why we don’t use cups in our recipes

Good morning, everyone! I hope you had a lovely weekend. Were there puddles on the street instead of layers of snow? Some time in the garden, dreaming of spring? Flowers on your table?

We, as always, had flours on our table. Lu and I spent part of Sunday afternoon baking. Soft pretzels, to be specific. I’ve been working on them off and on for weeks, playing with other people’s recipes and figuring out how to make them taste like pretzels do. Today we made a batch so chewy and browned on the outside that I did a little dance. Lu jumped up and down on her chair at the counter, and said, “I dance too, Mama!” The Beatles were playing, the end of Abbey Road (“The love you take is equal to the love you make.”) to be specific. The sun was shining and we even had the windows slid open a touch, to let in the fresh air. I could feel spring tip-toeing toward us.

Just after, as I was taking photographs of the pretzels on our front porch, Lu started babbling happily and pointed toward a cheerful din of familiar voices. Our wonderful neighbors down the street were out on their bikes, pretending as we were that it was warmer outside. Krissy and Lee have four incredible children, all 8 and under. Lu adores them. She ran to the fence and shouted, “Hi! Hi! Hello!” Luckily, it didn’t take much to persuade them to come inside the fence and visit for awhile.

“Hey, I just made a batch of soft pretzels. They’re still warm from the oven. Want some?”

Cold children moved toward the warm pretzels, hands outstretched. I broke them apart and gave some to everyone, kids and adults.

Everyone loved them. Everyone.

We’re close, folks. We’ll be sharing the recipe for this with you soon.

Since I spent the afternoon working on a recipe I am not ready to publish yet, I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t have a recipe today.

Instead, I’d like to answer a question and make some recommendations.

WHY DON’T YOU PUT CUPS IN YOUR RECIPES?

So many of you have written to say how much you have enjoyed making the switch to baking by weight. However, every time I publish a recipe, someone leaves the comment: “Can you estimate how much this would be in cups?

And on Sunday, I received this email:

“Hi, I have loved your website but am going to quit checking it out as I can’t use any of the recipes anymore as I do not bake or cook with ounces. As you have quit using cups and such and gone to weight I am moving on. Too bad. Not sure why you did this I am sure I am not the only one that does not cook that way. So good luck to you but just wanted to say that I am sad you created a blog that is not useful anymore.”

As some of you may know, I’m not able to answer much of the email that comes through this site at the moment. We’re a little overwhelmed with work. I’d rather answer your questions in a public place, where other people with the same question can find the answer. I love talking to you on Twitter, on Facebook, and answering questions in the comment section of this site. But I’ve realized some questions might deserve answers here.

Here is what I wrote back to the woman who wrote that note:

Dear B.

This is, of course, your choice.

However, I will tell you why I have done this:

— I want your baked goods to work. Baking by weight means the measurements will be accurate. Each gluten-free flour has a different weight to the other. If you bake by weight, you can replace the potato starch in the recipe with the accurate amount of tapioca flour if you run out of potato starch. If you did it with cups, your cookies might not bake well.

– Some recipes simply won’t work in cups. For example, the whole-grain muffins calls for 350 grams of the whole-grain flour mix we created in our kitchen. Since I wanted to give every reader as much freedom as possible to play with the flavors and flours they have, that mix calls for 700 grams of any combination of whole-grain flours. A cup of each person’s whole grain mix will have a different weight.

— So many people have other allergies besides gluten. If I use corn flour, but I put it in ounces, someone who can’t eat corn can still make the recipe successfully by replacing it with the same weight of sorghum.

— People outside the US bake by weight. In many places in the world, a cup holds more than a US cup does. I want to make sure that everyone can make these recipes.

— A kitchen scale costs about $30. You would spend that much in flours making recipes that don’t work.

— Measuring flours by weight means fewer dishes.

— Every single person who has made the switch has written to tell me that she is thrilled she did. I have not heard from one person who bought a scale, tried to bake by weight, and then felt that it was worse than measuring by cups.

I know that it is new, but believe me, it is worth the try.

all the best, Shauna

What I also forgot to say is that I have simply stopped using cups. (That photo up there is from a year ago.) So, in order to tell you how many cups each individual flour is, I’d have to go back and measure them. People, we are pretty darned busy around here. I simply don’t have time for that.

If you want to do some rough conversion, here is an online source I feel is pretty reputable.

And, for those of you who would like to try baking by weight, here are some scales we like:

We own this OXO scale and it has survived nearly daily baking. It’s a workhorse and it sells for just shy of $30 in most places.

My friend Irvin has this Salter scale and loves it. (You can see it in action in this brilliant Wordless Recipe for ice cream magic chocolate shell.) It’s a pretty scale. If I didn’t have a toddler helping me to bake, I’d probably own this one. However, I’ll keep the toddler, thanks.

This scale looks pretty sleek. And it costs less than $20.

You can find kitchen scales at any kitchen supply store. Or thrift stores! Check there first. All you need is a scale that measures in ounces and grams and tares (or zeroes) out, so you can measure 100 grams of one flour, zero it out, and measure 1oo grams of the next flour.

That’s it.

And of course, there are wonderful gluten-free blogs out there that do put everything in cups. B, I hope you find the one that works well for you.

Those of you who are interested in making those soft pretzels? Have a kitchen scale by next week!

184 comments on “why we don’t use cups in our recipes

  1. Michelle in Seattle

    I’m so happy that you switched to a scale because it made me switch and I’m all the happier for it. For all the reasons you stated, I came to those same conclusions myself. Thanks for the reminders…and thanks for all of your hard work and dedication and recipe making and blogging…thanks, thanks, thanks!

    1. Candy

      I couldn’t agree more. Every time I make one of your recipes, I think about all the work you went through tweaking these recipes so I don’t have to and I send you lots of thanks and good thoughts!!! I really couldn’t afford to bake if I had to experiment as much as you do.
      However, I do not love the OXO scale. I bought one on the recommendation here and it does not do just ounces. Once you hit a pound, you get lbs and ounces. Also it gives you fractions not decimal points. Thought I would mention this since this is where I initially read about the scale and then purchased at Amazon. I returned it and ended up with the Eat Smart Food Scale. Very affordable, has ounces, lbs, grams and kilograms and stays on long enough to get your whole batch of whatever mixed up.
      Thanks again for all you do! I have been GF for only one month and the difference in my energy levels is just astounding. I have not undergone any tests, (had my full of doctors years ago and nobody could ever figure out what was wrong) but I do know I have a wheat allergy and probably some sensitivity to gluten. Thanks for making GF so much easier!

  2. Heather N

    I found your site about a month ago. I haven’t ever made a recipe using grams (yet!), but I am excited to try. I was confused at first as to why you did not use cups, etc. as measurements, but now it makes perfect sense. I value your site, as I was just told that I need to be on a gluten-free diet and the pre-packaged foods that I tried made me still experience symptoms. THANK YOU for sharing your discovery about the gums and for your experimentation with recipes that eliminate them. I’m off to buy a scale…

  3. Tracey

    :) Oh dear– some people will always complain. As an Aussie I can say that I am grateful for accurate overseas measures, I was never one for tapping and levelling cups anyway :)
    Keep up the good work.

  4. Jill

    Thank you for going by weight!!! We got our (mechanical, not digital) scale at the thrift shop. I checked the weights of known things, and it’s right on, and it’s really a cute scale. It cost perhaps $4. I still use a measuring cup for liquids, but have noticed such a variation in flours–for example, this weekend when my almond cake had almond flour I dehydrated, so it was very fluffy compared to fresh ground. (As a side note, I prefer recipes with metric, as scaling recipes is way easier to do in my head that way.)

    1. Sheri

      Thanks for this link — I’m loving baking with my scale, but it’s a little frustrating with all my old recipes that are in cups! Now I know if I needed 1 cup of white flour, I can use 125 grams of GF flour!

      1. shauna

        I know! I feel like I should go back and convert all the recipes on this site. If only there were time. But I’ll leave them as a testimony to the journey of discovery we have been on for years. Just as a side note, I have found that 140 grams works best for converting a cup of white flour.

        1. sproutsmama

          Thanks for this! The backwards conversion from recipes written in cups is far more challenging to me than any recipe written in weights could be.

  5. Dee

    When my mom was pushing me for Christmas ideas, I came up with a list of kitchen goodies, including an inexpensive digital scale (mine is from King Arthur flour although I’m sure there are many great suppliers). It has been so much fun! Aside from baking, it was interesting to see how much pasta I was actually cooking and, even better, to see my daughter finally “get” the relationship of ounces to grams. It also means I can cook European recipes without converting grams to ounces.

  6. MilkJam

    How rude!!!

    Honestly.

    I can say that cooking by weight is much easier, I live in France and everything is done in grams making things very precise and easy to do. My digital kitchen scale cost me 10euros and is so easy to use. I’m glad to see that more and more American blogs are going towards grams — makes it easier when a French friend wants a copy of the recipe! :)

  7. Chihiro

    Those are the most gorgeous pretzels ever! And I agree with everyone above. The scale is so easy, with less dish washing too. I don’t see how anyone could ever complain.

  8. Erin Block

    I bought a scale last week, and tried your crusty boule bread recipe yesterday! It was SO delicious, I couldn’t help myself and ate two rolls right outta the oven! It was the first successful yeast bread I have ever made — gluten or gluten free! AWESOME! Thank you so much, and I am a firm believer in the scale!

