WHY DOES THE SAME RECIPE WORK SOMETIMES AND FLOP OTHER TIMES?
The first mistake that many people make is to follow a recipe using volume measurements as opposed to weight measurements. What is a volume measurement?
When a recipe calls for one cup of flour, most people will measure the flour in a dry measuring cup (volume, see above photo). Believe it or not your measurements will NOT be accurate. Why?
Some home cooks will sift flour before measuring the volume amounts specified in the recipe (i.e. one cup) and some do not. Some folks will dip the measuring cup in the flour and then level it off while some will spoon the flour into the measuring cup before leveling it off.
Although these are all acceptable ways of measuring, each person's “cup” will have a different weight, thereby yielding a different outcome.
I always recommend using a small digital kitchen scale. They are quite reasonably priced and available even in your local grocery store.
How will I know what a cup of flour weighs if the recipe only specifies a cup (volume) measurement?
Here is a table that I hang up in my kitchen as a guide.
All-Purpose Flour: 1 cup = 4.5 oz, or 128g
Bread Flour: 1 cup = 4.8 oz, or 136g
Cake Flour: 1 cup = 3.9 oz, or 110g
Pastry Flour: 1 cup = 4.25 oz, or 120g
Whole Wheat Flour: 1 cup = 4.25oz., or 120g
Cornmeal, coarse: 1 cup = 4.85 oz., or 137g
Cornmeal, fine: 1 cup = 6.3 oz, or 178g
Oats, rolled: 1 cup = 3 oz., or 85g
Walnuts, chopped: 1 cup = 4.3 oz, or 122g
Walnut/pecan halves: 1 cup = 3.5 oz., or 99g
Coconut, dry shredded: 1 cup = 2.5 oz., or 71g
Chocolate Chips: 1 cup = 5.35 oz., or 152g