Flour is used in most baking including brownies
When it comes to baking, how you prepare the ingredients is equally important as the recipe you are using. You’ve probably experienced stumbling upon a cookie or brownie recipe online that has a lot of good reviews. And like most people, you followed the recipe. Unfortunately, your yield did not taste and look as good as what is described on the website. You’re very sure that you used the right ingredients, and didn’t substitute anything for something. So you asked – what went wrong?
Often, the recipe and the ingredients are not the ones to blame, but how you measure them, especially the flour.
Flour is a staple to almost every baked good, from cakes to brownies, cookies, pies, tarts and so much more. It plays a central role in leavening the confection and getting all the ingredients together. So having the right amount of flour in every recipe is indispensable.
Incorrect measuring of flour can have a huge impact on the taste and texture of your baked good. Too much flour, for instance, can result to drier, tougher brownies and cakes. While two little flour can cause your baked good to collapse when it comes out of the oven.
So how do you measure flour? Fortunately, you don’t have to take a crash course in baking or pastry production just to learn how to measure flour like professional bakers do. There are just two ways to measure it – use a weighing scale or use a measuring cup.
Using a scale
This is the most accurate and easiest way of measuring flour and other ingredients. You simply spoon the flour on the bowl of your weighing scale and presto – you know you are doing the right thing. You should, however, be familiar with the standard weights of flour. And remember, it differs depending on the flour you are using.
So get a pen and paper and copy these (it helps to memorise them):
1 cup All-purpose flour = 4.25 ounces
1 cup cake flour = 4 ounces
1 cup bread flour = 4.25 ounces
Now, what if you don’t have a weighing scale at home or what if your kitchen scale suddenly stopped working? For times like this, it is really an advantage to know how to use measuring cups for flour.
Using measuring cups
A popular way of measuring flour is by dipping, scooping and levelling it using a standard measuring cup. Unfortunately, this isn’t the right way. Why? Because this technique is likely to give you 25% more flour than what the recipe calls for. This excess is way too much and can greatly affect the texture of your pastry and make it heavy and tough.
To measure flour correctly, you will need a standard measuring cup, a spoon and a leveller (probably a knife or a flat-end icing spatula).
Using a spoon, lightly scoop flour from its container into your measuring cup. Continue until the flour is overflowing. Do not shake or tap your cup. Just hold it gently and still. Do not use the spoon to pack the flour down into the cup.
Hold the cup with the flour in your left hand. Then, using the back side of your knife, level the flour to remove the excess. And that’s it! You have just the right amount of flour you need. You can now transfer your flour in a bowl and proceed to preparing all the other ingredients.