  9. Christine

    I’m not gluten free and I very rarely bake, but I still come by this blog if only for the inspiration to try and make a new dish, whether it involves me making dough or not.

    You shouldn’t have to justify your methods to anyone…and frankly anyone who has been reading here for more than three blog posts would understand the reason why you bake in weights rather than cups. Ahh well. Good luck to B! Hopefully (s)he finds something that works out.

  10. Sarah @ Celiac in the City

    I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: thank you for ALL you do. for coming here and sharing with us. for giving us FREE recipes. all.the.time. — for being you. for dancing. for giving us all joy in the belly. — thankyouthankyouthankyou.

  11. Jen

    Would you like to know what the best part is about having a scale? Whenever I use it, I get a big grin in my face, thinking how happy and grateful I am to have found your blog last year, and to have met you, and have you tell me, “get a scale, it will change your baking.” It did, and all for the better.

  12. Cathy

    I have been using a scale for years, and even converted my teenage daughter who loves to bake. I still have a use for my measuring cups. The quarter cup makes a great scoop for measuring my flours into the bowl on my scale ; )

  13. Jessica

    I started using a scale before going GF and noticed a huge difference in my baking. My foods were lighter and tastier. When I noticed the different textures and weights of my GF flours I instantly knew the scale was the only way to go. I actually got mine at Williams-Sonoma on the clearance rack (last years model). A digital Salter for $17. You can’t beat that.

    Oh, and the measuring cups are still incredibly useful. For scooping the flours on to the scale.

    –jhf

  14. Andrea

    I am totally inspired to use a scale, now. I was a little intimidated to try the recipes before (although I always have to ogle the photos!) but now I am excited!

  15. Britt

    A very diplomatic response. Everybody needs to find what works for them. Several years ago, I was a huge proponent of baking by weight for many of the reasons you mention above (it’s why I have a scale in my kitchen today), but, particularly after going gluten-free, I found that baking by volume simply worked better for me. Baking by weight produces better results for you. Everybody needs to do what feels right and works in their own kitchens, and no single blogger is going to be able to cater to every individual. It’s great that we’re all different. Diversity of thought is beautiful and enriching–especially when philosophies don’t match. You make it very clear why you do things the way you do (though, really, you don’t even need to justify it). Readers will come and go for a multitude of reasons, but it almost doesn’t matter why as long as you feel secure and own your experience. You can only be true to yourself. Keep doing what you do and those of us who connect will keep reading.

  16. natasha

    I resisted using a kitchen scale at first too. But honestly I got tired of feeling like I was left out of the baking fun. My brother got me a scale for Christmas and it was the best gift ever!! I’ve noticed such a difference in my baking! My results are way more consistent than when I used cups and I’ve developed a quiet confidence in experimenting with various flours. I’ve still got a lot to learn but I am grateful to you for pushing me to a scale. I can’t wait to try the pretzel recipe — looks delicious and fun! (am I the only one who remembers making pretzels as a kid and forming them into all sorts of shapes??)

  17. Damaris @Kitchen Corners

    Thanks for this post. I need to switch to a kitchen scale as well. My entire family in Brazil uses a scale, the only reason the look at my blog is to see picture of my kids because the recipes are useless to them since I write it the American way. I’m switching too. Time to buy a scale.

  18. Stephanie Wise

    I just bought the OXO scale last week — and I’m in love. Mostly because it decreases the number of dishes I need to wash :), but also because my baked goods, specifically breads, turn out so much better than they did when I used cups. No more overly dense, tough loaves (or wasted flour). I’m a convert!

  19. Rosanna

    Way to go Shauna!

    I don’t think there is much to say about this… I mean, it obviously wasn’t about cooking but about unwillingness to change his/her ways. You would think a person who either has or decides to live the GF life knows when it is worth to embrace change and when it is not worth.

    Personally, I can bake both ways, depending on which country I live in. I do prefer baking by weight, because it’s more precise and — therefore — recipes can be reproduced.

    Keep up the good work!

  20. Jenn Sutherland

    I was *thrilled* when you switched to baking by weight. I’ve used cups & weights both in the last several years of GF baking, and hands-down the baked-by-weight recipes always produce the best finished product because of the accuracy. Baking by weight gives us our freedom back. Now, when I’m looking at cookbooks, I won’t buy them if the author is not baking by weight. I want to bake everything and have it taste GOOD…and we can only do that with gluten-free by using grams. Thank you, Shauna, for all of your recipes, your beautiful heart, and for giving us the best recipes I’ve ever baked.

  21. Tammy

    My 17 year old (today) does most of our baking and loves the scale and using the percentages. She came up with her own flour mix while I was out of town and has been experimenting with all kinds of things. She is even now experimenting without the gums. We first got rid of the xanthum, and now she’s slowly getting rid of the guar gum. She knows what she needs to substitute in and is having a great time with it. She is considering going into the field of Nutrition and allergies/intolerances, etc. This is all a result of your blog posts!

    I can’t wait for the pretzel recipe, dh is going to love it!

  22. Krista

    Don’t stop doing what you do Shauna. Baking by weight (and now ratios!) takes the guess work out of something that really is a science.

    By the way, to give your readers a chuckle, I recently signed up for a GF baking course at a reputable local baking school. I arrived excited to add more notes to my book but quickly realized the whole course was based on pre-fab mixes. I got my money back and got outta there!

  23. Iris

    I’ve been thinking about buying a scale ever since you wrote that post a while back on why you use them. While I cling to the idea of using cups to measure, there are too many recipes I want to try that use scales, and I figure it’s worth the cost to get one so I can try more wonderful recipes!

  24. Sophia

    I do appreciate the flexibility in using a scale when it comes to baking. After all baking is very scientific. My only question regarding this is do you need to accommodate for moisture in flours, I am speaking about the absorbed moisture from the air? I do store all flours in air tight containers, however I am concerned especially in the summertime when humidity levels soar.
    Thanks for all you do, you are an inspiration!

  25. marla

    Very interesting change you are making with the measurements. I have owned a kitchen scale for years. I love “thinking” in both languages (cups and scale.) The facts you share with us have a lot of value. Especially for when we are out of ingredients and for health reasons. We lead busy lives and need to be able to make quick adaptations without feeling stress.
    Love the thought of all the outreached kid hands :) Oh happy days.
    We also had flour all over the table this weekend.

  26. Darryl

    Thank you for grams, from a glutenfree metric baker in Canada. Can’t wait make your pretzels.

  27. Kathleen

    I am really glad that you introduced me to the idea of baking by weight. I could never figure out before why one day a recipe would turn out perfectly and the next time it would be inedible. Now it just works all the time! I found my kitchen scale on sale for $10, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever bought. As an added bonus, I’m a knitter and crocheter, and it comes in handy for weighing yarn for various projects.

  28. Sarah F

    I’m new to your blog, but what an interesting concept! I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m curious. I don’t see how it can hurt, as I already own a scale. We’ll give it a try! I’m betting I will like it.

  29. Jenn

    Thanks for writing this. This is one of my “soapbox” issues :) The more people that are comfortable with measuring by weight, the easier it will be for everyone to make substitutions that best fit their dietary needs. If one is making any type of substitutions with gluten free flours, I think it’s imperative to measure by weight. Every time I have measured by weight, otherwise elusive to me conversions to gluten free have worked. Measuring by weight allowed me to make gnocchi, pie crusts, all sorts of pastas and baked goods gluten free with success — on the first try. Measuring by weight just works.

  30. Emily

    Very well said! I applaud your response and thank you for sharing it here. As a classically trained chef (with a soft spot for pastry), I too find scales much easier and more reliable than cups. Most savory chefs (and most Americans for that matter) are so put off by exact measurements and scales and it really makes no sense to me. Sure, there are times when I cook “grandma-style” just eyeballing things, but when you want consistent, quality products, especially baked goods, a well calibrated scale is a must!

    Thank you for telling it like it is : )

  31. Sarah D.

    FYI, I got a great kitchen scale at Aldi, of all places, super cheap in their seasonal section. Thanks for your recipes! Can’t wait for the pretzels.

  32. cari

    I am not quite ready to throw my measuring cups away but quite frankly I am using my scale for darn near everything. I won’t go back to measuring flours by cups, ever, for a laundry list of reasons! Now regarding those soft pretzels can we take a stab at some homemade mustards please! What better vehicle for mustard than a soft pretzel right. I have been itchin’ to take a try at making my own mustards. You in?

        1. Caryn

          I’m eagerly awaiting this homemade mustard post! I was just dreaming of this very thing yesterday when I was searching the condiment aisle at the store… Yipee!

  33. Kim @ Affairs of Living

    Thanks for this post! You had already inspired me to start using weights, and I got a scale a couple weeks ago and am slowly transitioning to using it. There’s definitely a learning curve, but I really like it so far! The thing I’m finding frustrating is that most US cookbooks don’t even include any weight info, so it’s been a bit of a puzzler. But I“m figuring it out! Scale lovers, unite! {I think this is the ONLY context in which I will ever say I love a scale!}

  34. Darla @ Bakingdom

    I’ve been planning to start including weights in my recipes on Bakingdom. I will still keep cups, as my baking is not quite so sensitive with some various flours as yours is. However, I recently wanted to include a gluten free conversion for a recipe and struggled for quite some time to convert the flours, because it is a mix (as you mentioned in your reply to the email above). If I had been able to do it in weight alone, it would be a cinch. Instead I had to figure out a precise “cup” measurement for each of the three flours in the mix. It was a mess. Ideally, when all is said and done, I hope to include both cup measurements and weights. Thanks for sharing…your points are incredibly valid.

