Flour in your hair, flour everywhere…

“flowers in her hair, flowers everywhere” – I Love the Flower Girl by the Cowsills (1967)

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Here’s a container of flour…
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Here’s a container of flour on its head…
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Here’s the flour inside the container AFTER its been put back on its “feet”, you’ve taken the top off and flour has exploded everywhere… all over you and your countertop and your floor and your kitty…
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I used to scoop the flour out of the container with the measuring cup. EGADS! Don’t do that, I was told!  This isn’t brown sugar we’re talking about here… we’re not trying to pack it all in.  No, no, no…think light, fluffy, airy…use a spoon to scoop it into the cup…
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Baking is all about being precise, so you’ll need to postpone being a rebel with your measurements for when you make your deconstructed version of chicken divan…in the meantime you will want to level this…
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use a butter knife, or something with a flat edge…a kid’s coloring book…your iPad…
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skim knife across surface of the measuring cup…
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A level cup of flour!

Why bother turning a canister of flour on its head and back upright and scooping it out with a spoon and leveling it?  Baking is a science and calls for exact measurement and flour can be tricky…

It needs to be as light and fluffy as possible.  Not packed down.  Thus the inverting of the tin.  (You just thought I was a bit nutty, didn’t you?!  It’s ok if you did…I’ve been know to be nutty from time to time…)  And studies have shown that scooping the flour straight out of the container, with the measuring cup, packs it down too much, which makes it weigh more than if you use a spoon; you could end up with 150% 0f the correct amount. Lastly, leveling the cup of flour is because if you have too little flour in a recipe, it can be too wet and too much flour can make it too dry.

These tips will make my baking experiences turn out a lot closer to the ideal I have in my head…

If precision, and I mean, exact precision, is what you are after, using a scale to measure your flour is the most accurate.

Here are a few conversions from cups to grams for flour:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour = 125 grams (4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour = 115 grams (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup bread flour = 130 grams (4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup sifted bread flour = 121 grams (4 1/4 ounces)
  • 1 cup cake flour = 115 grams (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour = 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour = 113 grams (4 ounces)

Final recommendations for exact flour measurements…

…if the recipe says  “1 cup sifted flour”, this means that you need to sift the flour BEFORE you measure it

…if the recipe says “1 cup flour, sifted”, this means that you need to sift the flour AFTER you’ve measured it

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