When making bread, it’s important to measure ingredients correctly because baking is like chemistry and needs to be precise. Even a small difference in the amount of ingredients can change how your bread turns out. Using too much flour can make your bread hard and dry, while using too little flour can make it collapse. You can measure ingredients using different methods, like volume, ounces, and grams. It’s not hard to measure them, and doing it correctly will give you great results every time you bake. There are also some tips you can use to make sure your bread turns out perfectly.
Remember: Never measure over the other ingredients into the bread pan because some may spill, and you may end up with too much in the dough.
Adding ingredients order
To make bread in a bread maker, follow the recipe’s instructions. Or follow the instructions in the bread maker’s manual. Most machines require adding ingredients in this order:
First: liquid ingredients
Liquid ingredients should follow this order:
- First, put in liquids like milk, water, juice, and buttermilk.
- Next, put in fats like oils, butter, margarine, shortening, vegetable puree, sour cream, yogurt, and different types of cheese.
- Finally, put in liquid sweeteners like honey, molasses or maple syrup.
Second: dry ingredients
Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to the bread pan.
Dry ingredients should follow this order:
- Whole wheat flour
- Bread flour or all-purpose flour
- Other types of grains and flours
- Dry milk powder
- Dried or fresh orange or lemon zest (peel)
- Seasonings like dried herbs, flavourings, seeds, and nuts
- Salt and sugar – Make sure to put the sugar in one corner of the container and the salt in the opposite corner, on top of the flour.
For best results, first, make sure the ingredients are level. Then, use your finger or a knife to make a small hole in the middle of the flour. Measure the yeast and pour it carefully into that hole.
Be careful: Don’t let yeast touch salt or liquid ingredients.
Essential tools for measuring by volume
To make sure your recipes turn out right, it’s important to use the correct measuring tools. A coffee cup or mug is not the same as a measuring cup, and a tablespoon is a specific unit of measurement that can’t be replaced with a regular spoon.
If you’re measuring ingredients by volume, you’ll want to have a few essential tools on hand. These include liquid measuring cups, dry measuring cups, and measuring spoons. When using liquid measuring cups it’s best to choose ones with clearly marked measurements, as liquid measuring cups can sometimes be less accurate than dry measuring cups.
To ensure your measurements are accurate, check the markings on your measuring cup before you start cooking. By having the right tools and checking their accuracy, you’ll be on your way to successful recipe results.
Make sure to measure everything with precision. Measuring liquids like milk, water, eggs, and oils can be done with either a liquid or dry measuring tool. A dry measuring cup of milk should weigh the same as a liquid measuring cup of milk. But, it’s important to fill a dry measuring cup to its limit for accuracy, which can make measuring liquids in them difficult.
How to use liquid measuring cups
With wet ingredients (such as water, milk and juice), use a liquid measuring cup with enough space below the rim to prevent spills. Usually made of see-through glass or clear acrylic, it’ll have a spout and show graduated measurements with the cups/ml/ounces marked clearly on the side. Fill it up to the line indicated and carefully add more liquid until it reaches the level of the graduation on the cup. Pour slowly to avoid spilling. For accuracy, let the liquid measuring cup settle on a flat surface after filling it and look at it at eye level to make sure the amount is exact. Don’t just hold it in your hand or look at it from above, or you might misread the amount.
Measuring smaller (¼ cup or less) amounts
Dry measuring cups and spoons can be used for both wet and dry ingredients.
When measuring small quantities of wet ingredients, use these dry measuring cups or spoons. When filling the dry measuring cup and spoon. keep it level. Hold the spoon over a separate bowl to catch any overflow, and gently pour in the liquid until it’s complete. Empty the spoon into the recipe, and continue.
Measuring sticky liquids
Some sweeteners like honey and molasses can be hard to remove from measuring cups or spoons. To make it easier, you can use oil spray on the measuring tool to help the sweetener slip out quicker and avoid sticking. If you are measuring both oil and sweetener in a recipe, it is recommended that you measure the oil first and then measure the sweetener.
Solid fats ingredients
When measuring fats like butter, margarine, or cheese for a recipe, you want to pack them down firmly. You can do this by using a measuring spoon or a measuring cup. After filling the spoon or cup, push down on the ingredient with a spoon to remove any air bubbles. Then use a knife to level off the top. If you’re having trouble getting the ingredient out of the measuring cup, you can line it with plastic wrap first. Finally, transfer the ingredient to the recipe.
