Accurate measuring of both dry and liquid ingredients is essential for success in baking and, to a lesser extent, in cooking.
Even tiny changes in the proportions of a recipe can cause problems in cakes and cookies. Whether using imperial or metric measures, it is imperative to follow one system throughout the recipe.
• There are basically two types of measuring cups: dry ingredient and liquid ingredient.
Dry ingredient measures come in sets of graduated sizes in both imperial (1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup) and metric (50,75,125 and 250 mL).
Liquid ingredient measuring cups have levels marked on the outside of the glass or plastic cup with enough space below the rim to prevent spills.
• Standard measuring spoons are used for both liquid and dry ingredients. They are also graduated with markings: 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1 tbsp, or 1 mL, 2 mL, 5 mL, 15 mL.
• For dry ingredients, such as all-purpose or whole grain flours, granulated sugar or cornstarch, lightly spoon into a dry measure until heaping, without packing or tapping. Level it off with the straight edge of a knife. For brown sugar, pack it down lightly until it holds the shape of the measure when turned out.
• For liquid ingredients, place the liquid measure on a flat surface. Pour in liquid to the desired level and then bend down so that your eye is level with the measure to check for accuracy.
• For fat ingredients, such as butter, shortening and margarine, cut off desired amount according to convenient package markings. Or press firmly into a dry measure, levelling off the top with the straight edge of a knife.
Use dry measures for sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese and grated or shredded cheese.