Baking basics … the importance of measuring
Whether you’re baking biscuits, cooking cake or making muffins, one thing that is crucial to a good result is accurately measuring ingredients. When you think about it, baking is simply chemical reactions between ingredients to produce the desired result. For the chemical reaction to happen, the ratio of ingredients has to be correct and that’s why accurate measurements are important. There’s two main measuring tools used in baking – measuring cups and kitchen scales. Let’s compare the two and share some tips for each.
Measuring cups measure the volume of ingredients. It is important to note that the volume of a cup varies from country to country; for example, 1 cup in Australia is equivalent to 250 mL, while in the UK it is 284.13 mL and in the US it is 236.59 mL. These variations in capacity are important to be aware of when you are baking; so make yourself familiar with the country of origin of the recipe you are following and make adjustments to the cup size. When using measuring cups, you should scoop ingredients into the cup. Don’t tap the cup as it will result in packing which can cause too much of an ingredient to be added. Instead, use the back of a knife to gently level the top of measuring cups.
Digital kitchen scales are excellent for taking the guesswork out of recipes because you can get very accurate measurements. They measure ingredients based on weight which is the most accurate method. Remember to weigh containers (eg: mixing bowl) on kitchen scales and press “tare” to set the numbers to zero before adding ingredients to the container. This will ensure that you are not including the weight of the container in your recipe. Once you have tared the container, add ingredients until the display shows the correct amount. Press the “tare” button again to reset the numbers before adding the next ingredient.
So, the next time you get your bake-on remember to measure ingredients – it can make the difference between a sunken, soggy cake and a perfect light and fluffy sponge.