How do you measure flour into a cup - spoon or scoop?

@coffeebreak (17815)
United States
October 30, 2008 8:10pm CST
YEars ago it was always "spoon" the flour into the measuring cup...NEVER scoop the cup into the flour to fill it... the reason being the spooning doesnt pack the flour like scooping does and you get a correct measurment. ANd it was ALWAYS sift the flour first, then spoon then use a straight edge and level it off. However, for the past few years I have seen all bakers, including Martha Stewart... scooping with the measuring cup the amount needed and just leveling it off just by shaking it to level out. So since the theme of baking has not changed in centuries....anyone know why the way to measure flour has changed so drastically?
2 people like this
4 responses
@drannhh (15235)
• United States
31 Oct 08
I don't sift flour anymore either. I just use a little less flour or a little more liquid. I think that women today, who as near as I can tell still do most of the family cooking (although there are lovely exceptions) simply have more self esteem and are therefor more likely to use the most efficient method that works rather than caving in to "rules" passed down from so-called authorities. For a while bakers wanted the lightest possible texture for their cakes, but now we want the healthiest kind that still taste good, so we use denser flour, at least I do.
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@coffeebreak (17815)
• United States
31 Oct 08
But more or less flour effects the stability and moisture of the baked item. I know in my chocolate chip cookie recipe, if I add more flour the cookie is more moist. If I use less flour, it is crispier (or possibly the other way around, I'd have to check - haven't made them for a few months!) But Melinda Lee's web site has the break down. Almost sure it is more flour for more moist. So if I spoon I'll get more, but if I scoop I'll get more than what I want.
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@drannhh (15235)
• United States
31 Oct 08
Yes, but the same amount of flour looks like less when it is packed, so if I'm packing I use less than if I sifted it. Either that or I've gone nuts and didn't notice. Is this the chart or did you have another in mind: http://www.melindalee.com/measurements.html The problem there is that is white flour and I use whole grain for at least part of the flour called for in every recipe, even if it is just oat flour that I make as needed by grinding oatmeal in the Magic Bullet. The baked goods may not come out as light, but they have a wholesomeness that is quite special.
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@coffeebreak (17815)
• United States
31 Oct 08
Wasn't talking about that particular list but that is Melinda site and the page about baking cookies- it says to adjust the amount of flour for moist/crisper cookies. I don't think I ever sifted the flour like they always said to do. Never had a sifter! I just did the spoon until recent years watching the cooking channel foodnetwork.com and they all scoop! Thought I missed something!
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@lilybug (21145)
• United States
31 Oct 08
When I measure out my flour I scoop it out of the container and use a knife or the side or my hand to even it out. I have never used the spoon method that you use. I also do not sift my flour unless the recipe calls for it.
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@coffeebreak (17815)
• United States
31 Oct 08
The theory was that if you scoop - you get more in that the receipe calls for - cause it tends to pack the flour and you aren't supposed to do that. I use the knife to level off too. And I never sifted either!
1 person likes this
@rocketj1 (6960)
• United States
31 Oct 08
I was always taught to spoon too. I don't think it is necessary though to sift first unless the recipe calls for it. I think that is a consistency issue and shouldn't affect the measurement.
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@coffeebreak (17815)
• United States
31 Oct 08
Yes, it does effect the consistency, so that is why I wonder - if you spoon you get "less" and if you scoop - it gets packed in so you get more. Also you aren't suppose to pack flour so you would if you scooped...but then why do they?!!?!?
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• Canada
13 Dec 10
We have cup-sized measuring scoops that we can scoop flower with. We just use those, and level them off flat with a knife, so we have an exact cup, unless the recipe calls for a heaping cup, in which case we leave it as it.