  35. MaryLouise

    I want to add my vote and appreciation for your use of weights in baking, and your response was very well put! I find myself frustrated now by recipes not using weights, so thanks immensely for sharing the link to the conversion chart (even an estimate is better than nothing). Change can be intimidating, but golly — there’s so much change to accept when going gluten-free, the switch to baking by weights is easy by comparison :-)

  36. Laurie

    I am so glad you switched to cooking by weight because you encouraged me to do the same.

    Before I wad diagnosed with celiac, I found baking to be a breeze. Just follow a simple recipe. Then, after the diagnosis I can’t tell you how many disappointments I had in trying to bake gluten free. And that is not to mention how much money I wasted on flours! My MIL got me a scale for Christmas and I have not looked back since. Nothing I have made came out a total disaster. My picky brother who normally passes on anything gluten free loved the muffins you posted on this site.

    So thank you very much for all your work!

    From one pregnant woman who has been craving a soft pretzel for the past 31 weeks, I also want to thank you for working on a soft pretzel recipe! Words cannot describe how excited I am to try your recipe.

  37. KitchenVixen

    I use probably the cheapest scale out there– it’s from IKEA. I think it cost me 5$. As my amount of baking increases, I’ll probably switch to a nicer one, but for now? It works just fine. Also, dipping and tapping and leveling in a cup measure? I’m so over that. Thank you!

  38. Theresa

    Switching to baking by weight was the best advice I ever got (Thank you Shauna!) . I no longer covet the gluten-filled baked goods, pastries, and breads. Why, you ask? Because since I started baking by weight instead of by cups my cookies, cakes, and rolls are no longer failed experiments. They are delicious, flaky, crusty, chewy goodness! Buy the $30 oxo scale and get ready to bake:)

  39. Nina

    I’m reading this from the UK, and I have never understood why American recipes are always in cups. Then you get silly things like “scant” cups, “packed” cups, etc. So vague! Anyone here who ever bakes a birthday cake or anything does it by weight. Continental Europe’s the same. Good luck persuading your entire nation to buy kitchen scales — I’m so glad someone’s taken on the challenge!

  40. Erika

    I have to say I LOVE LOVE LOVE the scale. and I HEART the ratio concept too!!! I have always had a passion for cooking, but not so much baking as I HATE TO MEASURE-hate all those cups, all the mess, all the precision… ENTER THE SCALE… now its so easy. Thanks from the bottom of my heart Shauna for your blog. The ration concept and using the scale has made entering the GF world so much better for me. I have never been a recipe girl, more into creating my own thing.… this will allow so much more of that!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!! by the way, made your whole grain muffins (with banana and no sugar-a tad honey) yesterday and my kids LOVED them!!!!! and made the waffles for dinner– LOVED them!!!

  41. Caneel

    I loved reading this about your weekend — how much fun for those children to have those pretzels! I can’t wait to try the pretzels when you do publish the recipe! And I’m very happy that you’ve switched to weight. You are so right about it and because you have made this switch, I’ve been able to successfully recreate some old favorites. I never would have been able to if I hadn’t read about your switch and the explanation behind it. I still use cups for some things, but many of my new creations are coming out in weighed flours — Thank you!

  42. Sarah

    Oh Shauna I think you are just missing a subtle point. Some of your dear readers clearly can’t count past the fingers on their hands! 1 cup + 1 teaspoon = OK. 100 grams + 100 grams = OMG! I mean why do you have to be so weird and not just measure things like everyone else does? And why don’t you just eat gluten like all the “normal” people? :p Hopefully everyone understands I am joking. :)

  43. Tiffany

    I used to be one of the scale nay sayers. Then I went to a cooking class where they also used a scale to bake and it was so easy. I ended up leaving the class with a scale. It’s come in handy not just for the reasons you’ve mentioned (which are all true), but also for storing our frozen goods. We shop at Costco and buy meat in bulk, break it up into smaller bags and freeze it. It’s a lot easier to know how long to defrost something in the microwave if you actually know the weight of it.

    But the example of weight and flour came to a front just yesterday for me. I had a recipe that called for 225 g of flour and one recipe that called for a cup of flour. Everything else was the same … it was a recipe for samosa’s. I started with pea flour, and then added teff and rice flour up to a cup and I was no where near 225 g. So I ended up adding another 1/2 cup of pea flour. My recipe turned out fantastic and I believe it’s because I went by weight. Had I gone by cups, I probably wouldn’t have had enough flour and it would have been too sticky.

  44. Shelly

    I switched to weight baking because of you! And I (and my husband) are ever so thankful for it! I was never a baker or a cook, hubby does the cooking, but when we had to go gluten free, it was obvious I had to learn. so I set out finding recipes buying flours, etc. I think I wasted as much flour spooning it into little cups and scraping the tops, as I did with my baking failures! And, GF flours are not cheap! The corner turned when I came across your blog and a post about measuring by weight, suddenly I could bake cookies and flat breads (we can’t yeast or eggs) and cakes! I convert other recipes to weight measurements and use flours we can tolerate, I will never go back to measuring by cup again! Thank you for all your hard work, your blog and your inspiration!!!

  45. Donna Vieira

    Dear Shauna, thank you (as ever) for such a complete “weighty“explanation to our reluctant-to-change friend. I will always embrace change, even when it’s painful. I will always move forward in my life, unafraid of the “spookies” (aka “the unknowns”) in my daily journey. Look at my dear dog, Beau, for instance, he learns and moves forward, forgetting the past (mostly) and steps eagerly into each new day! I will not get “stuck”, to either in a past time in my life or an outmoded way of thinking. Kudos to you and Danny and Lu! Dance around the kitchen once for me!

  46. Linda

    Can’t thank you enough for introducing baking by weight. It’s so much easier and things work!! Thanks very much.

  47. Lisa

    Hey Shauna ::applause:: You know how I feel. I am converting all of my recipes to grams (um, and ratios). I cannot tell you how much less waste I have doing that and how many fewer bowls and crap I have to wash.

    And to those who are not yet convinced — yes yes yes — it is a pain to change over. But only at first. By the second week of baking, your brain will be tuned to how much things weigh. By a few months in, your measuring cups may never leave the cupboard/drawer. And you’ll be using the scale for almost everything you make, whether baking or not. I use the little Salter glass topped digital scale that I got on Amazon for $30.

    Until there is a simple AP equal to GF flours that weight exactly the same — there is no good result in trying to think of them as equals. And GF flours vary so much not only by type, but by day to day. How much moisture they absorb is another reason to weigh.

    I’m sorry the letter writer feels that way. Sounds a lot like they would be better off buying prepared mixes that are offered by Bob’s or King Arthur of Pamela’s or GF Pantry. There are tons available out there that take the guesswork out of things, but you don’t get choices on which flours to use.

    And about the only country left using measures by the cup is the U.S. As we become increasingly global — that can’t continue. We have to move to measurements of weight and grams not ounces for the most part. I’m sorry they won’t be along to join us in that journey. But who knows. Perhaps one day they will reappear, scale in hand.

  48. Jessica

    It is sad that people can’t open their mind to a new idea, especially one so easy & cost saving(after the initial purchase-which really, don’t go to Starbucks for a week & buy yourself a scale!) Your recipes & experiences have inspired me to work on my GF baking. I wasn’t a baker before I went GF & had pretty much resigned myself to the goods that were available. But the first time I converted a gluten recipe(a lot of recipe websites have a gram converter anyways) for pancakes to GF, I was hooked! It’s SO much easier & less intimidating, it’s much more accurate, & the likelihood of your baked goods turning out perfect is much greater. Win all around. So thanks Shauna, for all your hard work & the FREE recipes & convincing me to buy a scale. It has literally changed my life!

  49. Nick

    I have to be honest that up until last week I was a measure by cup person. For years I’ve enjoyed the relative flexibility that wheat flour affords when it comes to working in cups. I come from a house of improvisational bakers and can whip up some awesome cookies or bread with just a basic idea of where I’m going.
    My wife on the other hand always, and I mean always, measures with a scale as she wants to make things the same time and again. I thought she was nuts lol. So last week we were having a bunch of people over for pizza and I set to baking using your cracker/pizza recipe from the book.
    Well I measured everything with my cups for the first batch and ended up with a gloopy slurry. So I let it sit thinking it would set up a little better with some time. No dice. Then I noticed you had weight measurements so I covertly snagged my wifes digital food scale and started measuring my flour and liquids with it for the next two batches. They turned out perfect! The first batch, not so much, it rose but was still a gloopy mess.
    I got a major I told you so afterwards when I confessed lol. No more improvisational baking for me until I really know how GF flours etc really work.

    BTW: My wife and I both love the new book! Lots of yummy stuff for us to try.

