Weight vs Volume measurement

Last month I posted a recipe for handmade pasta {Pasta Dough, Positano Style}.  I got a comment that I should convert the metric measurement into volume measurements since that is what we are used to in the US.  My reply to that suggestion is I want to use the most reliable and consistent measurements in order to get the same results each time I cook.  Yes, I have a degree in Chemistry, but even if I didn't, I realize accuracy matters when you are in the kitchen especially when making pasta dough, pie crusts, and cakes.  

So, I did an experiment measuring 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt using volume measuring cups/spoons and then weighing the product to see if there really is a difference in the measurements.  I measured each item 3 times for improved reliability.  By looking at the ingredient list on the sides of each package (flour, granulated sugar, and kosher salt) I determined that 1 cup of flour should weigh 120 grams, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar weighs 96 grams, and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt weighs 4.8 grams.  

When preparing the flour for measurement, I used a tablespoon to scoop the flour into the 1 cup measuring cup, then leveled the measuring cup with a back of a knife.  When measuring the sugar and salt, I poured a heaping amount into each respective measuring cup and leveled with a back of knife.

Here are the results.  The weight measurement for 1 level cup of all-purpose flour = 136 grams in trial 1, 134 grams in trial 2, and 129 grams in trial 3.  That is a difference of 7 grams, which is approximately 1 tablespoon of flour.  Not only was there a variance of 7 grams between the 3 different trials, but each measurement was above the actual determined amount (120 grams) anywhere from 9 to 16 grams. 

Next, I  discovered that the weight measurement for a level 1/2 cup of granulated sugar = 100 grams in trial 1, 101 grams in trial 2, and 100 grams in trial 3.  There wasn't much variance between the 3 trials, but again each trial was over the actual determined weight (96 grams) by 4 to 5 grams.  

Finally, I measured 1 level teaspoon of Kosher salt and my results = 5 grams in trial 1, 5 grams in trial 2, and 4 grams in trial 3.  The salt trial was the most accurate compared to the actual determined weight (4.8 grams).  

Hopefully your eyes aren't glazed over from all the science stuff.  But, here is what you should remember.  Weighing items is always more reliable and accurate than using measuring cups/spoons.  If you enjoy being in the kitchen and cook/bake often, again I recommend buying a scale.  You will come to love this tool.  If you don't cook or bake a lot, buy a scale, maybe you'll enjoy your cooking more {hee, hee}.