on the low side. I have been using White Lily, a flour common in the US Southeast, which is made from a softer winter wheat. While I have AP flour in one container, I have White Lily's self-raising flour in another, and it works pretty well in the UK recipes I'm copying off YouTube (Cupcake Jemma's for instance.) I was making my own self-raising by adding the leavening separately, which you can do too. White Lily isn't as light as the Swans Down cake flour, but my cupcakes come out basically the way I want them in Jemma's standard base of 125g each SR flour, butter, castor (or extrafine) sugar and 2 eggs for a dozen cupcakes (plus whatever flavorings.)

    BTW some of the tables online contain the line that "King Arthur says all flour types weigh 4 oz (113 g) per cup" - but by their own web site this is demonstrably untrue. I don't know where that came from but some of these sites appear to have copied the info from each other which is why I started looking at the actual flour companies' sites.

    In general, the more you can know about the flour the recipe intended (usually they'll state all-purpose, cake, whole wheat, bread, etc, but sometimes in their ingredient notes in a cookbook they may mention what brands they prefer) and the flour you have (from the label), the better. I still find that from recipe to recipe, especially in breads, I may have to add more or less flour. Not forgetting that ingredients like butter (in enriched breads) can also vary in their water/fat content.

    I've loved adapting to scales -- far fewer things to wash and guesses as to whether I scooped the flour, or packed the brown sugar, precisely right. I do still use some recipes that require cups, but you can also consider, if you have Microsoft Excel for example, making a set of tables that would convert recipes from cups to grams. I also have one now-standby cake roll recipe (just five ingredients) in Excel so that if I wanted to make it bigger or smaller, I can convert based on the number of whole eggs (before separating.) The original recipe called for five eggs, but the resulting cake is kind of thick for my preference in a roll, so I often make it with four eggs, and each ingredient in grams is easy to calculate out (essentially x 4/5) around the egg count. That would be hairy to do around cups and tablespoons, like when you get those "one cup plus two tablespoons" of flour in some recipes.
    Now when I'm searching for recipes online, if I find them metric AND in US-available components, I'm more likely to try that one.

    Snapshot I'm attaching is from the White Lily web site, same as would be on the bag with nutritional info below. It shows that the "enriched, self-rising flour" contains ingredients in addition to flour (natch) and the weight per serving size, in this case a quarter-cup, so you can multiply by four to figure out the weight per cup.

    Attached Files:

    Apocalypso, Jan 11, 2018
    -Daniel- likes this.
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  3. Queen.B

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2017
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    Northern California
    I convert all my recipes to metric weight and baker’s percentages. I refuse to use volume measurements. Not only is it extremely in accurate but it’s impossible to scale a recipe written in volume measurements. You also cannot get consistent results using volume measurement.

    The volume method used will tell you how many grams per cup.

    For All Purpose Flour and Bread Flour

    Spoon and level 120 g = 1 cup

    Used by
    • Sally’s Baking Addition
    • Handle the Heat


    Dip and level 140 g = 1 cup

    Used by:
    • Ina Garten
    • Joy of Baking


    Weights used by some of the popular recipe developers
    • King Arthur Flour 120 g = 1 cup
    • Smitten Kitchen 126 g - 130 g = 1 cup
    • Dorie Greenspan 136 g = 1 cup
    • America’s Test Kitchen, Serious Eats, Chris Kimball, Stella Parks 140 g = 1 cup
    • Anna Olsen 150 g = 1 Cup

    Cake flour I use 115g = 1 cup

    Sugar I use 200g = 1 cup

    Unfortunately you can’t use the package serving size to determine weight for a recipe. What the manufacturer established as the weight of a cup of their flour is not necessary what the recipe developers used.

    Most food bloggers will respond to questions left in their comments section. I simply asked the method they used to measure their flour. I also ask the brand flour used.

    If i cannot get the measurement method, I use 130g per cup of flour. Most recipe developers use either 120g or 140g. So 130g splits the difference. I think of it as the safety zone.

    The brand of flour is also very important. Different brands use different varieties of wheat. So they contain different levels of protein. Gold medal and Pillsbury brands contain about 10% protein. King Arthur flour has 11.7% protein. Treatment also affects performance. King Arthur flour is unbleached, so it will produce a coarser and heavier texture. For sugar cookies, pie crust, muffins, quick breads, i perfer the lower protein flours. For goods like chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies, croissants, rolls, biscotti, and focaccia I perfer the higher protein flours.

    Also after a while you begin to convert measurements mentally. It becomes second nature.
    Norcalbaker59, Jan 12, 2018
    Random and -Daniel- like this.
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