  50. Adrienne

    I don’t bake much, but your posts about baking by weight made a lot of sense. So, when I was in Tuesday Morning recently, I picked up a Salter scale for $25 (originally $50). Am looking forward to trying it out! (This should help with European recipes too, as you & others have stated. When we came back from Italy in ’08, I wanted to make the wonderful chickpea flatbread we’d had in Florence, but nearly every recipe was in grams — and the ones I’ve tried in cups have never come out right. Now I’ll try again — fingers crossed!)

  51. Heather

    To be completely honest, I never baked mch because I found measuring to be such a pain in the butt! I was hesitant to try baking by weight as you suggest, but the first recipe I tried was so easy and so little cleanup! I won’t go back now. I hope that woman gives it a try, she won’t be disappointed. Thanks Shauna, for making me start baking again!

  52. Anji

    My scale was one of the few things I shipped from England to my new home in Canada, I still have it. One of the most confusing things for me was this cup measurement. I couldn’t get it as I have always used a scale in my cooking. In the end I went out and brought some cup measurements and use them for American/Canadian recipes. At the back of most British cookbooks would be a conversion table and it would say that 1 cup = 8oz. I found that 1 cup = 6oz, as I weighted it and come to the conclusion that it was easier to use my scale for British recipes and cups for any North American recipes. My scale is very old now and still going strong with measurements for both ounces and grams.

  53. Pamela

    Shauna,

    I really love baking with my new scale–it’s fun and as you say, fewer dishes to clean up!

    But, I have a question: if I have a recipe in cups that I want to make by weight, how do I do it? Is there a way to convert the recipe to weight that doesn’t involve lots of equations? For example, I am in love, right now, with Amanda Hesser’s The Essential New York Times Cookbook, and have been rather successfully converting the recipes, but I’d love to do it by weight.

    Any thoughts?

    1. shauna

      Great! And yes. If you use 140 grams for every 1 cup of regular AP flour, it works with the ratios in good recipes. I adore that cookbook too and I’ve had great success converting the recipes that way. Have fun!

      1. Pamela

        Thanks so much! I’ll definitely be applying that pronto … er, as soon as I finish the chocolate sablés I made …

  54. Tracy Haughton

    I LOVE you for introducing me to baking with a scale. I’ve been making your whole grain muffins once a week. Latest version is teff/brown rice flour/ arrowroot starch with frozen mixed berries & dried cherries. I just about weep every morning when I am able to eat something so delicious after years of crumbly, crummy GF baking. Thank you, Shauna, Danny and Lucy!

  55. Katherin

    We have really enjoyed switching to weight after my husband bought us a scale for our wedding anniversary. It feels like science and I appreciate the certainty it provides us that our recipe will turn out just as expected. Thanks!

  56. Julia Sarver

    OMG! Shauna, I’ve been reading your site for years and I’ve never been so excited about a recipe as I am for the pretzels! Nope, not even the pizza crust recipe has me in as much of a tizzy as does the upcoming pretzel recipe. You see, I was born in Munich and pretzels are a BIG DEAL there. I have been missing pretzels more than pretty much any other GF food simply for the connections they have to my childhood. I will never forget my uncle making me a brezen (pretzel) smeared with lots of butter to eat on the ride to the airport for the flight that took me, my parents and my little brother to the US. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t wait to try them.

    1. shauna

      I LOVE your excitement for this! I hope the pretzels match your expectations. We’re all pretty happy with them, however.

      1. Julia Sarver

        I’m sure they will be great! I made your multi-grain bread from an earlier posting this week and wow! Knocked my socks off. I’ve been gluten free for about 5 years and I’ve actually just removed gluten free baking from my repertoire just because it never tasted good. I’m excited to dive back in. Thanks for doing all this experimentation and testing — I am certainly benefiting from your hard work, and I really appreciate it.

  57. Gina

    I create a lot of recipes for my own blog, and I have to say that I can’t do that effectively without using a scale. I often create a small batch of something in the testing phase, and double it once I publish the recipe. Before using a scale, this would never work. The slight variation in measuring is magnified when you double the recipe. Also, with GF flours you can radically change the texture of the dough with a slight change in amount of flour. It also makes it easier to substitute, as you said. I will never go back to cooking with cups — it’s too frustrating! Thanks for converting so many people to a more accurate system.

  58. rina

    Hi Shauna,
    There are very few things I’ve missed since going GF, but I can tell you– soft pretzels is one of them! I can’t wait for the recipe– hope it’s coming soon!
    Growing up in Germany where all baking is done by scale it actually took me quite some time to get used to the US cup measuring system, and so I’m super excited that you switched.
    Thanks for all the inspiration.

  59. Marina

    I say we switch to Celsius while we are at it!
    Although I am not gluten free, I sometimes bake gluten free because of blogs like yours. Your blog is fun, informative, beautiful,… and your switch to weights works for me. Thank you for sharing all your hard work with us.
    BTW my scale is an old school second hander, the kind you use in high school science class.

  60. Shelley

    Thank you for making the switch to measuring by weight. I first tried it using your recipes, and find it tidy, accurate, and EASY. I’m sad that more recipes aren’t available in this format. I, too, have the OXO scale and love it.

  61. La

    I am so glad that you are using cups for a selfish reason. I am form the Uk and have recently been tested for coeliac. I was worried that I would struggle and not be able to make lovely things. In the Uk we do not measure in cups and therefore the recipes are all accessible to me as they are in weights. Thank you for such a lovely blog packed full of gluten free treats. You really have reassured me that you can eat lovely things without wheat!

    La

  62. Andrea

    Last night I made banana bread from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe with your whole grain flour mix. I thought I had a good chance at success because they listed the flour in ounces. And sure enough it turned out great! LOVE THAT SCALE.

  63. Tracy

    I had a scale from my weight watchers days, and it has not only taught me about portion control, it doubles as an easy way to bake! Funny when they say the portion on a bag of chips is an ounce, once you look at it on your scale it doesn’t make the calories seem worth it…

    I like baking by weight, you can also easily NOT make all 1 kilo of a flour blend, do half and the math is easy, or 1/3 or 5/16 or 0.7 or 0.55 whatever. yay metric system.

  64. carrie@gingerlemongirl

    I completely understand the usefulness of baking by weight and I have made your recipes and several other bloggers recipes using the weight measurements. However, I still think baking by cups yields great results. I’ve never had any issues baking gluten free recipes with cup measurements and I think it will be hard for everyone to change over to a weight system if all they have ever used is cups. I know it doesn’t seem like a huge change to make if you’re used to it, but it can be hard to switch over to measuring in a whole new way and it can be tough to make sure the measurements are exact in grams/ounces (at least in my experience — for instance I keep having to spoon out extra flour out of the bowl if I added too much… it definitely takes a learning curve to be precise). Honestly, I still prefer using cups and teaspoons and it works well in my kitchen.… just my two cents worth tho…

    1. shauna

      Carrie, I think you said the key. It works well in your kitchen! When we know the flours well, we can almost eyeball it. When I’m baking just for the family and not for any recipe we’re making? I just throw in flours until it looks right. However, not everyone has that same acumen, you know? I think if someone has come up with a flour mix that works well, measure by cup if it makes you feel more comfortable! However, once someone tries to change a flour in your recipe by replacing it with a cup (sorghum for brown rice, for example), that recipe most likely will not work in his or her kitchen. You know?

      1. Merrie

        I have to agree with Carrie. I find it works just fine to use cups. In most cases a bit more or less isn’t going to ruin a recipe. Truth be told, my style in the kitchen is pretty casual, some might say veering to the sloppy side. I have used both ways of measuring, and my baking almost always turns out well although, like everyone, I have had my share of clunkers. There are so many variables that come into play in how a certain recipe will turn out–differences in ovens, humidity, I bet even the sorghum from different growers will weigh slightly differently.

        However, I make fewer clunkers as time goes on. In fact, I think that experience has been my best teacher in GF baking. One thing I have learned is to hold back on the liquid in a recipe until I have seen how it handles, and add a bit at a time until the texture is right. That’s something I learned from experience, because once you’ve added too much liquid it’s hard to get it right by adding flour back in. Been there, done that, didn’t work!

        I have a simple suggestion that might make everyone happy, Shauna, and that is to post the Real Food Made Easy link to conversions with every recipe. I use that chart a lot and I think it’s pretty accurate. That way you will head the requests for cup conversions off at the pass and you might get fewer not-so-nice comments. But most important, your great recipes will be made available to people who for whatever reason can’t or won’t get a scale. It would be a true kindness.

        To me, the most important thing is to embrace the differences and to help people who need to eat gluten free find some great recipes and discover what works for them, rather than excluding them from the fun.

        1. shauna

          Merrie, I see what you are saying. However, it sounds like you are a confident baker who intuitively knows how to do this. Most of the folks awho re trying gluten-free baking weren’t even bakers to begin with. So I like to make it easier for them. Certainly I am not excluding people from the fun. I have pointed folks to that conversion chart many times on the website. Anyone who asks? I’ll send them this post. However, I have to be honest about our process here. There are many many places where people can find gf recipes in cups. We’re simply offering our experience.

  65. Carla

    I for one thank you for the scale and advise on weighing flours. I also love the whole grain flour mix — which am using now, as it fits my own needs so much better.

    I look forward to trying the pancakes ASAP!

