Most of us have measuring cups and spoons in our kitchens, but do we know how to use them? Measuring your ingredients carefully and correctly helps to produce a consistent outcome. Click any photo to enlarge it.
Know the difference between liquid and dry measures, and use the appropriate one for each task. While they hold the same volume, they are used differently. Measurements are labeled on each measure.
Use a liquid measure for liquids, such as water, milk or oil. Fill the cup to the appropriate line, place it on a level surface, and read it with your eye at the level of the liquid. Water surface curves downward, so use the bottom of the curve for accurate measurement and not the edge that is against the measuring cup. This is helpful for bread recipes in which the exact amount of water is crucial.
Use a dry measure for powders, such as sugar, salt, and baking powder. Spoon or scoop the powder lightly into the cup. Run a knife or spatula across the top to level the surface and scrape any excess back into the jar or canister.
Measure a liquid in a measuring spoon by filling it full.
Use measuring spoons for dry ingredients by filling and then leveling with the straight edge of a spatula or knife. Many baking powder cans come with a built-in edge for leveling. In a pinch, you can also use the edge of the lid.
Measure a "heaping" or "rounded" tablespoon, teaspoon, or (less frequently) cup. This quantity is not so precise, but it is generally a moderately sized, round mound, or heap of the dry ingredient in addition to that which fills the spoon.
Measure a "scant" cup or spoon by filling the measure not completely full, or by shaking or pouring a little bit out. Again, this is an imprecise measurement.
Add measurements if you don't have a measure that size. For instance, 1 3/4 teaspoons is 1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon.