How Long Is A Piece Of String?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baking tends to need a bit more accuracy than just plonking what looks about the right amount of something in a mixing bowl and hoping for the best. Even recipes with a margin for error need a pretty good eye for ingredients, or some actual measurement, let alone the complex creations. But there’s more than one way to measure ingredients – which one do you prefer?

I’ve always preferred to use kitchen scales (even more now there are digital ones which you can re-zero as you add each ingredient – it saves so much time and washing up!), measuring in grams or (for recipes from my mum or, more recently, US websites and cookbooks) ounces. Measuring cups feel like more of a fidget, with levelling off and scooping out and washing up in between if you have equal quantities of sticky substances. And then there’s the question of how much settling or packing ingredients in gets done (even if you do it consistently, there’s no guarantee that the person supplying the recipe for today’s baking experiment does it the same way as you). But worst of all is the dreaded cup conversion. Thankfully, I now have a set of US measuring cups, which make life much easier. But it can take a bit of thought to figure out which cups an unknown recipe is using (I generally assume that if their temperatures are in degrees farenheit, then the cups are US cups).

Measurement apron from Suck UK via Steamy Kitchen
Measurement apron from Suck UK via Steamy Kitchen

A new upside-down apron comes in very handy when you get stuck and don’t want to have to start doing sums with a scrap of paper.

While my oven thermometer means I don’t have to convert between temperature scales any more, this print still struck a chord with me...

Conversion print
Picture from bb-blog

Because baking can be so warm* and fuzzy, it’s refreshing to come across something that sends up everybody pretty much equally!

* Or, more accurately, hot. About 220°C (or 428°F)...

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