  66. Kelly

    I completely agree with the switch to measuring ingredients by weight. I’m a baker and I do that all the time, but when I get home I find a lot of my recipes are in cups. Even so, I still mentally convert that to weight (which in the end, probably screws with the original recipe a bit). After all that I have recipes that are half cups and half weight. I think it would be great if we all made the cups-to-weight switch — let’s promote a larger food community by doing so!

  67. Maggie

    Thanks Shauna. Your OXO is on my list ( I bake with a toddlers too). I am actually quite excited about this! Ack, what will it do to my blog? I’m just gonna roll with it and see where it takes me. Breathe! One question, sort of silly? Do you put the flour right on the scale, or do you put it in something that is pre-weighed? Do you know what I mean? I love love love reading your readers’ comments. Such valuable info!

    1. shauna

      That’s not at all a silly question! You put a bowl on the scale, then zero it out. You start fresh!

  68. nate

    I work in a professional pastry shop and there is not a cup measure to be found. We have guests that ask for our recipes and have the same problem when we share them by weight. If you want professional results, use professional methods. If you want to bake with cups and tablespoons… well, you know where this is going.

  69. Dea

    I ADORE Baking by weight! Its exhilarating its the way REAL Bakers bake! I was thrilled when you switched your recipes this way for all the reasons you mentioned and more! I use my scale fairly regularly and not just for baking!

  70. Sarah

    I got a scale for Christmas and have not turned back since. I find baking with a scale to be much easier and faster, and less of a pain to clean up– usually at the end of a fairly complex recipe I only have two bowls and a few utensils to wash. And that’s nice, since we don’t have a dishwasher!

    I also find that baking by weight fosters experimentation. It used to be that when I wanted to bake something new, I’d do a google search with “gluten free” appended to whatever item I had in mind. Now, I just pull out my mom’s old recipe cards and convert them on the fly. Being gluten free for a year now has given me a sense of which flours I prefer, which are the cheapest, which are most nutritious, and which work best in combination with other flavors. Using weights makes it much easier to get the ratios right for the best flavor and texture. Plus, it’s really nice to have the nostalgia of using the same recipes as you always did.

    By the way, before I switched to weight and before I had ever encountered your blog I used the same 1/3 cup base flour, 1/3 cup starch, 1/3 cup personality flour system that I think you used to use. Odd, that. That system works well in a pinch but I like the weight system much more.

    Ultimately though, I like that your blog is not only about your recipes but also about your process. The philosophy of how you work in the kitchen can be just as helpful as how much flour you use in a recipe for us who are learning to become better cooks. So, thank you.

  71. Caryn

    Thanks for the scale recommendations and links to amazon! I’ve had a scale on my wish-list now for a few weeks, hinting that it’d be a nice anniversary or mother’s day gift… but I don’t think I can wait that long for those pretzels! So very excited to switch over to recipes by weight — I am one of those who always wants to try the recipes a second and third and fourth time all with different flour combinations (and I really hate washing these stupid cups).

  72. tea_austen

    I don’t bake much at all, but I got a scale at Christmas and every time I use it I think how it’s changed my life for the better. Seriously. I thought I’d store it in a cabinet, but nope, it’s out and in use far too often.

    With the added bonus of being able to measure letters/packages for correct postage!

  73. Heidi

    I got my scale a month or two ago at Costco for less than $20. It is a wonderful scale much like the last one you showed. I love it!! I love to cook like this.

  74. Mary M

    I bought a scale off of amazon and started baking by weights 2 weeks ago. My baking was not bad before — almost everything I bake comes out as acceptable. The things is… the recipes I have made since the switch have not been just acceptable, they have been AMAZING. In addition to the recipes on this site, I have also been making items from gluten-full recipes. Every one of them has turned out perfect. It gave me my freedom back.

  75. Fiona

    I started out cooking in ounces (then grams) in Europe and, when I went to live in Canada, bought some cups for new recipes I was being given over there and so that I could try your recipes. I always struggled with cups — there was no consistency in how things turned out, but most of my old recipes were all glutenous and I wasn’t confident on flour substitutions, so I stopped baking for a while.

    Thank you for changing over to baking by weight (and giving weights for things like sticks of butter too) — it really does make a difference and when I move into my new house with a decent kitchen next month, I will be baking again!! It really does mean that your website is international too, which can only be good for you.

    Keep up the great work!!

  76. SASKIA

    Shauna

    you are a legend! Baking by weight is definitely the way to go, and you and I and lost of other people up there (I need an arrow pointing upwards to those previous comments) know why.

    No need to justify yourself.

    People don’t like change. It makes them feel all nervous inside. Don’t let the nay-sayers bother you. There are plenty of people out here in cyber land who love your blog, your cooking and your attitude!

    But I DARE you to change to metric!

    now that would really throw the cat amongst the pigeons *wink*

  77. Jane

    Can I thank you for using weight rather than volume? When I was taught maths in the early 70s, we (in the UK) were in the process of converting from imperial to metric so we were taught both, which I think has been useful! I did buy some US cups a few years ago but I’ve found it very difficult to get used to the idea of them. If I see a recipe that has cups, my tendency is to go “argh” and look for a different recipe. I think when you grew up being told it was important to weigh everything carefully and accurately, it’s difficult to do things a different way. Change is always a challenge.

    Someone (possibly one of my grandmas) once told me that cooking is an art but baking is a science. I think she meant that if you’re doing a stew, you can throw in what you fancy and see how the flavours turn out, but if you’re making bread or pastry, the specific quantities are important because that’s how you get your chemical reaction and, hence, yummy bread!

    Those pretzels look REALLY good.……

  78. Jo

    It’s so strange to me that anyone would object to an easier, more accurate method in anything they do, not just cooking. Weighing the ingredients saves time, means less washing up and as you have pointed out, allows greater flexibility to substitute flours without compromising the end result.
    I’ve been going through my favorite recipes in other books and writing in the grams!

  79. Sondra

    Shauna: I was just reading this months “Fine Cooking”, the article on “Brunch in the Kitchen” has duel measurements. fl. oz. and (cup). You have been a real inspiration to me for the past three years. Living your life with you and your tireless experiments to make truly wonderful dishes. Eating gluten free has helped my blood sugars. I am on my second scale and will be using it more often. The Volume-Weight Conversions chart will be taped to the inside of my Gluten Free cabinet. Sometimes we cannot please everyone, but you handled it brilliantly.

  80. Amanda

    As a non US person living in the world of Metric, I was completely HORRIFIED to see your pancakes measured in OUNCES!

    Flabbergastingly HORRIFIED!

    What do these evil words mean!!!!

    ;)

  81. Kelly

    Just ordered my scale (your scale) from Amazon, and am excited to try some of your recent recipes! You are so generous sharing your recipes and thoughts and tricks and love for food and life with us. Please keep it up despite the complainers. Going GF was a difficult transition for me but you are making it fun and have given me some great perspective. I like food again! Thank you thank you thank you!

  82. Laura

    I was definitely skeptical of the whole scale thing. I thought, “Oh, no, not another kitchen contraption…” as I looked askance as the dehydrator that I had bought during my raw days and then hardly used after that phase didn’t go so well for my body.

    Not wanting to invest too much on something that I might be selling in a yard sale soon, I bought the cheapo scale from Target that isn’t even digital! The first few times I used it, I felt trepidation, and it took several uses for me to finally figure out how to tare it correctly (talk about fear being a block!).

    Now, I love it every time that I use it. I feel like the whole ratio/weight thing is what baking is really about. With cups, I was never sure if I subbed a different flour whether it would turn out or not.…. therefore, I was hesitant to try a new recipe and potentially waste a lot of expensive ingredients. Each time I use the scale, though, the recipes turn out, and I end up with more confidence.

    I just made Lauren’s pancake recipe from the ratio rally with my scale this morning, and I felt truly giddy as I was eating my beautiful golden-brown, moist, soft pancakes on a rainy Tuesday morning.

    Oh.… and the other thing about a scale? No more slopping out the gooky residue of tapioca starch from your cups. :)

    Thank you for being so persistent in this approach and for returning us to our roots as true bakers.

  83. Jeny

    I’ll admit — at first I was frustrated that I couldn’t go on with my cup-measuring ways. But I caved and bought the scale (for under $20!). And now there’s no going back. :)

  84. Bee

    What an utterly bewildering post! You see, I live in Central Europe, in Austria, to be precise, where we do a lot of baking and cooking — and eating. :-) Never in my whole life have I worked with a recipe that uses cups as measuring units. How do you know what size of cup to take? How many cups do you need during an average baking session? To me, all this sound awfully complicated… Anyway, back to the kitchen, where I will most likely spend the better part of the evening wondering which of my cups I would take if I had to use one of them for measuring ingredients… Bee

    1. Bethington

      In the US a “cup” is a standard of measurement equival in volume to 8 fluid ounces/237 ml. People buy a set of measuring cups, usually in 1 cup, 1/2c, 1/3c, and 1/4c increments. So, there’s no guessing as to what glass you should use (Same with teaspoons and tablespoons– you buy a set of measuring spoons, you don’t just grab any old spoon). The problem arises because depending on how you fill the cup (scoop, tap-and-level, spoon fill, etc…) you could arrive at a vastly different amount than the author used. The math is harder with cups as well. And really, if you’re buying set of quality measuring cups and spoons, you might as well go ahead and just spend that money on a scale instead. Oh well, people are stubborn. I know that if I had never gone gluten-free I would have continued in my haphazard, cup-measuring ways.

