What Things Weigh

Consistent measurement is the key to consistently great baking. Sadly, the great error that nearly all baking recipes make is in listing ingredients, especially DRY ingredients, by volume instead of by weight. Baking is a precision sport. It therefore demands precision measurement. A scooped cup of all-purpose flour can vary anywhere from 3 to 6 ounces depending on the humidity, how hard you scoop it, and whether or not you pack it down. But when you measure out ingredients by weight, you’re guaranteed the same amount every time.

Thus, converting all dry ingredients from volume to weight measurements should be the first step in tackling any baking recipe. If you want to do wet too, fabulous, though the margin for error isn’t nearly as great in that department (I seldom do that step myself). For very small measurements like yeast, spices, herbs, salt and extracts, I use teaspoons and tablespoons instead of grams. Hey, I’m not a total freak.

But the rewards of a measurement obsession can be great. Baking, unlike cooking, is based on fairly precise science. Thus, once you settle on a baking recipe you like, you can scale it up or down to whatever degree you like and still get the same result. A bread recipe that works for 2 loaves will just as easily work for 4, 40 or 400. The same cannot be said of cooking, where eye-popping dinner table dishes frequently lose their je ne sais quoi when adapted to the block party buffet table or, dare I say, to the restaurant.

But enough of my yakkin’. Here, as billed, are some of the more common baking ingredients listed by weight:

U.S.

1 cup of all-purpose flour: 5 ounces
1 cup of bread flour: 5.5 ounces
1 cup of cake flour: 4.5 ounces
1 cup of whole wheat flour: 5 ounces
1 cup of white whole wheat flour: 5 ounces
1 cup of corn meal: 4.5 ounces
1 cup corn starch (flour): 4 ounces
1 cup of couscous: 6.75 ounces

1 cup of cocoa: 3.33 ounces

1 cup of sugar: 7 ounces
1 cup of powdered sugar: 4 ounces
1 cup of light brown sugar: 7.5 ounces
1 cup of dark brown sugar: 8.5 ounces
1 cup of molasses: 11.5 ounces
1 cup of corn syrup: 11.5 ounces

1 cup of butter: 8 ounces (or 1/2 ounce per tablespoon)
1 cup of shortening: 6.75 ounces
1 cup of vegetable oil: 6.75 ounces

1 large egg: 1.75 ounces
1 large egg white: 1 ounce
1 large egg yolk: 0.75 ounce

1 cup of water: 8.3 ounces (the “pint’s a pound” thing is slightly mistaken)
1 cup of milk : 8.5 ounces
1 cup of buttermilk: 8.5 ounces
1 cup of sour cream: 8.5 ounces
1 cup of half & half: 8.5 ounces
1 cup of heavy cream: 8.1 ounces

1 cup of powdered milk: 2.5 ounces

European

(Translate “~” to mean “roughly”)

(Remember: 1 ounce of anything = 28.3 grams)

1 cup of all-purpose flour: 142 grams ~ 150
1 cup of bread flour: 156 grams ~160
1 cup of cake flour: 128 grams ~130
1 cup of whole wheat flour: 142 grams ~ 150
1 cup of corn meal: 128 grams ~130

1 cup of cocoa: 94 grams ~100

1 cup of sugar: 198 grams ~200
1 cup of powdered sugar: 114 grams ~110
1 cup of light brown sugar: 213 grams ~ 215
1 cup of dark brown sugar: 241 grams ~ 240
1 cup of molasses: 326 grams ~ 325
1 cup of corn syrup: 326 grams ~ 325

1 cup of butter: 227 grams ~ 230 (or ~ 15 grams per tablespoon)
1 cup of shortening: 191 grams ~ 190
1 cup of vegetable oil: 191 grams ~ 190

1 large egg: 50 grams
1 large egg white: 28 grams ~ 30
1 large egg yolk: 18 grams ~ 20

1 cup of water: 235 grams (the “pint’s a pound” thing is slightly mistaken)
1 cup of milk : 240 grams
1 cup of buttermilk: 240 grams
1 cup of sour cream: 240 grams
1 cup of half & half: 240 grams
1 cup of heavy cream: 230 grams

1 cup of powdered milk: 71 grams ~ 70

6 thoughts on “What Things Weigh”

  1. Thank you for this. I made a recipe for ginger cookies that has all the info in grams and I don’t know if the cookies turned out better than they would have but so nice not to have all those measuring cups to wash.

    1. Glad this was useful, Tassie! Just curious, how do you come by that name? Call my sister “Tassie” but it’s because I could pronounce “Kathy” as a kid!

      – Joe

  2. me again! looking for a digital scale for a donut company – do you have any suggestions on what scale you wouldn’t live without in your baking? I am so in love with your site and will donate soon !
    I will be sure to write it off as consultant fees! cheers K

    1. Ha! No problem, Kari!

      Honestly I just used small disposable scales for everything since it was a little business making small batches and I almost never needed to weigh out more than 15 or so pounds of flour at a time. There are all sorts of scales out there and some are hideously expensive (as I’m sure you’re finding). I wish I had more to tell you, but I used the cheap ones to save money. They worked pretty well!

      – Joe

  3. Have you ever used Baker’s Ammonia? if so, do you have ratios to be used in baking? I will like to use this product in a recipe for amaretti cookies. Thank you.

    1. Hello and sorry for the delay.

      Yes I have used baker’s ammonia. The key thing about it is that whatever you bake must be very, very thin so that the ammonia can fully heat and evaporate. Otherwise the ratios can change depending on what’s being made, so you’ll need to consult the recipe itself.

      Best of luck…and make sure to open a window in your kitchen because the fumes can be strong!

      – Joe

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