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How to Measure Flour Correctly

How to measure flour correctly in cup measurements. Avoid over measuring by up to 30% or more for perfect baking.
Stock photo od a wooden scoop in flour

How to Measure Flour Correctly, for perfect baking results.

Perhaps nothing in baking is more important than measuring the flour correctly and precisely. Many baking pitfalls start right there.

One of the most common comments I get from readers who try bread recipes in particular, is that the dough is too dry or didn’t rise enough or too slowly in the proofing stage. The reason is often over measuring the flour.

When I recently posted an incredibly easy way to make No Knead Bread, the questions and comments came again. I decided it was time to talk about best practices when it comes to measuring this most common baking ingredient.

No Knead bread sliced with butter and strawberry jam on it

No Knead Bread. A perfect start to the morning.

The difference is real.

Cooking is different than baking. Many non-baking recipes have a little wiggle room to make adjustments. A little more of this, less of that, or even sometimes leave an ingredient out altogether, many recipes can be quite forgiving.

Baking is not like that.

Baking is precise, but our North American volume/cup measurements often are not. Many of our followers from the UK, Europe and other parts of the world, weigh all of the ingredients in baking, which is far more precise and leaves little room for error.

Why we did not follow along with that system here in North America confounds me. It confounds our readers outside North America as well, as I have heard from them many times over the years of writing this blog.

How to measure flour correctly is important.

Why is measuring method important? The photo below demonstrates how wildly different the weights of a cup of flour can be.

How to Measure Flour Correctly. Two photo collage showing the weight of a cup of flour measured two different ways.

How you measure flour is important. It can result in mis-measurement of up to 34%.

The cup of flour on the right was scooped directly out of the bag or flour container and levelled with the back of a knife. The cup of flour on the left was spooned into the cup and then levelled with the back of a knife. 

The difference in weight is actually 34%. So if you are measuring flour by scooping it, you are compressing in the flour in the cup.

This is often compounded by many who press the top of the measuring cup against the bag or container they are scooping it from. Yes, that can make the process a little less messy, but you may be adding up to 1/3 more flour than the recipe actually calls for.

This can cause bread to be drier, cakes to be denser, biscuits to be less flaky, and cookies too brittle. If you have a scale, measure a proper cup of flour and it should be 140 grams give or take a gram or too.

The right technique.

The proper technique is to spoon the flour into the cup until it is overflowing, then run the back of a knife across the top to level it. This will result in perfectly measured flour every time.

Spooning flour into measuring cup

Spooning flour into measuring cup

Levelling the flour with the back of a butter knife

Levelling the flour with the back of a butter knife.

One online resource , to which I often refer our friends outside North America, is a conversion guide from Cooks Illustrated online. They have some common baking ingredients converted from cups to grams, which is very useful to bakers overseas.

Find that conversion guide here.

If you’re now in the mood to try some bread making for yourself, we also have great recipes for Honey Oat Bran Bread and some quick, super easy, versatile, Two Ingredient Flatbreads.

Yogurt Flatbreads close up featured square photo

Yogurt Flatbreads

Of course our most popular bread recipe ever is my decades old recipe for the Best Homemade White Bread. That recipe has received many, many rave reviews over the years. 

Many folks have told me it is the recipe that succeeded for them when others had failed. Be sure to give that one a try too.

The Best Homemade White Bread

The Best Homemade White Bread

You can also sign up for our FREE newsletter to know immediately when we add new recipes. You’ll also get weekly suggestions for great family friendly  meals and desserts too!

How to measure Flour Correctly photo collage with title text added for Pinterest


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Levelling the flour with the back of a butter knife

How to Measure Flour Correctly

Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute
How to measure flour correctly in cup measurements. Avoid over measuring by up to 30% or more for perfect baking.

Materials

  • Flour

Tools

  • Measuring cup set
  • Tablespoon
  • Butter knife

Instructions

Spoon the flour into the appropriate size measuring cup.

The flour should overflow the rim of the measuring cup.

Spooning flour into measuring cup

Run the back of the butterknife over the top of the cup to level the flour.

Use as directed in the recipe.

Levelling the flour with the back of a butter knife

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Rachel

Sunday 1st of November 2020

I have a question about your coconut cream pie (couldn't find the comment section under the coconut cream pie). You have talked about using flour and not cornstarch because of the texture. I use cornstarch because my daughter has Celiac Disease and can't eat flour. Is there another substitute that would work besides cornstarch? Thanks!

Ada Lovelace

Monday 28th of September 2020

I, as well, wish we'd converted everything over to metric and weighed our ingredients for our recipes. I think at the time that converting to metric measurements in the Canadian household was proposed, it was a lack of experience of most people with it that pushed back at it. And the meat producers in our country were afraid of sticker shock in grocery stores. But anyone who has worked with metric will tell you that there is no easier system for measurement. I sometimes wonder if another attempt at proposing this as our primary system would meet with more success. .

james

Thursday 17th of September 2020

The only correct way to measure flour Is with scales. Any other method Is innacurate including This one.

Lee Braun

Friday 14th of August 2020

Very important. However, all of my research says a cup of flour is 4.25 oz and closer to 120g. How did you come to 140? That number seems closer to 5oz.

Jodi

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

The Internet says 1 cup of flour is 120 grams!!!! A BIG difference than 140 that you say. Glad I found this out before I messed up more than one of my cakes.

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