  85. Jenny Eliuk @ Stay on Path

    This is quite interesting as I’ve noticed more and more folks move to weight, and instead of being upset I’ve thought to myself “I guess I’d better get a scale!”. I don’t know why anyone would be mad enough to write in hate mail over it. Especially when the “respectable” bloggers such as yourself, and another blog I follow that is written by a chemist (clearly she knows what she’s doing) move to weight, it only reinforces it’s validity. Thank you for this post because it was very informative and did explain all the details enough that those of us that needed one more “push” have gotten it!

  86. LaurieY

    I LOVED reading this: .… . “700 grams of any combination of whole-grain flours.” LOVE! I surrender. I ordered my first scale. I’m goin’ with the flow, man.

  87. Giles

    I’m super excited to try out your baking by weight. Unfortunately my busy schedule hasn’t allowed the time. I’m thinking your soft pretzel recipe may be a good start. I got so excited when I saw the picture at the top of this post. Pretzels are one of the things that I have REALLY missed since having to go gluten free. Thank you!

  88. Becca

    I have only just begun baking by weight. I resisted it for a long time. It irritated me when recipes called for weights because I didn’t have a scale. Now, baking by weight makes me happy because of my anal retentive nature. I always chafed at that bit of oil or honey that stuck to the measuring cup. I bought one of those fancy push-bottom measure that scrapes out all of the shortening or peanut butter, but it is a pain in the neck to clean.

    Now, I just squeeze or glop until it reaches the right weight. NO WASTE, less mess, _and_ better baked goods. Plus, I have made several of Ruhlman’s ratio-based recipes directly from his book with whatever Gluten Free flours I had on hand, and they turned out fabulously. I’m in love! Thanks for the 140 grams conversion from white flours, btw!

  89. sarah

    i am new to gluten-free everything. i am also new to the kitchen scale. the way i see it is that i am pretty much refusing to give up good “previously gluten filled” foods forever. if i have to measure with a scale to achieve the taste and texture i want–bring it on!!
    i’m also from PA (outside of philly) so the thought that you are putting a soft pretzel recipe out there is making me practically DROOL. thank you for all you do.

  90. Heather

    I have made several recipes from your site BW (before weight!), and have enjoyed them, but they haven’t always been perfect. I’ve made one recipe with my new scale, and it was bread, and it was absolutely perfect. I did switch around flours, and it still worked. I didn’t have to wonder. I’m converted, and I really appreciate the link to the weight/cup posted above.

    I’ve been baking gluten free for 6 1/2 years now, but seldom share recipes unless requested by friends. I make great stuff! BUT I am not necessarily conventional in how I measure. So my great stuff is made measuring in my consistent, but sloppy way. I know it can be hard for anyone else to recreate. If I were writing a GF blog or cookbook (though there’s no way I am!), I would absolutely insist on weight. Someone measures differently than you, and they blame the recipe, not their technique. By weight, you have a lot more chance of having that flour measurement be the same by everyone.

    (I’m also fully converted to no xanthan gum. I’ve been so happy with all of my recipes in which I have tried flax seed to replace xanthan gum. So wonderful!)

  91. CJ

    :) Anticipating the pretzels!!!!
    I bought my digital scale at Target for about $30. before going GF; it has since paid for itself in ease of baking and fewer dishes to wash! Last week, I was finishing up a dozen eggs (large) and had to open a new dozen (also labeled large), bought from a different grocery store. The first dozen weighed about 32 gr. — the second 50 gr. I guess I always thought a large egg was about 50 gr. — and am thinking that some of the GF failures I’ve had might be due to short-weight eggs. Needless to say, I’ll be checking my eggs for size as well as cracks going forward!
    Thanks for all you share!

  92. Candy

    I got a scale for Christmas and it changed everything that comes out of my oven. Breads are fabulous. Muffins tender and crumbly. And measuring cups will become toys for the cat. Thanks, Shauna! Hope your measurer-reader finds what works for her. I wasted way too much flour measuring!

  93. Caleigh

    Even the way you fill a cup can cause a huge disparity in the weight of flour it measures! I have always been taught that baking is a science and accurate weighing is the key to a successful finished product. I am delighted that your recipes use grams now!
    Thank you.

  94. sam

    What kinda amazes me is that american recipes are trying to be so accurate. Like 1/8 of a tsp of this or cream this for 3 min and stir that for 7 min etc. But on the other side use something as inaccurate as cups for measuring dry ingredients. I from europe and we are used to measuring in grams, but on the other hand use recipes that say a pinch or two of this and that. I do own measuring cups because I read a lot of american food blogs and recipes, and measuring spoons are super handy I might add.

  95. Isabelle

    Hi Shauna, I completely agree with you. I bought a scale soon before I was diagnosed with celiac disease last summer and it has been such a help. So much more convenient and accurate, particularly with gluten-free flours. I also have a GF blog and I always post recipes in weights, so I really appreciate that you do too.

  96. Sarah

    I bought my kitchen scale solely because of your recipes and it was a great investment!

  97. Maria

    Hi! I’m in the UK, have always cooked using scales and gr. I follow Smitten Kitchen and a few other US blogs, and finally broke down and got myself some measuring cups for Christmas so I can use their recipes without converting everything back to grams. I have to say though, I’ve always thought measuring by volume/cups rather than weight is a lot less accurate.

    So I for one welcome your recipes in weights!

  98. Irene

    I absolutely support your decision to use weight instead of cups. It makes things so much easier and accurate, 2 thumbs up!

  99. KCatGU

    Our scale gets a double duty as I also frequently use it to measure our meats. Our local beef rancher doesn’t put weights on his packages, so I measure out 1 lb of cube steak for dinner tomorrow. Also dividing up bulk packages, make cooking easier later. Love Love Love our scale.

  100. Liz

    LOVE that you switched to grams!!! I fell in love with my digital scale in culinary school and haven’t looked back since~ and I think the fact that someone would be so lazy as to not even give it a shot before banning you forever is ridiculous. Keep at it Shauna!!! :)

  101. gaile

    Shauna, you are so kind and diplomatic, much more than I could ever have been to such a rude email. honestly I am astounded at all the mannerless cretins who have crawled out of the woodwork lately. Perhaps one of us needs to make a photo collage of how much a cup of each different flour we have in our kitchen weighs and put it up for those people too lazy to go back and read all the times you’ve kindly, gently explained to us why we need to use a scale instead. oy vey.

    1. Tianna

      Yes! This is the best idea (aside from actually DOING the weighing and baking) that I’ve heard yet! Now I want to, hahaha.

  102. cynthia

    I am so excited with your website! It makes so much sense to start weighing the flours. Now my question is I got your ratios for flours for things like pancakes, but what about cookies? I found some carrot cake cookies with frosting in the middle, each cookie being about 2″ in diameter and thought what an adorable idea for Easter presents for my grandkids, but the only recipe I could find uses wheat and I need to use almond and non grain flours. then I need to make the frosting without using regular powdered sugar — but coconut sugar, and I guess chevere instead of cream cheese.
    So how do I exchange flours in cookie recipes. And what needs to be done differently to get soft cake-like cookies and crunchy cookies?
    Thank you again for being there to help with more gluten free cooking education!!!

  103. Tanya Bayliss

    How do you convert a regular wheat recipe using weight measurements? I’ve had much luck converting a regular recipe to gluten free. I measure the flour mix by weight when making the mix, but I don’t know how to convert to weights for cups.

  104. Nicholas

    Hi,
    I just found this site a while and its great, really looking forward to the pretzels. I agree that measuring by weights makes sense and that you’ve got sound reasoning; I am especially glad because most of the first goggle results for gluten-free blogs are for US sites and although I’m sure that many measuring cups exist here in the UK I’ve never seen one myself.

    Also as a student I’ve been incredibly luck in that for now I can get prescription mixes so substitution will usually be important to me (although I’m looking at bulk buying gluten-free granola grains and your recipes may persuade me to get flours as well). Your insight about gums is great to know too.

    Youtube’d a Beatles play list now.

  105. Marichucky

    I have the opposite problem: i never cook with cups. Grams are always homogeneous ahilé cups can change as shauna has politely explained to B. I want to start cooking with cup-measures but i find it confusing.

  106. Katie

    I applaud you switching to grams or whatever you use. I prefer grams as it is best. When I visit sites that use cups I always as for a weighted version of the recipe. I actually think weight is easier to use. And the results are amazing! I find that with gluten free baking you NEED to use weight to measure. I don’t always use weight if it’s a tried and true recipe then I get comfortable with how much flour to use. But in general is it the best way to go. And I find I use my scale for a lot of other things too.

  107. Amy

    I love my OXO scale. It suites me and my experimentation in the kitchen–I like to be exact and I like my recipes to work. Thank you for your lovely website–I plan to visit more often!

  108. Teresa

    I bought a scale about a year to do some baking with your recipes as well as for other stuff like gluten-free beer brewing. Mr. Frugal (the husband) scoffed at the idea of purchasing a scale since he couldn’t figure out why on earth we needed one — mind you, I bought it second hand from Goodwill for $10 bucks. Anyway, now we are both dependent on it. My husband makes the most awesome jam i I have ever had. Being the engineer that he is, he keeps detailed notes on each batch as well as the weights from what he harvests from our garden so as to track the next year’s jam production. I just have to shake my head and laugh.

