To make precise and consistent dishes, chefs need to measure their ingredients. Measuring cups and spoons help to ensure that the right proportion of ingredients is used in a recipe, resulting in a dish that looks and tastes great every time it is made. While some experienced cooks can eyeball measurements, beginners or those following a recipe should always use measuring cups and spoons to avoid any potential mistakes.
The importance of measuring ingredients
Baking is a science; even a tiny change in ingredient proportions can result in an entirely different final product. For example, if too much flour is added to cookie dough, the cookies will be dry and crumbly. Too little flour, on the other hand, will make the cookies spread out too much and might cause them to burn.
Tablespoons can generally be used for liquid measurements or when measuring semi-solid ingredients like peanut butter. For dry ingredients like flour or sugar, it is best to use measuring cups. When measuring liquids, it is essential to note that one tablespoon = 3 teaspoons. If a recipe calls for one tablespoon of liquid, you can measure it using three teaspoons instead.
Using tablespoons to measure ingredients can be tricky, as tablespoons come in different sizes. A standard tablespoon measures approximately 15 millilitres, but some tablespoons can hold up to 30 millilitres. A larger tablespoon will add more of the ingredient to your recipe than necessary. As a result, it is essential to use a standardized measuring spoon (i.e., it has the same size as other tablespoons) to get accurate measurements.
Cups are used for dry ingredients, such as flour, sugar, and oats. They can also be used for wet ingredients like milk and yoghurt. When measuring dry ingredients, it is best to use measuring cups that have spouts. You can pour the ingredients directly into the recipe without making a mess.
When measuring liquid ingredients, it is essential to note that 1 cup = 8 ounces. If a recipe specifies 1 cup of liquid, you can measure it out using 8 ounces instead.
Just like tablespoons, cups come in different sizes. A standard cup measures approximately 237 millilitres, but some cups can hold up to 300 millilitres. A larger cup will add more of the ingredient to your recipe than necessary. As a result, it is essential to use a standardized measuring cup (i.e., it has the same size as other cups) to get accurate measurements.
Using the correct measurements is essential for making great-tasting food. While tablespoons and cups are the most common units of measurement for cooking, other units of measurement might be used in a recipe. For example, some recipes might call for millilitres (mL) or litres (L). In these cases, using a measuring cup or jug with metric markings is best. It guarantees that you utilize the right ingredients in your recipe.
Why do recipes call for specific measurements?
Recipes are developed using specific measurements to produce consistent results. It means that if you want your dish to taste the same as the one in the recipe, it is vital to use the exact measurements.
If you are unsure about how to measure an ingredient, it is best to err on the side of caution and use a smaller measurement. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar but you only have a tablespoon, it is better to use the tablespoon than to try and estimate 1 cup.
- 1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 3 teaspoons (tsp)
- 1 cup = 8 ounces (oz)
- 3 tablespoons (tbsp) = 1/4 cup
- 6 tablespoons (tbsp) = 1/3 cup
- 9 tablespoons (tbsp) = 1/2 cup
- 12 tablespoons (tbsp) = 3/4 cup
- 16 tablespoons (tbsp) = 1 cup
As you can see, there are several tablespoons to cup conversions to be aware of. These conversions will come in handy when you are baking or cooking and need to measure ingredients.
How to adjust recipes if you don’t have all the ingredients called for
If you don’t have all the ingredients called for in a recipe, there are a few ways that you can adjust the recipe.
- If the recipe calls for a specific ingredient (e.g., whole milk), you can try using a similar ingredient (e.g., 2% milk).
- If the recipe calls for a specific amount of an ingredient (e.g., 1 cup of sugar), you can try using a smaller amount (e.g., 1/2 cup of sugar).
- If the recipe calls for a specific cooking time (e.g., 30 minutes), you can try cooking the dish for a shorter time (e.g., 15 minutes).
- If the recipe calls for a specific temperature (e.g., 350 degrees Fahrenheit), you can try cooking the dish at a lower temperature (e.g., 300 degrees Fahrenheit).
Remember that adjusting a recipe can change the dish’s taste, texture, and appearance. As such, it is best to make adjustments cautiously and only if you are confident that the changes will not ruin the dish.