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How to Measure Flour

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today, we're discussing the right way to measure flour.

Measuring flour

Okay, stop rolling your eyes. I've been measuring flour my entire life, you're probably thinking. It's basic. It's easy. It's delightfully self-explanatory.

Turns out there are many ways to do it -- and ways to do it better.

A cup of flour should be equal to 4.5 ounces. The best way to measure this, of course, is to simply weigh it. But if you don't have a kitchen scale -- or don't feel like taking it out -- here is the best way to measure it:

• Aerate your flour. This can be done with a whisk (like Amanda) or a simple spoon.

Aerating flour

• Spoon the aerated flour into your measuring cup, overfilling it past the brim.

Spooning flour

• Sweep off the excess flour with a straight edge.

Sweeping flour

A cup measured this way is 4.5 ounces -- the correct measurement. (No wonder King Arthur FlourFine Cooking, Saveur, and Martha Stewart all share this technique.)

The dump-and-sweep method -- the method in which you dunk your measuring cup into your flour, and sweep it off with a straight edge -- leads to an over-packed cup. In fact, a cup of flour measured this way can weigh up to 6 ounces: a marked difference, especially if a recipe calls for more than one cup of flour.

If you've ever followed a recipe perfectly, and your results were too crumbly, too dense, or too dry, this may be why.

Guess measuring flour isn't so eye-rollingly simple, after all!

Tags: Tips & Techniques, DIY Food, How-To & Diy, Kitchen Confidence