  109. Susan Devitt

    It wasn’t until we started using all the gluten alternative flours for our gluten free Pizza Kit that I fully understood the diverse weights and grinds, even between the same flour but different manufacturers! I think weight is the way to go, ESPECIALLY in GF.

  110. Amanda

    My celiac journey became a journey–rather than a disaster–because of you. Since January of 2008 when I reached out, blind and afraid, you’ve been there. I welcomed the change to grams and my gorgeous oxo scale was sitting beside my kitchenaid artisan mixer under the christmas tree last year. Thank you for breathing life into my food again. Thank you for breathing life into me again. Keep up the good work and remember that for every complaint you receive there are thousands of us who silently observe your work, make your phenomenal recipes, and are only drawn out of the woodwork when we feel you need a reminder of how necessary and fabulous you are.

  111. alie

    I’ve just been given a link to your blog; my mom has Celiac’s, and they suspect I’m gluten intolerant, too. I’ve just gone GF to see if it helps my thyroid issues. Needless to say, I LOVE this blog because, like me, you love food, you’ve been an English teacher, you love to write, and you’re gluten free! Thank you so much for hope for yummy food!

  112. erinn

    I must say that I would recommend the Salter Kitchen scale on all accounts. I am a chef and our Salter digital scale has withstood the test of being used to prepare food for hundreds of people a day in a busy restaurant kitchen for over three years now and it is still going strong. I picked it up for only 12£, though I have seen them in the States for around 30–40$. It is definitely worth the investment and will open your cooking horizons to being able to cook from recipes that are written by people who live all over the world.

  113. Kay Guest

    Dear Shauna,
    “You know you can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself”.
    If you think about it, baking by weight just makes sense. I hope that person who wrote to you will try it and maybe write back to you and say she was wrong and is sorry? No? Well, even if she doesn’t it, I would let her go her merry way and keep on making your wonderful baked goods! Kay

  114. laura

    what a cranky email! kudos to you shauna for responding so kindly!

    personally, i think that cooking by weight makes waaay more sense. i am one of “those” people who has multiple food allergies (wheat, soy, corn…) so having some built-in flexibility is essential. i bought a kitchen scale at ikea for $6, it’s pretty old school but seems to work just fine.

    dear b:
    CUPS SCHMUPS! if you want to eat better food– get on the cooking-by-weight bandwagon. if not? your loss.

  115. TeresaA

    I just bought the xoxo scale and used it for the first time today. Love it! Made french macarons, by weight. I may convert totally to weight now. I was so frustrated a couple of weeks ago, when I couldn’t find my 1 cup measuring cup, so I just used the 1/2 cup twice. Then, of course my hubby brings me the 1 cup from the dishwasher, and when I remeasured, the (2) 1/2 cups of flour, they overflowed my 1 cup measuring cup. Cups just aren’t accurate. And, weighing is SO, SO EASY!

  116. Carol S-B

    Well, dear Shauna, I’m not GF and have more options than many. What I love about your blog is your writing. Your honesty and your embrace of change, of food, of life, all keep me coming back to visit.
    My favorite pretzel recipe has a step that might translate for different food restrictions.
    I make a soft, yeast-raised dough. Some recipes suggest boiling before baking (as for bagels). But a more “pretzel-ish” flavour is possible if you immerse your dough“snakes” in soda water before forming them into pretzel shapes (or snails… I’m with some other folks here!), salting and baking.
    I dissolve a few tablespoons baking soda in a bowl of warm water, take (large sized) egg– sized pieces of dough and roll into ~12″ long ropes. As they’re rolled, I set them in the soda
    –water, roll the next one, set it in beside (the first one coils gently into the bottom of the bowl, the next few softly wrap around it). After I’ve got maybe five done, I pull the first one out– of course, the elastic dough has shortened! so gently stretch it and form into shapes on your greased cookie sheet. I do the same with the next few. If the cookie sheet is full– sprinkle with coarse salt and bake in your pre-heated oven whilst you give the rest of the dough the same treatment.
    This soda-water bath gives the pretzels that “pretzel” taste you might otherwise miss.
    I hope you find this useful.
    –Carol S-B

  117. Nori

    great suggestion on baking based on weight. Our family avoids dairy, wheat, eggs, etc, and recipes we try to convert don’t always come out quite right. this is a great illustration why. We’ve always debated getting a scale since we don’t want yet another kitchen gadget, but this could be essential. thanks for the directions on the pretzel. we’ll give it a shot!
    Nori
    Gluten Free. Allergy Free. Be Free.

  118. EmJ

    THANK YOU for baking by weight!!!! I am Canadian — so therefore had to learn both systems… but neither was taught very well. To save me from converting in my head (which would invariably end up in a LOT of inedible goods) I set my scale to “American Imperial” and be done with it! You’re making this site accessible to everyone, and succeeding. :) Thank you again!

  119. MollyT

    Oy. I’ve asked on a lot of other gluten-free blogs what the equivalent weights are, but if I get a reply at all it’s a snarky “We use measuring cups, not weights.” Well, I have wasted a lot of expensive flours creating mixes with measuring cups (and a measured cup can be off by 50 grams or more!) because you have no idea how carefully the writer spooned the flour into her cup or if perhaps she simply scooped and leveled. Before I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance I baked amazing artisan-style breads (sob!) and they are always done with ratios. So I, for one, applaud your professional approach to recipe development.

  120. Vickie Martin

    You made me which to using a scale and I love it. Everything comes out so much better. I found a scale at target for under 10.00. Its not electronic but it works wonderfully.

  121. i-geek

    I am now a total convert to baking by weight. I used 140 g/cup flour to convert a standard spice cake recipe to GF this morning. I’m pretty sure it’s the best cake I’ve ever made. I adore spice cake (our wedding cake was spice cake with bavarian creme filling) so I’m beyond thrilled. I grew up baking with cups since that’s just what was done. Thank you so much for all of the tips and tricks that you’ve shared here.

    PS– When will the pretzel recipe be up? Those would be so, so perfect for an upcoming Lenten event at my church. The crossed-arm pretzels are traditional for Lent as they evoke the image of arms folded in prayer. Ah, well. I’ll be happy whenever it’s up and totally geeked if it’s up before Easter. :-)

  122. Celia

    Thank you! I’ve been trying to convert my regular recipes to grams so that I can convert to GF and it’s been slow-going. That being said, I’m totally sold on baking by weight now. I hate that different authors measure flour different ways (partly depending on the publisher). Weight is so much easier!

  123. Carol

    Can’t wait for the pretzels!!!!!!! Soft pretzels (Philly girl that I am) are the things I miss the most…right up there with “real” pizza. I have gotten really close on the pizza recipe with revisions of the no flour crust pizza from Gluten Free Easily website. Now the pretzels!?!!? YEAH!

  124. Pam C in Canada

    I think someone else may have asked this already, but I’m not sure there was an answer. I’m new to baking by weight — I live by myself, and don’t have any freezer space — and I was wondering if you had to make any alterations for temperature/humidity with gluten free flours, as well as altitude? The one thing I tried gluten-free turned out to be really crumbly & a giant mess (edible with a fork, but still a big mess). Not sure what happened. Anyways, I’m going to try converting some old recipes from cups into grams/ounces. Thanks for all your inspiration Shauna!

  125. Lynnette

    I am so very happy that I found your blog today!!!! I have recently decided to go gluten-free, and immediately saw that regular GF flours varied greatly in weight. Thank you so much for providing the basics. I do have a scale and use it frequently. My biggest disappointment in GF recipes thus far, is that we preferred hefty whole grains (like sprouted 7 grains, from Foods for Life). My question then, if I used whole grains for texture and taste, such as whole teff, GF oats, seeds, nuts, etc, I am guessing they would be part of the flour weight, but would like to be sure.

  126. Julie

    Once you start baking with a scale, it’s so liberating! And like you said — so much more accurate, especially for those who aren’t aware of the difference even between a packed cup of flour and a sifted or aerated cup of flour — if you scoop a heaping cup or two out of your canister, it can make an enormous difference in a recipe. Thank you for spreading the word!

  127. Audreystyle

    I don’t comment often but wanted to reply to B to encourage her to give weighing a go instead of dropping this wonderful blog from her life. Weighing is actually so much easier, so I am personally thrilled that Shauna has made this switch. Once you get used to it, it’s just simply another way of doing something. I’m sure you wrote that e-mail in a moment of frustration, but once you start baking by weight you’ll actually be thanking Shauna for introducing you to this way of baking and probably feel a little silly about writing that e-mail before giving it a try. I hope you stick around after all.

  128. MollyT

    I guess my next question is, are you going to update your older recipes to weights some day?

    1. shauna

      I would love that. As soon as I have the time. (I wouldn’t hold your breath right now!)

  129. Helene

    I started, about a year ago, to use my weight for baking. This is so much easier. I love it. Love everything you do and your writing style :)

  130. britni

    Ohmygoodness! I stopped getting updates in my feed reader after your hiatus announcement (in December!) and wondered if you were ever coming back. So today I clicked on over to the site and lo! Here you were all the time!!! I’ve missed you so!

