When it involves baking, accuracy in your measurements is crucial to a recipe’s success, and the single most precise way to meacertain your ingredients is by weight.

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I’ve obtained a few concerns lately on some of my more renowned cake recipes that seem to suggest some confusion about weight versus volume measurements, particularly as soon as it pertains to measuring dry ingredients like flour. I figured I’d do a little even more detailed explanation in a article, to hopecompletely work out any kind of confusion.

Amerihave the right to bakers prospered up using cups, where a cup of water is equal to a cup of flour and also so forth. We additionally had it drilled into our brains that a cup is 8 ounces and a pint is a pound the people round (a pint being two cups or 16 liquid ounces).

But I’m here to say that a pint is NOT constantly a pound and a cup is NOT constantly 8 ounces—it relies on what you’re measuring.

Now prior to you begin saying, let me explain!

Weight versus Volume

Volume is a measure of the amount of room somepoint takes up. Things like cups of flour, gallons of milk, cubic feet of helium… these are all volume measurements.

Weight is a measurement of an object’s heaviness. Grams of salt, pounds of sugar, kilograms of apples… these are measurements of weight.

Ok. So, that renders feeling, right? Volume and weight are measuring 2 entirely various things.

You’ve heard the old riddle: Which weighs more: a pound of feathers or a pound of lead?

Trick question: they both weigh a pound! BUT the lead is going to have a a lot smaller sized volume given that it is even more thick than the feathers, so it will look choose a smaller sized amount of material.

When we’re talking about baking, the distinctions can not be fairly as apparent as feathers and lead, but the very same is true of flour and water: one is a lot less thick than the other (in this case the flour is the feathers and the water is the lead). So a pound of flour is going to take up more area, or volume, than an equivalent pound of water.

An Ounce of Confusion

Many of the confusion concerning weight and volume measurements occurs as soon as talking around ounces: an royal unit of measurement which can be supplied to show both weight AND volume. Fluid ounces describes volume (choose milliliters) whereas continuous ounces describe weight (like grams). The fact that they are both referred to as ounces, and also not always identified by saying ounce/fluid ounce is one reason why they are so problematic.

Ounces by weight and also ounces by volume are ONLY comparable as soon as you are measuring water or other liquids through a comparable thickness.

For example, 8 ounces of water by weight will certainly equal 8 liquid ounces by volume.

Flour, on the other hand also, is a completely various ballgame and also a confmaking use of one to boot. Not that you’d ever before measure flour through fluid ounces (which are just designed to measure—you guessed it—fluids), yet, if you did, you’d uncover that 8 fluid ounces of flour just weighs around 4 1/4 ounces. Weigh out 8 ounces of flour by weight and you’re going to have about 14 liquid ounces by volume. See just how confutilizing it is?

I intend, who do we must petition to have actually fluid ounces adjusted to be referred to as somepoint completely different (flounces? frams? vols?) or, much better yet, finally just switch to metric like the rest of the world?


Here are some visual comparisons to aid show this idea (save in mind that you shouldn’t be measuring flour in a liquid measuring cup prefer this, I only did so below so I can illustrate the differences in between ounces by weight and ounces by volume).


Both of these containers are holding 8 ounces.

On the left is 8 ounces of flour by weight, and on the ideal is 8 ounces of flour by volume (aka 1 cup).

If you weighed the 2 containers, the one on the appropriate would certainly only weigh roughly 4 1/4 ounces.


Both of these containers are holding 8 ounces.

Weigh out 8 ounces of flour and also 8 ounces of water on a scale and this is what you gain. Visually it looks prefer you have actually a lot more flour than water, however they weigh the exact exact same amount.


Both of these containers are holding 8 ounces.

On the left is 8 ounces of flour by volume and on the appropriate is 8 ounces of water by volume. Basically, what you view right here is 1 cup of flour and also 1 cup of water.

But if you put these two containers on a scale, the flour on the left would certainly only weigh 4 1/4 ounces, while the water would certainly weigh 8 ounces.

So, are you less perplexed yet? More confused? I don’t blame you (lol).

My advice? When you’re baking, forgain ounces entirely. Pretfinish they don’t even exist. It simply confoffers things. Instead, focus on cup/tablespoon dimensions for volume, and also grams for weight.

I’m trying to be better around writing my recipes using simply cups and also grams for this exceptionally reason, though you might still watch ounces on older recipes or for things that are marketed by the ounce, like bars of cocoa or cans of pumpkin.

Tip: When purchasing packaged or canned products, if you’re unsure whether the ounce measurement on the package refers to ounces by weight or fluid ounces, look at the metric equivalent. If it’s grams (like on canned pumpkin or cacao bars), you’re managing weight. If it’s liters (like on milk or wine) then you’re managing fluid ounces.

The Beauty of Metric

One of the beautiful things about the metric mechanism is that there is no confusion. Grams are weight, milliliters are volume. If you check out grams, grab your range. If you check out milliliters, grab your liquid measuring cup.

Anvarious other genius aspect of the metric mechanism is that it is calibrated to water: so when you’re measuring water or other liquids through a similar density (like milk or oarray juice), 200 milliliters will weigh 200 grams. Cool!

However, as soon as you begin measuring dry ingredients, which frequently have actually differing densities, the two numbers will not match.

1 cup of water weighs 236 grams.1 cup of flour weighs 125 grams.

The volume is the same, however the weight is different (remember: lead and feathers).

One various other advantage to making use of metric dimensions is accuracy: scales regularly only show ounces to the quarter or eighth of an ounce, so 4 1/4 ounces or 10 1/8 ounces. Grams on the other hand also, being a much smaller unit of measurement, make it simpler to be exceptionally specific. Exactly 236 grams of water is a more exact measurement than 8 3/8 ounces (technically 236 grams amounts to 8.32466 ounces yet you’re not going to be able to meacertain that on a scale). The distinction of 1/8th of an ounce is 3-4 grams, which may not seem choose a lot, however it deserve to add up.

A cup is a cup is a cup

… depending upon what you’re measuring and how you measure it.

Liquids are pretty trusted. A cup is pretty much always going to be a cup.

See more: How Many Glasses Of Wine In 3 Liters To Glasses, How Much Wine In A Bottle

But for dry ingredients, flour specifically, the little granules of flour deserve to be compacted, basically packing even more flour right into the exact same amount of area (think about packing brvery own sugar, it’s a similar idea).

So depending upon how you measure your flour, if you fluff it and also spoon it right into the cup, or if you scoop straight from a bag of flour that has settled, your ‘cup’ might differ by as much as 30% by weight, from 120 grams to upwards of 150 grams (!!) When you’re making a cake that calls for 3 cups of flour, that’s virtually a whole added cup if you’re scooping straight from the bag. No wonder the cake is too dry…