Measuring Tools Every Baker Needs
Baking measurements are important to becoming a successful baker. These measuring tools will put you on the path to success!
Every experienced baker has their treasure trove of essential baking tools and in that trove is a category that we would be lost without… Measurements. Baking is a science and if one ingredient is off by half an ounce, the whole recipe could possibly (not always!) be in danger. With that said, I have compiled my essential baking tools for accurate measurements. From volume and weight to temperature and time, my handpicked items will have you covered.
A scale is a necessity when it comes to baking because it provides a much more accurate measurement. I almost always use mine for flour and sugar, and quite often for chocolate, nuts and when I stumble upon a recipe that gives its ingredients in weight (ounces, grams, etc.) There have been countless times when I Google, “How many ounces of chocolate are in a cup?” And to this day people answer 8 ounces, which is wrong. It’s the whole predicament of weight vs. volume. A cup (unit of volume) holds 8 liquid ounces (unit of weight). A cup also holds 6 ounces of chocolate chips. The amount of space a.k.a. volume the water and chocolate chips take up is the same (a cup) but the weight (ounces) is different. Mind blown, I know. If that’s too much math for you, just buy a scale that resets to zero. Then you can measure your liquids and dry ingredients by weight directly in your mixing bowl. I suggest the GreaterGoods Digital Kitchen Scale. Speaking from experience, the company has excellent customer service!
Liquid Measuring Cups
Yes, there is a difference between measuring liquid and dry ingredients when it comes to cups, and yes, you need both. Liquid cups have measuring lines well below the rims, so you have room for the ingredients to slosh a bit without spilling. Why bother filling a dry measuring cup with water just to have some of it spill from the sink to the mixer? Even if you did win the egg-and-spoon race at camp when you were nine, it’s better to avoid the risk and have a better measurement of your liquids. To accurately measure a liquid ingredient, pour it into the measuring cup, set the cup on a flat surface and squat down so the measuring line is at eye level and it meets the liquid ingredient. Liquid measuring cups come in 1 cup, 2 cup, 4 cup and 8 cup measures. My 2-cup OXO Measuring Cup is one of the baking tools I use most often.
Dry Measuring Cups
It doesn’t matter if you’re competing in the Great British Bake Off or you’re making cookies for Santa, dry measuring cups are essential tools for the kitchen. Standard dry measuring cups are 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup measures and are meant to be filled to the brim so you can sweep off the excess. They are used for dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, oats, cocoa powder, etc. I recommend stainless steel because it’s more durable and can withstand the heat of the dishwasher. My plastic measuring cups from college started melting when I left them to close to the stove! Another tip: Avoid purchasing dry measuring cups with spouts as they will slightly alter the measurements of your ingredients. I own All-Clad Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and love them.
Another essential in any kitchen, measuring spoons come in 1/4 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon, 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon measurements. Again, I recommend stainless steel for durability and accuracy. It’s handy to have two pairs in the kitchen to measure dry ingredients (baking soda, salt, spices) and wet ingredients (vanilla extract, cream, honey), otherwise you will likely be washing them after each use. I have the measuring spoons that match my measuring cups from Williams Sonoma.
Seems a little silly to have an oven thermometer when your oven already sets the temperature for you, doesn’t it? Not quite. My parents’ state-of-the-art oven range went on the fritz a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, which is hosted at their house every year. It’s a good thing we cook a lot and noticed food was taking longer than usual to finish. Sure enough, my dad bought an oven thermometer and our oven was almost 50 degrees off! So now I keep one in the oven 24/7. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if the cupcakes you spent hours working on were raw on the inside? Or if your pecan pie burnt to a crisp? I recommend the Taylor 3506 Precision Oven Dial Thermometer. (Side note: It is also a good indicator if the back and front of your oven are different temperatures.)
A candy thermometer is one of those things you see in a recipe and have never, before seeing this recipe, had even thought to buy one (I’m assuming). It took me half a dozen recipes requiring homemade caramel before I realized it was a necessity. I suggest an instant read thermometer. This Instant Read Digital Food Thermometer provides temperature readings in about 5-seconds and the company offers a lifetime replacement guarantee.
While you may not think you need a timer because your stove has one and your phone does too, but our day-to-day life is filled with distractions. I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly forgetting where I put my phone. So, what was I saying again? Distractions, yes, and timers. It is always good to have a backup. I personally like this timer (not for its looks obviously), but because once the timer goes off, it begins counting up so you know how much time has passed since the timer originally went off.
And a couple more suggested measuring tools, just for fun!
Ice Cream Scoop
The ice cream scoop is not a necessary tool for the kitchen, but it has made my life much easier. Not only is it perfect the obvious (getting picture-perfect scoops), but it happens to be the perfect measurement when baking cupcakes (or muffins). It fills each cupcake liner exactly three-quarters full, which means each cupcake will bake at the same rate and look the same. I like the Good Living Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop because it has a trigger, which means less mess while filling the cupcake tin!
Another optional baking tool in the kitchen: the cookie scoop. It promises identical measurements for each cookie, which means even baking. I used to have a stainless steel cookie scoop, but after scooping a couple dozen cookies, squeezing that handle begins to hurt your hand! So I suggest the OXO Good Grips Cookie Scoop. It has a soft grip and is dishwasher safe. It comes in three sizes too… small, medium and large.
Now this baking tool is made for fun. As a shot glass or as a measuring tool, you will find use for it! I received mine as a gag-but-not-really-because-we-know-you-will-use-it gift. And what do you know, I used it in my Cinnamon Whiskey Hard Cider Cupcakes. You can purchase the Mini Measure Shot Glass here.
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