Butter sticks come in a standard size that can make measuring large quantities easier. The size of the stick may vary from country to country. In the US, a typical stick is ½ cup or 113 grams. In Canada, it is 454 grams or 2 cups and sometimes comes in 4 sticks of 113 grams. In Brazil, it comes in a stick of 100g. The wrapper for butter sticks has markings for tablespoons, 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1/2 cup to help you cut the right amount. Use a knife to cut off the desired amount. Some shortenings also come in sticks and can be measured like butter.
To get accurate measurements of ingredients, all ingredients measured in measuring spoons and cups must be level, not rounded or heaping. Don’t use a liquid measuring cup, glass or any other type of cup that has lines on the side. Those are meant for measuring liquids. Measure your ingredients precisely by leveling them off at the top of the measuring spoon or cup. Never use tableware spoons, or tea or coffee cups to measure dry ingredients because they won’t give you accurate amounts.
A lot depends on how you fill the cup
There are many methods for filling a dry measuring cup, such as sifting, spooning, and scooping. And believe it or not, how you fill a dry measuring cup can seriously alter the mass of your measuring ingredient.
Fill the measuring cup with a spoon
Gently spoon dry ingredients, such as flour, granulated sugar or cornstarch, into the cup. Always “level off” (sweep off any excess) the measurement with a straight edge, like the back of a knife, a spatula, a chopstick, or a bench scraper, to ensure the measurement is exact.
Flour can easily be compressed into a measuring cup
Another helpful tip is never to scoop directly with the measuring cup, scoop the flour lightly, or even spoon it in, and then level it off with a knife or spatula. Ensure you do not shake or tap the measuring cup while filling it. This will compress the ingredients into the cup. The difference can be extreme when measuring flour, up to 3 to 4 tablespoons per cup. That means you might add up to ¾ cup of flour to a typical bread recipe. That kind of difference can spell the difference between success and failure in a recipe. Talk about dry bread.
An exception to this rule is brown sugar. Since brown sugar has a unique moist texture, it needs to be packed down lightly until it holds the shape of the measure when turned out. Firmly press brown sugar into the cup with your fingers or the back of a spoon, then level with the rim.
Herbs and spices
Use measuring spoons to get a precise amount of spice in your recipe. You want to scoop the spice into a measuring spoon and level it off.
Bulk dry ingredients
Spoon bulk dry ingredients such as cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips or oats into the measuring cup. If necessary, level the top with a spatula or the flat side of a knife.
Measuring by weight
Professional bakers use weight measurements (ounces or grams) for ingredients instead of measuring cups. This saves time and reduces messiness. To weigh ingredients, place your bread pan on the scale and press the “tare” or “zero” button. Add the first ingredient by carefully spooning it into the pan until it reaches the desired weight. Do the same for all the dry ingredients, taring the scale in between each one. Use a digital kitchen scale that measures at least 1g increments because 1 gram can make a big difference. Don’t pour ingredients directly into the pan because you may accidentally add too much and ruin your recipe. If you add too much, spoon out the excess until you have the correct weight.
Different flour brands - different weight
If you tried baking with various flour brands, you probably noticed some differences when preparing the dough. For example, some flour brands made you put more flour than initially stated in the recipe. In contrast, other brands made the dough harder and drier, despite using the recipe’s indicated flour amount.
Check the dough ball
Just as there is not the best and most accurate way to measure wet and dry ingredients, to avoid the dough becoming too wet or dry, check it by opening the lid and looking at the texture. After mixing for 10-20 minutes, follow the method to glance at the mixture and ensure it’s the correct texture.
Accurately measure the amount of yeast
If you add too much yeast to your bread maker, the dough will rise too much. This can cause problems like the bread rising too early and then sinking and the bread forming large bubbles, which can make it chewy. If the dough rises too much, the bread can also have a yeasty taste and smell like alcohol.
If you use too little, the bread won’t rise properly, taste bad, and feel sticky.
To avoid problems, using the correct amount of yeast is essential. To do this, measure the yeast carefully before adding it to the machine.
US measure - Ounces vs. Fluid Ounces
I hope my easy tips will give you the confidence to step into the kitchen and prepare delicious meals to eat with a handful of close friends.
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