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Baking Basics – Measuring Techniques
With Angie Thayer



Baking is just like science. It is a great way to learn how to measure and mix ingredients to make yummy treats like cookies, cakes, muffins and brownies. So, let’s get started with the basics.

Measuring Dry Ingredients
The first rule in baking is to make sure you wash your hands with soap and water before starting. When baking goodies, there will be both dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Dry ingredients are things like flour, nuts and baking soda. Wet ingredients include items such as water, oil and vanilla extract. In science, certain tools are used to measure different items and baking is the same. A different set of tools are used to measure the dry and wet ingredients.

You use dry measuring cups to measure your dry ingredients. These cups come in a set of 4 sizes: 1 cup, ½ cup, 1/3 cup and ¼ cup. Spoon the dry ingredient into the measuring cup until it is higher than the edge of the cup. Do not pack down the ingredient (unless it is brown sugar). Level off the ingredient with the edge of a metal spatula or with the back of a table knife. Brown sugar is the only ingredient you pack into the measuring cup.  Once you have spooned the brown sugar into the measuring cup use your fingers or the back of a spoon to pat it down. Keep doing this until the brown sugar is over the edge of the measuring cup. Again, take the back of a table knife or the edge of a metal spatula to level it off. If you’ve done this correctly, when you dump out the brown sugar, it will hold the shape of the cup.

Another ingredient that we would use these types of measuring cups for is peanut butter. Take a rubber spatula to pack the peanut butter into the measuring cup. Press down to make sure you get all of the air out. When the measuring cup is full, level off the top with the flat edge of the rubber spatula. To remove the peanut butter from the measuring cup, run the spatula around the inside of the cup and push the ingredient out. Be sure to scrape everything out of the cup.

Sometimes you only need to use a little bit of a dry ingredient. In this case you may need to use a measuring spoon. Measuring spoons come in a set of 5 sizes: 1 Tbsp, 1 tsp, ½ tsp, ¼ tsp, 1/8 tsp. The same process we used in measuring flour is used here. For example, let’s say a recipe called for ½ tsp of baking powder. Take the ½ tsp, dip it into the baking powder so it forms a mound. Level it off with the metal spatula or the back of a table knife.

Measuring Wet Ingredients
Now that you have become familiar with measuring dry ingredients, we need to learn how to measure the wet ingredients. Liquid measuring cups are used to measure wet ingredients. We used 2, 4 and 9 cup sizes. They can come in glass or plastic. We are using plastic because they don’t break as easily. These types of cups are perfect for liquids because of the spout, which prevents the liquid from spilling all over. Make sure the liquid measuring cup is sitting on a flat surface. Bend down so the measuring lines are at eye level. Pour in the liquid until it reaches the correct measuring line.

To measure small amounts of liquid you would use measuring spoons. This is the only tool that you use to measure both dry and wet ingredients. Let’s use vanilla extract as an example. Say the recipe calls for 1/8 tsp. Just pour enough in so it is level with the top of the spoon. Do not pour the liquid over your mixing bowl just in case you pour too much and it overflows into the ingredients you have already measured into the bowl.

Sometimes recipes call for eggs. We recommend breaking the egg over a liquid measuring cup just in case a little bit of shell gets into it. It is easier to get the shell out rather than if it gets in the bowl that already contains liquid ingredients. Then, just pour the egg into the bowl.

When measuring stick margarine or butter, use the measuring lines marked on the wrapper as your guide. Line a small, sharp knife on the appropriate measuring line and cut down through the butter to cut off the correct amount. Make sure you take the wrapper off before putting it into the mixing bowl.

Additional Tools

  •  Spoon Scraper
    • Can be used for mixing, scraping and scooping
  • Silicone spatulas
    • Can be used to scrape the bowl when pouring batter into a cake pan
  • Wood handle 8 in angled metal spatula
    • Perfect for spreading icing onto a cupcake

Now that you have learned about the different tools and measuring techniques, you are ready to make your favorite treat!

Sponsored by Wilton Industries, Inc.


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