As Bill learns to cook, one of the first lessons I taught him was the difference between a liquid measuring cup and a dry measuring cup.
Typically, a dry measuring cup has a handle and a liquid measuring cup has a spout. A dry measuring cup will also be one that you fill completely to achieve an accurate measurement. A liquid measuring cup will have room available between the final measurement and the top of the cup to allow room for the liquid to move without spilling when the cup is lifted.
But, is there really a difference? Let’s see…
First, I put water into my liquid (1-cup) measuring cup. To measure accurately, you need to fill the cup and place in on a level surface. Never hold the cup and try to determine how much is in it as you may not be holding it level.
So, I filled it to 1 cup… it even looks like it might be a smidgen over in the photo (above).
Then, I poured it into my dry measuring cup. There is a slight edge around the rim that is not easily seen in the photograph (below).
So, I decided a different approach by measuring flour with the dry (1-cup) measuring cup.
The correct way to measure flour is:
1) Sift the flour. I stir mine with a whisk which aerates the flour making it lighter.
2) Spoon the flour into the measuring cup. That might seem like a pain but it makes a big difference in the texture of your baking.
3) Use the back of a knife or spreader to level the flour, scraping the excess back into your flour canister.
Okay, so back to the point, I pour the flour into my liquid measuring cup. The first thing I noticed was that it was impossible to level the flour. I tried to shift it but was afraid it would deflate the flour, but as you can see, the difference was big.
While that difference may not be noticed in some types of cooking, it would make a difference in baking, changing the texture of your cookies, cake and muffins.
Did you know there was a difference?
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