By far, the best way to measure flour is by weight. However, not all home bakers have a kitchen scale, and most recipes I find online and in many cookbooks default to volume measures in cups. Here is a technique that you can use to make sure that you use the right amount of flour every time: scoop, sift and swipe.
Why does this matter? Because in many recipes, especially when making cakes and breads, it is crucial to use the right amount of flour. Use too much and it comes out too dense and it won't rise. Use too little flour and your dough will be wet, difficult to manage, and deflate in the oven. Here is an easy technique that you can use:
- Place a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper
- Set your measuring cup over it and SCOOP flour over a sifter
- SIFT the flour onto the cup, until it overflows
- Using a knife, SWIPE the excess flour off
- You now have the exact measurement, and you can use different size containers depending on the amount of flour asked for in the recipe
- Use the sheet at the bottom to return any unused flour
The steps are photographed below:
See? Not too difficult. It's an extra step but one that will surely help you make great desserts.