How we measure our flour using the “scoop-and-sweep” method

Return to FAQs

When people write to tell us that their dough seems “too wet,” the first question I ask is: how are you measuring?  Because we measured with the “scoop-and-sweep” method, not the “spoon-and-sweep” method.–view the video to see exactly how we do it.

American recipes usually are based on volumes, measured with standardized measuring cups.  If you press down into the flour bin (use a flour bin, not the flour’s bag), you’ll compress and get too much flour.  If you use the “spoon-and-sweep” method, where a spoon is used to gently fill the measuring cup before sweeping, you’ll get too little flour into the cup.  Likewise, don’t “aerate” the flour by mixing it or whisking before measuring; that will lighten the cup.

If you do it the way we tested it (and use flours like the standard ones we tested with), you’ll get results like you see in our photos and videos.  You can also consider weighing flour, using the weight equivalents in “Healthy Bread in Five…” We go through the use of the digital scales (we like the Escali or the Salter) in this post from last year.

Return to FAQs

Pin It

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

96 thoughts on “How we measure our flour using the “scoop-and-sweep” method

  1. Hello – I am using the Master recipe from pg 53 of your New Artisan Bread in five minunes a day.

    My first batch of dough worked out great but only gave me 3 lbs of dough instead of 4 lbs. I measured carefully each time I made a 1lb artisan loaf. Did I under measure flour?

    My second question is more important…I just created my second batch of dough. After letting it rise for about an hour I realized that I only used 6 cups of flour instead of 6 1/2. Should I make up for the 1/2 cup of flour along the line somewhere. Will the dough be any good for bread? Thank you.

    • Hi Lorraine,

      The batch does make just under 4 pounds of dough, so you should get 4 loaves that are an ounce short of a pound. Are you making the bread by weights or cup measures?

      You can add the additional flour to the dough at any point, then you will need to let the dough sit for about an hour to allow the flour to absorb the excess water.

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. It just seems so much more sensible to weigh ingredients, thus completely eliminating “quantity’ issues. I have a digital scale which measure to 1 gram (1/3 ounce) so ability to measure small quantities isn’t an issue. Why persist with “scoops”?

    • Agree… but, most Americans haven’t made the conversion. All of our books except the very first (in 2007) have weights now, in addition to cups.

  3. How can I convert to weight? I have had your first book for 5 years, and love it, although I’ve not used it often, plan on using it more now. Thanks!

    • Hi Jo,

      You may want to pick up our new edition, we’ve added weights for all the recipes!

      All-purpose flour weighs 5 ounces per cup. We obviously can’t list every ingredient, but the AP is the most used ingredient, so hope that helps.

      Thanks, Zoë

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>