The best way to be sure that you’re using the correct amount of flour especially is to go by weight. I weigh mine in a bowl and then dump it onto a piece of parment paper, place a sifter over the bowl, and funnel the flour back into the sifter, adding any other dry things like sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, spice, etc. Then I sift it all together so it well combined and well aerated. It makes for a much more consistent product.
If a scale is not in the budget, spoon the flour into the cup and level with a knife.
1 cup of flour = 5 ounces
1 cup of milk = 8 ounces
(As you can see, there is a difference between dry and wet weight measurements. I have not as yet confused them, but I bet I’d only have to learn that lesson once.)
Sometimes I list cup measurements in the recipes, sometimes I use ounces. It depends on the recipe I’ve adapted. I always weigh mine, regardless of how the recipe reads. Here’s a chart to make it easier:
1/4 cup – 1.25 ounces or 1 1/4 ounces
1/3 cup – 1.66 ounces or 1 5/8 ounces*
1/2 cup – 2.5 ounces
3/4 cup – 3.75 ounces or 3 3/4 ounces
1 cup – 5 ounces
*5/8 is an approximation based on my digital scale read outs. It’s close enough for non-industrial baking
WATER (and other liquids)
1/4 cup – 2 ounces
1/3 cup – 2.66 ounces or almost 2 5/8 ounces**
1/2 cup – 4 ounces
3/4 cup – 6 ounces
1 cup – 8 ounces
**Again an approximation based on my digital scale read outs. It’s close enough for non-industrial baking, and if you’re doing this measuring by liquid measuring cup, there is generally a line for this.
Digital Scales vs. Spring Loaded Scales
I have a digital scale. I don’t use measuring cups/spoons unless I have to. A spring loaded scale is alright, but unless you buy commercial grade, they can’t measure more than 6 ounces and they have a greater variance than digital scale. It’s very difficult to measure 1 ounce or less with a spring loaded, and again, unless you buy commercial grade you can’t zero it out to add other ingredients in the same bowl. Digital scales can be had for $30 or less. One of the best investments I ever made.
The digital scale is not just a good way to portion meat. It’s a good way to weigh any ingredients, portion snacks, and check serving sizes.