  131. AW

    Shauna,

    I understand to a certain extent where B is coming from. I stopped reading for awhile after you converted to cooking with weights. For some of us that were never bakers to begin with, it is a very intimidating concept. It was easier for me to get a loaf of Kinnikinnik and be done with it. Or just cheat when the craving got bad enough and just deal with the consequences later. (Stupid, I know.) But I kept coming back. I loved your writing. I loved that you put so much money and time and effort into your baking and THEN SHARED. Your goal was to share your wins and mistakes, in an effort to help us. You didn’t have to do that. It kept me coming back to read even though I wasn’t following your recipes anymore.

    And then one day, after an especially bad reaction, I just told myself to buck up and spend the $20/$30 on a scale and at least try. It took awhile to actually use it, but I finally set aside some time to make some muffins. Glorious. And I loved that with your ratios, I could use whatever flours I had on hand. I’m an out of the box COOK, but not an out of the box BAKER. If the recipe didn’t call for it, I would immediately freeze in fear. You inspired me to overcome the fear of baking a new way.

    Today, I am still struggling with some unresolved symptoms, thus not baking as often as I’d like. BUT…I AM NOT SCARED OF BAKING ANYMORE. It’s an amazing freeing feeling. AND it’s allowing me to take the next step that’s best for me: grain-free baking! It’s out there. Hopefully, I can eliminate some of the unresolved health issues through that.

    So, my advice to B: please be patient with yourself. Get a scale. Give it a shot. Try a recipe or two. If they fail miserably, then put the scale up and say you gave it a whirl. But don’t run away from Shauna simply because you’re nervous about something being drastically different than what you’re used to. I promise…if you’re even a fraction of the baker I NEVER was, then you’ll be shocked at how well measuring by weight works. It’ll change how you look at your baking techniques. It’ll give you more confidence in converting flours to suit your need or what you have available in your pantry. It’ll really change everything and for the positive. IF you give yourself some time to learn. Just don’t give up too soon like I did!

    Blessings,
    Andi

  132. Alison St. Sure

    Okay, okay, I’ll get a scale! Then I can pretend I’m a real baker. :) FYI, I’ve watched Pamela of Pamela’s Products do product development in her kitchen — she only uses a scale of course.

  133. Carol

    I agree with Carol S-B. Pretzel need a base bath, sometimes a lye bath or a soda bath. It totally infuses the dough with the saltiness and also gives pretzels their shine.

  134. Marissa

    I much much prefer going by grams, everything turns out so much better and I have success with just converting regular recipes. I am so thankful that you shared this with us!

  135. Cari

    As a reader from the UK, THANK YOU for switching to proper measurements. It’s so much easier to try recipes when I don’t have to convert from volume — takes away the guess work. I grew up baking with pounds and ounces, so cup measurements mean precisely nothing to me.

    (Also, a general thank you for sharing your recipes!).

  136. eric

    I found your website because I use grams when cooking/baking. I find 7 grams easier to understand than ¼ ounce is. What I find funny is whenever I take a cooking course I’m labeled an “engineer” as if wanting accuracy is part of high level brain function. I use a Tanita KD-200 scale when measuring most things but if accuracy is important then I have an Ohause triple beam… and mostly use that for seasonings such as oregano or cayenne.
    My pizza sauce seasoning only uses 4/10 gram of cayenne and anymore it burns those that have sensitive mouths. I’m on my fourth scale in 20 years of thrice daily use.

  137. Alessio

    Absolutely loved this post!
    I can’t agree more with you, too many people bake with cups and I’ve always found it so frustrating. Different types of cups, having to wash cups in between measuring because you’ve used them to measure other ingredients, and simply that using a scale is so much more accurate.
    Thanks for writing this, if you don’t mind I will post this on my blog as a very interesting read for people who bake with cups :)
    Cheers,
    Alessio

  138. Ryan

    You answered that in a mature and wise way and I love how you suggested a conversion chart and scales. Very helpful, thank you. I never doubted using weight, I’m actually pretty excited to try it out. Thank you for introducing me to the world of baking without a cup. I believe that measuring by weight has definately got to be more accurate than using a cup.

  139. Cyndy

    I have always had a scale in my kitchen.…but never found many recipes that use weight measurements. Alton Brown on his show was the only one I ever found recommending it. So I am glad to find your blog and start experimenting :) Thanks.….

  140. Jane

    Hi, I came across this posting late but find it interesting. I bake either by weight or by cups, I’m flexible. I’m not completely understanding the rationale here with gluten free flours though– for example in replacing 400 gms of flour in a Flour cookbook recipe with 400 gms of gluten free flour. Or.. say, if someone was corn intolerant and wanted to replace corn with sorghum– you say that replacing a given gm amount of corn flour with sorghum will work. Maybe I’m missing something but it doesn’t make sense to me. Gluten free flours all weigh differently, we can agree on that. So– if I replace for instance 120 gms corn flour with 120 gms sorghum flour…it is unlikely I will have the same amount of flour volume-wise. (same with replacing Flour recipes gm for fm with gluten free flours). It seems to me this would mess with fluids in the recipe, making the batter to dry or too wet. (or maybe not). I do bake by either method and am comfortable either way– but when converting a gluten recipe to gluten free.. I’ve tended to convert the gms to cups then go with the same cup amt in gluten free flours. It works well. (your method may too.. but I’m wondering how much the volume of flour differs– I could see diff of as much as 1/4 cup in volume depending on flour…??) Anyway some thoughts– interesting…

    1. shauna

      Jane, 120 grams is 120 grams. That is the same volume. If you replace cup for cup, then you have to worry that the batter will be too dry or wet.

  141. Russ

    People outside the US measure with cups?

    No, most of us Europeans have measured in weights for a LONG, LONG time, i.e. in Britain we’ve used proper weights for a very long time. I hate “cups” in recipes as there are at least 3 different cup sizes, American Metric, UK Imperial and/or Metric and something called the US customary cup.

    I have always weighed in pounds and ounces or grams and kilograms etc. I have a set of Scales I bought from a German chain shop called Lidl, which cost about £10–15 and does dry measurements in ounces and grams, water in mil and fl. ounces and milk in mil and fl. ounces.

    Anyone who insists you should use cups must love trying to get their recipes to work.. It has to be the most annoying and innacurate system to use when cooking, especially cakes and bread items.

  142. indigo

    Hooray! I wish more websites would use measurement in weights rather than cups. It’s more accurate, you get better results and I don’t have to get my head around the complicated US cup system.

  143. Lloyd Ronick

    I know I’m a bit late to this party, but I wanted to “weigh in” to this discussion. I’m a fairly serious home cook, and I agree with all of the pro-scale comments for baking. But, why do so many other recipes continue to use volume (or other equally inaccurate) measurements when weight would more accurate. For example, what’s “2 medium onions”? I know most recipes won’t be ruined by a bit more or less onion, but I’d like to be able to make the recipe the way the writer intended, and then make adjustments to my tastes. Even worse, I once tried to make a recipe written by a “star” chef in his cookbook that called for 1 cup of grated fontina cheese. It turned out horribly, because, I suppose, the chef had packed the cheese into the cup a lot harder than I had. Why not “8 ounces of fontina cheese, grated”? Let’s start a movement (at least here in the U.S.) to ban the “cup”. “8 fluid ounces of milk” works for me.

  144. M

    WOW, someone won’t read your blog anymore simply because you don’t measure in cups? I can’t believe that people are STILL using cups—I have a kitchen scale that I brought back from UK (for 5 pounds!) and I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IT!!! My baked goods are AMAZING and whenever I buy a cookbook or look for recipes online, it must have grams/oz or I won’t use the recipe!!! I am looking forward to reading more of your blog and HOORAY FOR SCALES!

  145. Angela Lacerda

    Dearest Shauna,
    I also want to thank for being concerned about us all having our recipes work out well. I am from Brazil and I´ve been gluten free for almost 8 months now. And happy to get recipes measured in grams! Best of luck to you always!
    Angela

  146. Amy

    I’ve been trying to figure out if flour is something that you can substitute 1:1 for all-purpose flours in recipes. For example, I have Bob’s Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour – can I just use it like regular flour?

  147. Anne

    My sister, the dietitian, converted all her recipes to weight years ago. It really does make a huge difference in the final product.

  148. Jens

    I also have all my recipes in weight, cause flour would be different weights if it’s composed or not. Like flue things have diffenrent weight if it’s hot or cold.

  149. Charlotte

    Just found your website and am looking forward to try your recipes. I think it is awesome that you are playing with the flours to get it right. I know I’ve thrown out so many failed attempts. I hope you have a good pizza dough recipe. Thanks :)

  150. annie

    I personally feel like the opposite of this woman.

    I went to baking school, and ever since then I can’t bake without weights.
    Naturally I get really annoyed when I’m watching a video online of a recipe, and I use all the same measurements, and my dough comes out sopping wet while in the video, the dough is night and dry looking, because you never know if when they make their recipes, if they are the type of cook to pack down their cups or not.

    and besides, it’s sooo much easier to scale down recipes. you can scale weights down by any fraction, but you can’t scale a teaspoon into 1/6ths, or you can’t really accurately measure 2/7s of a cup

    which I do measurements like that a lot because I make cupcakes for 2 :)