When I started baking I never knew the correct way of measuring flour. I always thought that just scooping up a cup of flour and leveling it off with a knife was the way to do it. The leveling off part made me feel smart! But I had way too much flour in my recipe! They just never turned out right. Scooping the flour out can lead to up to 50% more flour in your recipe. The flour gets packed down and can get very dense. Weighing the flour is the best way, but not everyone has a scale. The next best is spooning the flour into the measuring cup and leveling off with the back of a knife. Spooning and scooping is also used with cocoa powder. Cocoa powder can also get packed down. Just make sure to remember this: spoon don’t scoop.
Sifting and measuring flour
The other task I was not sure about was sifting and measuring flour. I was never sure if the measuring came before or after the sifting! I was lucky enough to come across this tip. If the instructions were “one cup of flour, sifted” then the flour is measured then sifted. If it reads “one cup of sifted flour” then you measure after the flour is sifted. The placement of the word “sifted” is the key to know when to sift and when to measure! Before the word flour then sift before measuring. After the word flour then measure then sift. This will apply to anything that can be sifted, such as, flour, baking soda, baking powder, or cocoa powder. This is the way I remember when to sift!
I usually measure my flour when I am making pizza dough. I don’t know why but I try to get my pizza dough spot on. Maybe because I really love when pizza dough comes out bubbly and chewy. If you can get your hands on a kitchen scale, that would be a great tool to have!