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Is There Value in Measuring by Volume?

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There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Is it time to toss our measuring cups?

Baking with Weight vs Volume, from Food52

We're pretty attached to our measuring cups. We have a drawer full in our new kitchen, and Brette has waxed poetic about them: "Measuring cups and spoons, sure, are one of the most essential items in a kitchen. They’re what this website is based on; they’re the building blocks of cookbooks and magazines; they’re how recipes are spread around the globe, through generations, across cultures and divides...Measuring utensils – and the quiet, respectful disregard of them – are what make cooking fun."

Even though we know a cup of flour weighs 4.5 ounces, we've perfected how to measure flour correctly without weighing it. Not every kitchen has a scale, and even when we do have access to a scale, somehow it doesn't feel right to be so precise with grandma's chocolate chip recipe. But giving up precision can come at a cost. Despite following proper procedure (spooning aerated flour into a measuring cup and sweeping off the excess), you still won't always end up with exactly 4.5 ounces, and slight differences can have a big impact on your baked goods. This doesn't just apply to flour -- extra ounces of any ingredient can throw off your results. As a result of this issue, this week on the Hotlinefionula shared a decision to convert to baking by weight rather than volume, and is now questioning what advantage -- if any -- there is to using volume measurements.

Are we just hanging on to measuring cups for nostalgia's sake? SeaJambon says: “I have a large bookcase full of cookbooks that use volume measures. I love and cherish way too many recipes in them to toss, and it is way too time consuming to make the conversions myself.”

Maedl says: "I switched to weighing ingredients years ago. It is more accurate, so results are more consistent. I also find it easier to measure using a scale rather than by trying to use cup measures. It doesn't mean tossing out old cookbooks -- you just learn what the weight equivalents are and carry on."

Are there advantages to baking with volume? Should we all toss our measuring cups and go buy scales? (While we’re at it, should we go all in and convert to the metric system too?) We can't wait for you to weigh in. Add your two cents to the question on the Hotline here or continue the conversation in the comments below!

Tags: hotline question of the week, hotline, question, best question, your burning questions, baking, volume, weight, how-to & diy

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