This Flour Hack Forever Changed The Way I Bake

Your Christmas cookies will taste so much better.

December 11, 2019


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When I set out to bake the chocolate chocolate chip skillet with my son, I thought he would be the one learning to bake. But in watching the class on the Food Network Kitchen app, the simple process of measuring flour stopped me in my tracks. When Food Network managing culinary producer Dana Beninati got the flour, she measured it out from the bag to the measuring cup using a spoon to transfer it. I have baked my fair share of cookies and cakes, and never thought twice about dipping my measuring cup into the flour, filling it to the brim and leveling it off on the top with the back of a dull knife. In watching more classes, I quickly realized it wasn’t just Dana who offered this tip – Sam Seneviratne did the same for her Spicy Gingerbread Cookies, Sarah Holden in her Cinnamon Bun Pancakes and so many more. They all emphasized that we wanted to make sure to NOT pack the flour into the measuring cup (like you are supposed to with brown sugar). In fact, the note appears on Food Network recipes as a guideline for getting the right amount of flour.

I know that baking is a science and exact measurements are important, but I wanted to understand why exactly this was the go-to method. Professional chefs are often using gram-based measurements and weighing their ingredients on a scale, but that scientific exactitude is too tedious for a home chef just trying to whip up a quick batch of cookies. So, I consulted Heath Goldman, a culinary editor at Food Network, to help me understand why.

“You don’t want to dig your measuring cup into the bag of flour because you compress the flour and end up using significantly more flour than the recipe calls for,” she says. “The idea behind scooping and measuring is that you capture flour in uncompressed form – the density of the flour when it’s hanging out in the bag.”

This simple change, (an industry standard that most of us home cooks are in the dark about), leads to more accurate measurements, which should result in delicious baked goods. Baking relies on precision, and when the flour, which is the base for most baked goods, is off, it can change the texture and taste of the cookie, cake or bar.

Tips like these are what makes Food Network Kitchen such a great resource. No matter what I bake moving forward, I will always use a spoon to scoop my flour into a measuring cup. Here’s to a lifetime of perfect cookies!

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