Weighing vs Measuring Ingredients

For my first post, I wanted to explain why I, a person from the United States, choose to weigh my ingredients using a scale for my recipes instead of measuring with measuring cups. I will always, always, always list measurements alongside weights in my recipes, but weights are listed first and you will see me weighing in all of my videos.

For the longest time, I was resistant. I was raised using measuring cups; all of our recipes in the States are listed in measurements, and I never knew of another method or way for gathering ingredients. As I got more obsessive about baking, I would see more recipe books and popular bakers that would encourage their audience to weigh ingredients instead of measuring.

So one night, throwing my hands up in the air in frustration after reading another person encouraging weighing, I went online and purchased a cheap, $11 scale. My first time using it (and I had to convert the recipe from cups to grams – I was fully committed), my world changed. Suddenly, everything had to be weighed instead of measured, and I would grow irritated if I had to use measuring cups instead of my scale.

I want to explain to use the main three reasons why I choose to weigh instead of measure and why I think you should as well.

Reason 1 – Variation

Walk into any big box retailer or type into a search box for any online retailer, and you will come across hundreds (if not thousands) of measuring cups and sets in all different patterns and materials. The awesome aspect to this is being able to have cool items like my cat-themed measuring cups!

The not so awesome aspect to this is that the different materials used – usually stainless steel or plastic – can cause significant variation in the amount of ingredient that your cup is actually measuring, which can cause significant differences between the recipe and your final product.

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Compare the variation among measuring cups to scales. Full disclosure: I have my $11 scale and my other scale is $30 (but I did get it on sale for $15). Regardless of the difference in price between the two, the same bowl weighs the same amount on both.

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So by weighing my ingredients, I can feel confident that anyone following my recipes or regardless of whether I am making a recipe at my house or another person’s, that my product will come out the same because of the consistencies among scales versus cups.

Reason 2 – Time Saved and Less Utensils Used

Let me start off this section by saying that as much as I love baking, I hate cleaning. It is my least favorite part of the baking process, and if I had the money to, I would have endless bowls and utensils so that I would never have to wash one dish. Cleaning sucks.

So when I discovered that weighing not only takes less time than measuring but also saves me on having to wash less dishes, I was ecstatic.

Example 1: Flour

To properly measure flour, you use a fork to aerate the flour first. Then you need a spoon to transfer the flour into a measuring cup, and then a knife to swipe off the excess flour back into the bag. A totally messy process that requires three utensils in addition to the measuring cup for me to clean up and it takes me a total of 52 seconds to measure one cup of flour.

When I weigh flour, I don’t have to aerate. I just pour the bag into whatever bowl or plate or pan I’m using. If I pour too much? I will just get out a spoon to take out the excess. Simple. Quick. A 38 second process that maybe requires me to wash a spoon for 120g of flour.

Example 2: Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is such a pain to measure. I need a spoon to move the sugar from the bag to the cup and I have to press down and pack the sugar until it’s full. Then I need a knife to remove the excess again. It’s tedious. It’s annoying. It takes me 1 minute and 12 seconds and two extra utensils to wash to measure one cup of brown sugar.

When I weigh the brown sugar, it’s just an easy pour into my bowl / plate / pan. I don’t have to worry about clumps messing with accurate measuring. Maybe I need a spoon at most to remove excess. A quick 38 second process for 200g of brown sugar.

Example 3: Honey

I use honey for this example but it really reflects on all liquids and sticky substances (e.g., molasses, peanut butter, oils). To properly measure, I am pouring my honey into a measuring cup (or tablespoon in this example). Then I have to use a spoon to scrape out the honey from the tablespoon into the bowl, which no matter how thorough I scrape, will never get everything off my tablespoon to my bowl.  It’s messy. It wastes ingredient. It took me 1 minute and 17 seconds to measure ONE TABLESPOON. I hate it.

On the other hand, weighing honey couldn’t be any easier. All I have to do is place the container that the honey is going into on my scale, tare out its weight, and then pour the honey directly into the container. IT’S SO FREAKING EASY. The hardest part is squeezing the honey out of the jar, which is why it took me 48 seconds to weigh 21g of honey.

All in all, it’s clear how much time I save and less things I need to clean when I weigh instead of measure.

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Reason 3 – Price

As I mentioned before, I have an $11 dollar scale that I purchased through a large, online retailer. My other scale cost $30, but I purchased it for half the price at a big box retailer. Both work fantastically. They are accurate. They are consistent. They are dependable. Any home baker would do perfectly well with a scale at these price points. (If you want my recommendation out of the two, go for the cheaper scale found here).

Measuring cups come in all prices, from very inexpensive to expensive. What I have seen, though, is that the cheaper in price, the more likely you are to get a plastic set. Plastic measuring cups will vary more in accuracy than stainless steel so I would recommend a stainless steel set over a plastic set. In my experience, stainless steel sets with all the cups and tablespoons and teaspoons usually start around $30.

With prices this similar, why wouldn’t you go for the option that is more accurate, quicker, probably cheaper, and necessitates less cleaning?!

These were the reasons that pushed me to my scale instead of my measuring cups, and I hope you can give weighing your ingredients a try too!

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