Baking can often be a very precise science, so exact measurements are usually called for. Many bakers prefer to weigh their dry ingredients, as this often gives a more accurate measurement.
However, if you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can still easily measure your flour.
Use a Measuring Cup
Using a standard measuring cup is the easiest and most accurate way to measure flour without a scale. To measure flour with measuring cups, you’ll first need to know how much a cup of flour weighs, and then figure out how many cups you need.
One cup of flour weighs about 125 grams. This means that you’ll need just over 1 and a half cups of flour to reach 200 grams.
If you can, use a measuring cup intended for dry ingredients. These are usually plastic and are often found in a set.
Cups for measuring wet ingredients, which are often larger and made of clear glass or plastic, may give you a slightly different weight.
Use Spoons or Tablespoons
If you don’t have a measuring cup, you can still use tablespoons to measure out 1 and a half cups or 200 grams. There are 16 tablespoons in 1 cup, so use your tablespoon to measure out 24 tablespoons.
To get even closer to exactly 200 grams, you might want to add an extra tablespoon or two.
You can also use regular dinner spoons to measure if you don’t have a measuring spoon set. If you’re using a dinner spoon, don’t level the top, but instead, let the flour you scoop up form a little mound on the spoon.
One dinner spoon is equal to about 1 tablespoon.
You can also use a dessert spoon or another small spoon to measure out teaspoons. There are 3 teaspoons in 1 tablespoon, so you’ll need about 72 teaspoons.
Using a dinner or dessert spoon isn’t the most accurate measuring method, but it will work well enough to get you close if you don’t have any other measuring tools.
Use a Coffee Mug
If you don’t have any measuring tools at all, you can use a standard coffee mug to measure flour. Try to choose a mug that’s of average size.
Don’t pick a teacup or anything very large. You’re aiming for a mug that’s about 8 ounces in size. Most standard coffee mugs range from 8 to 12 ounces.
You can double-check how much your mug holds by filling it with water from a 12-ounce water bottle, or with any drink from a full bottle that’s marked with its size.
If the water bottle fills the mug, your mug holds about 12 ounces.
Once you’ve figured out how much your mug holds, dry it and spoon the flour into it. If the mug is a bit too large, only fill it to 3/4 full. If you think it’s an 8-ounce mug, go ahead and fill it nearly to the top.
Give the mug a little shake to level the flour, and then add the flour to your recipe.
The coffee mug method is the least accurate way to measure dry ingredients. It’s best for recipes that call for a range of flour to be added.
If you’re baking a very precise cake or cookie recipe, it may not work as well.
Whenever you’re measuring flour without a scale, it’s very important to remember to fluff the flour before you add it to the measuring utensil. You can use a spoon, fork, or sifter to fluff the flour.
Then, use a spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring container or bowl. Don’t dip the measuring cup or mug into the flour directly, as this compacts the flour. If your flour is compacted, it will weigh much more than a cup typically does, and your recipe will be affected.
Compacted flour can weigh almost 1.5 times more than fluffed or sifted flour.
If you’re using a measuring cup or tablespoon, use a flat object, such as the back of a butter knife, to level the flour. Simply hold the knife with the blade up and run the back across the surface of the cup, scraping away any excess flour.
Different Types of Flour
There are many different types of flour, and all of them will vary very slightly in weight, so it’s a good idea to keep that in mind when measuring without a scale.
All-purpose flour is the most common, as it can be used for nearly anything, and it’s this that most recipes call for. It’s also shelf-stable, so it has a longer shelf life.
Whole wheat flour, which is used for a variety of recipes, is a bit denser than all-purpose flour. Pastry and cake flours, on the other hand, utilize softer wheat varieties and are milled to be very fine, resulting in a more tender final product, so they sometimes weigh a bit less.