When we’re reading or following any kind of recipe, the cup and spoon measurements might seem overwhelming. As we get more confident in the kitchen, we might just skim over the measurements and eyeball the ingredients instead of carefully ladling them out. However, is this such a wise step?
Many people might think that experienced chefs and cooks don’t need to measure their ingredients. While it’s true that some accomplished chefs might skip the measuring part in their cooking or baking, this is probably because they’re well-attuned to just how much is needed. Think about it; when you watch any kind of cooking show online, the hosts or participants usually have a whole line of cups, bowls, and spoons laid out. These contain just the right amount of each ingredient required for the recipe they’re making.
It’s evident that measuring your ingredients is pretty important. If you need more convincing, here are a few more reasons for you to get out that measuring set every time you enter the kitchen:
Many people are worried about their weight these days, especially when we talk about developed societies. A sedentary lifestyle, easy access to junk food, and packed schedules that make it difficult to exercise… it’s no wonder so many folks are packing on the pounds, with such a setup, it’s also very hard to change things and lose weight in a lasting manner.
It’s said that losing weight the healthy way required focusing more on eating healthy (and less) than anything else. Even exercise takes a back seat here, so it’s important to look at what’s going on in the kitchen.
When we measure our ingredients, we’re also controlling the fat and calories that go inside our food. Being careful about this step will not only make the result more scrumptious, but also healthier.
Plus, too many home cooks tend to use more salt and fat if a dish doesn’t come out too well. When you’re measuring the ingredients before cooking or baking them, using such ingredients will probably not be such a common habit. This will help us eat healthier without much effort, so do give it a try!
Cutting Back on Sodium
Those of us who suffer from high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues might be encouraged to go for a low-sodium diet by the doctor. Salt is a magical ingredient, but it does require a lot of care. If we measure out each time, we might be able to control sodium both for the person who needs it as well as the rest of the family.
While measuring, you’re in control of the salt. If you really want to watch your salt intake, try taking out a little if there are other ingredients that contribute sodium to the final dish. Such components include soy sauce, chicken stock, parmesan cheese, etc.
Getting the Feel
Ever notice how professional bakers and cooks make use of kitchen scales to measure what they need? This is a great replacement for measuring spoons and cups; it’s more accurate, for one. Another factor in favor of this habit is that we get an idea of how much each component weighs.
This might seem like a lot of hassle in the beginning, especially as most recipes you find (in a book or online) aren’t laid out like this. However, if you keep at it, you’d soon be able to determine how much something weighs just by looking at it or holding it. This skill isn’t just for showing off; it could be a lifesaver when you’re eating out but don’t want to spoil your diet.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider buying cups, jugs, or spoons and going for a decent kitchen scale instead. In addition to measuring out the flour, milk, and oil for baking, you can also weigh the pasta, potatoes, and meat you use on a daily basis. If your recipes are usually made up of spoon and cup measurements, don’t worry. It takes just a second to look up each measurement in weight form. You won’t even need to do that once you’ve checked the ratios once or twice.
Measuring with a kitchen scale will not just cut out the calories at home but also help you stay in control while eating out. You’d be able to determine the extra calories in a restaurant meal and consume accordingly. The leftover scraps might even be turned into the next day’s meal, saving you money and hassle at the same time.
Determining Healthy Recipes
If you’ve gotten into the habit of measuring ingredients and paying attention to them, you may also realize the similarities between certain components. For instance, four ounces of chicken and salmon each contain roughly the same calories. When you’re adept at such knowledge, you might be able to gauge if a recipe is healthy or not just by going over the ingredients required.
Differentiating Between Liquid and Dry Ingredients
You might be able to eyeball a certain ingredient according to your liking, but not all ingredients are equal. Some are dry, like flour, rice, baking powder, etc. Others are wet or even liquid, such as eggs, milk, water, coffee, and so on.
This difference is why many professional chefs and passionate home cooks invest in several measuring tools. A scoop measurement will hopefully give a more accurate result. You also have to remember to level the cup or scoop before pouring it into the mixture. This will help you get the right amount that won’t overpower the dish.
Also, some informal rules act as a guide to measuring dry and liquid ingredients correctly. When measuring dry ingredients, it is essential to fill the item to the brink of the measuring cup. Though there is nothing wrong with using the same measuring tools for dry and liquid ingredients, the liquid measuring tools come with a spout at one end to make measurements convenient.
Moreover, liquid measuring cups have volume marks for accurate and err-free measurements.
Another Measuring tip here is to pack down your brown sugar before using it in any recipe. Brown sugar might have air pockets, which could compromise the accuracy of your measurement.
Packing down the brown sugar will allow you to get a more accurate and yummy result. You can use your fingers to accomplish this task or a small spoon that can go inside the cup.
Cooking Versus Baking
Cooking indeed has a little more leeway than baking when it comes to measuring ingredients. While you’re simmering a curry or bringing spaghetti sauce to a boil, you can always add any ingredient you forgot or taste the food to see if it’s cooked right.
Still, if you want to get the recipe perfect every time you make it, it’s best to settle on a certain measure of ingredients. If you don’t, it could be very difficult to vary the amount you need to cook. For baking, exact measurements are even more important to get just the right flakiness, rise, and taste.
To understand this better, consider an occasion when you have to cook for a dozen people for a party. If you’re only used to cooking for three people on a daily basis, the result might be disappointing or even disastrous. There might be some issue with the salt, or you may simply not have the ingredients required to make that large batch.
The reverse is also true; if you’re used to cooking for five people, cooking just for a couple or yourself might be tough without measurements. When you put in the math, measurements can always be halved, doubled, quartered, etc. If you’re only used to adding a pinch of this and a smidge of that, though, you probably won’t be able to get the same taste in a smaller version.
Also, ingredients that we put in any recipe for baking or cooking have an intricate connection. They come together as a wholesome dish or cuisine because they are supposed to be blended in perfectly. A pinch of this more and a dollop of another item increased can upset the whole balance, and there will be no ideal link between your ingredients. A cup of flour with one egg yields a different mixture than a cup of the same flour with 2 or 3 eggs.
So, measuring when cooking or baking is as essential as using the right ingredients.
Making Difficult Recipes
When you want to try out a new recipe that looks challenging, measurements are your key to success. If you feel like making gummy bears or homemade Christmas candy, there’s a high chance of success when you get the measurements right. If you eyeball everything with such items, you’d better prepare for a huge mess.
Sharing the Recipe
There’s one thing that all recipes available online have in common–they’re shared with a large number of people. Perhaps you also dream of having your own food-based blog someday? Someone might also like your cooking so much that they ask you for the recipe. As long as you don’t have any issues with the recipe-sharing, this could be a test of your skills. When you have the measurements down pat, though, there’s no need to disappoint anyone. Write out those recipes, publish a book, and share them with the world!
Basic Measurements and Their Conversions
For Dry Measurements
|1/16th of a cup
|1/8th of a cup
For Liquid Measurements
|8 fluid ounces
|Half a pint
|16 fluid ounces
|32 fluid ounces
|1 quart (1/4th gallon)
|128 fluid ounces
|4 quarts (1 gallon)
Most recipes have the measurement of butter in sticks. Remember this conversion by heart, and you will face no problem whipping up any baked dish.
|1 cup of butter
|2 sticks of butter (follow portion marks on the wrapper)
When we begin to measure out ingredients, we should also learn what each component contains. For instance, natural homemade butter might contain more fat than refined vegetable oil. However, the energy it provides makes butter a healthier choice than oil. There are also different kinds of butter that might go well with different recipes. Once you have such knowledge, you’d be able to accurately measure ingredients while cooking and making perfect dishes every time.