I never used a digital kitchen scale until I went to pa […]
I never used a digital kitchen scale until I went to pastry school. Until that point, I had always used measuring cups for everything. Not that I was some great baker. I had very limited knowledge of how to even read a recipe when I decided to attend pastry school. But I knew I wanted to not only make beautiful cakes but I wanted them to taste good too!
Our chef made three simple demonstrations. In the first demonstration, he had three measuring cups in front of him. One filled with water, one with flour and one with chocolate chips. Most people with a little experience baking know that one cup equals 8 ounces right? At least that’s what I thought.
Our chef weighed each cup which revealed that while the cup of water did weigh 8 ounces, the cup of flour only weighed 5 ounces and the cup of chocolate chips weighed 6 ounces. Simply to prove the point that not all ingredients that fill the space of a cup are the same amounts.
one cup of chocolate chips and one cup of flour side by side
So if you see a recipe that says you need 8 ounces of chocolate chips and you think, oh I know how much that is and reach for your cup. You’ve sadly shorted yourself 2 ounces of chocolate which could cause your recipe to fail and you wouldn’t even know why.
In the second demonstration, he asked one of us to come to the front and scoop up some flour any way we thought would be best. The student did as he was instructed and scooped up the flour then leveled it off with his finger. He then weighed the cup of flour. It was 7 ounces! Two full ounces more than what was in the first cup of flour.
Depending on how you scoop, how packed your flour is and how humid the air is (yes even humidity affects the flour), you can have vastly different amounts of flour each time you scoop. Extra flour can definitely change your recipe.
Two cups of flour don't always weigh the same
In the last demonstration, he asked for another volunteer. This student was given a simple recipe for chocolate chip cookies. All the ingredients were in containers in front of them. Flour, butter, sugar, eggs, etc. The student was asked to measure out the recipe as quickly as he could according to the directions using measuring cups and measuring spoons. Meanwhile, the chef prepared the same recipe using a scale.
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