Commentary: Measuring Cups
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Another measuring tip (though I like pre-measuring all of my ingredients (organizing my mise en place) before I start preparing a recipe):

To help you keep track of which ingredients you have measured and added in the mixing bowl, place all the ingredients on one side of the mixing bowl and once you have measure and add an ingredient, move its container to the opposite side of the bowl.


Dry Measuring Cups:

Plastic or metal individual cups of various sizes used for single measures. There are also adjustable measuring cups available. The cup has a slide bar that can be adjusted so the cup can measure different amounts. Graduated and adjustable measuring cups are used to measure dry ingredients, such as flour, sugar, oats, rice and solid ingredients, such as shortening and peanut butter.

The single measure cups are generally found nested in a graduated set of cup, 1/3 cup, cup, and 1 cup measures. You may also find some sets that will include 1/8 cup, 2/3 cup, and/or cup. They are used to measure dry ingredients, such as flour, sugar, oats, rice and solid ingredients, such as shortening and peanut butter.

There are also adjustable measuring cups available. One type of adjustable cup has a slide bar that can be adjusted so the cup can measure different amounts. Adjustable measuring cups are used to measure dry and solid ingredients.

The cylinder type measuring cup shown here is another adjustable cup that is handy for measuring solids, such as shortening and peanut butter. The tube is adjusted to the appropriate location for the amount desired and then filled with the ingredient. The ingredient is then extracted easily by pushing the tube to force the ingredients out of the cup.

Methods for measuring dry and solid ingredients:

Ingredients are measured to the rim of the graduated measuring cup

To measure flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, oats, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, rice, chopped nuts, baking chips, and cereal:

Add enough dry ingredients so that it is heaping over the top of the measuring cup by lightly spooning the ingredients into the cup. It may be beneficial to stir dry ingredients, such as flour, powdered sugar, baking soda and baking powder to aerate the ingredient and remove any lumps that have developed. Do not shake, tap, or pack the ingredient into the cup. Using the back edge of a knife or another straight edged object, level the ingredient by running the straight edge along the rim of the cup or spoon to push the excess ingredient off.

To measure bulky dry ingredients, such as shredded cheese and coconut, spoon into the measuring cup. When the cup is full enough, pat the ingredients lightly and use your fingers to level the contents. Do not pack the ingredients down.

Brown sugar and shortening (and other solid fats) should be spooned into the measuring device and packed firmly to eliminate any air pockets. After it is firmly packed it can be leveled with a straight edge. When removed from the measuring cup, the brown sugar will be molded into the shape of the cup if packed properly.

Butter and margarine in stick form have measurements marked on their wrappers, making it very convenient to measure the required amount. You simply cut off the amount needed according to the markings on the stick. They are generally marked in tablespoons. One stick equals 8 tablespoons or cup. One half of a stick equals 4 tablespoons or cup and 1 tablespoon (1/8 of a stick) equals 3 teaspoons.

Liquid Measuring Cups:

Glass or clear plastic containers with a pour spout and handle. They are generally available in 1 cup, 2 cup, 4 cup, 8 and 12 cup sizes, which have graduated measures on the side.

The full measure on the liquid measuring cup is marked down from the rim of the cup to help prevent spilling the cup's content when it is at its full measure. The spout on the cup assists in pouring the content when adding to other ingredients.

Angled measuring cups are also available, which are designed to provide easily viewable levels so that measured amounts can be readily viewed looking either down into the cup or by viewing the measured levels at the side of the cup.

There are glass and plastic measuring cups also available that are large enough to be used as mixing bowls. They range from an 8 to 12 cup capacity and are similar to liquid measuring cups in that they have a spout, handle, and measure markings down the side. They work well for large jobs and can be used for mixing and pouring batters, such as pancake or waffle batter.


Methods for measuring liquid ingredients:

Pour the liquid ingredient into the measuring cup until it is at the desired measure.

When checking to see if the ingredient is at the desired level, have the measuring cup sitting on a flat, level surface and bend down to view the measurement at eye level. Do not hold the cup up to eye level because the cup may not be level when viewing and it may result in an inaccurate reading.

When measuring sticky ingredients, such as jelly, honey, molasses, and syrup, lightly coat the inside of the measuring cup with vegetable oil or spray with cooking oil. The oil will allow sticky ingredients to slide out easily. If the recipe calls for oil, you can measure the oil before the sticky ingredients and then use the same cup, without washing it, to measure the sticky ingredient.


Miscellaneous Measuring tidbits:

Scant - A scant measurement indicates that you should use slightly less than the actual measure.

Heaping - A term, used when measuring dry ingredients, indicating that enough ingredient should be added in the measure so that it heaps over the rim of the measuring cup or spoon.

Do not mistake fluid ounces for ounces. Ounces measure weight and fluid ounces measures volume.

8 ounces of uncooked pasta makes 4 cups cooked

1 cup dry beans or peas makes 2 1/2 cups cooked

1 cup of uncooked long-grain white rice makes 3 cups cooked

one pound sugar is the equivalent to 2 cups

Weight of Flour - Per 1 Cup
  (approximate weights)

All Purpose Flour- 4 3/8 oz

Whole Wheat Flour- 4 oz

Bread Flour- 4 oz

Rye Flour- 3 5/8 oz


Practice your measuring skills with this yummy recipe:


Biscuit Bread

1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
c whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1 T sugar
1 tsp salt
tsp baking soda

4 T cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces                 

1 c buttermilk

2 T unbleached all-purpose flour 

2 T unsalted butter, melted

In a food processor pulse the flour through the cold butter together until the mixture looks like cornmeal.  Add the buttermilk and pulse the processor until the ingredients are just combined.  The dough will be very loose.  Spray a 9 round pan with non stick spray and sprinkle 1T flour evenly over the bottom.  Pour the dough into the pan, sprinkle the last tablespoon of flour over the dough and drizzle with the melted butter.

Bake at 500F for 5 minutes, reduce the temperature to  450F and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with butter and jam.




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