Bread dough too dry? Cookie dough too heavy? You probably didn’t aerate your flour.
The two cups in this photo are exactly the same size. The left (red) one contains flour that I aerated, scooped into the cup, and leveled off with the back of a knife. The right (blue) one I did NOT aerate, just scooped it into the cup, and leveled it off with the back of a knife. Then I weighed the flour from both cups.
You can see that the flour that was aerated (red) weighs less than the NOT aerated flour (blue) and that’s because flour settles in the bag or container and if you measure it without aerating, you will probably be using too much flour. This can cause baking problems, especially if you consider that 3 cups of flour, that should weigh 13 1/2 ounces might weigh 15 3/4 ounces if not aerated before measuring. That’s exactly 1/2 cup more flour than you need!
Oh… one more thing. Aerating is not sifting. To aerate flour, you simply stir it around in the container with a spoon or spatula to incorporate some air. You can see how I aerate flour in my Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake video at the one minute mark: Click here to see it. I hope this is helpful and you have great results with all your baking. ? – Jenny Jones
Flour must be aerated before measuring because it often settles in the bag or container making it heavy and compact, resulting in too much flour being measured. Aerating basically means fluffing it up and is not the same as sifting. Flour should not be sifted before measuring unless the recipe states to do so. Otherwise sifting will result in too little flour being measured.
If you dip into flour without aerating, you will be getting too much flour and your dough will be too dry. To aerate flour you simply stir it around with a spoon before measuring. To measure, be sure to use a flat-topped dry measuring cup. You can see how I aerate flour in my Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake video at the one minute mark: Click here to see it.
After aerating, there are two ways to measure the flour: 1) Scoop & Level – Gently scoop the flour up with a spoon and sprinkle it into your measuring cup until it’s mounded above the rim. Do not tap the cup or the container of flour. Finally, level off the excess flour with the back of a knife. 2) Dip & Level – Gently dip your measuring cup into the flour until it’s mounded above the rim and level off the excess flour with the back of a knife. In my kitchen, a cup of flour weighs 4 1/2 ounces (130 grams).