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Measuring Spoon Accuracy

Aberwacky's picture

This is something that I never questioned until this morning.  I have three sets (different manufacturers) and noticed that the tablespoons seemed to be different sizes.


So, I put a tablespoon of salt in what seemed to be the largest one, leveled the top and then poured that into what seemed to be the smallest one.  Sure enough, it didn't all fit.


How do we know what a tablespoon really is?  This could explain a lot about my baking (LOL).


Leigh


 


Just because your children were born in the South doesn't make them Southerners.  If a cat has kittens in the oven, does that make them biscuits?

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
debe5t's picture

(post #54762, reply #28 of 42)

Sounds yummy! I will get back on my positive dough track.Deb

ChefRobert's picture

(post #54762, reply #32 of 42)

Deb, it was yummy.  Used the pizza crust recipe from our food processor booklet, but made it by hand and with half the EVOO, then let the dough refrigerate overnight to develop flavor.  Really good.  Where are you going in Maine?  Bob

What do you mean there is no chocolate in this recipe!

What do you mean there is no chocolate in this recipe!

Aberwacky's picture

(post #54762, reply #21 of 42)

Bread-making is much more forgiving than other kinds of baking.  Forge ahead, m'dear! The FC pizza dough is as simple as it gets, too, so don't worry. 


Even after my terrifying discovery yesterday (G), I made the FC pizza dough last night, and brownies to boot.  With mixed sets of measuring spoons, no less.  Go for it!


Leigh


 


Just because your children were born in the South doesn't make them Southerners.  If a cat has kittens in the oven, does that make them biscuits?

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
debe5t's picture

(post #54762, reply #30 of 42)

Yes....I will do it!  Just after I get back from a few days in Maine.Deb

MEANCHEF's picture

(post #54762, reply #7 of 42)

I can't remember where I saw this article, but it was a comparison of the volumes of about 10 different readily available tablespoons from measuring sets.  Every one was slightly different.

schnitzel's picture

(post #54762, reply #10 of 42)

I remember that, it was in Gourmet magazine:
http://www.epicurious.com/features/illustrated_guides/tablespoons/spoons


~Amy      Cooks Talk T&T Recipes

"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude."  —Julia Child
MEANCHEF's picture

(post #54762, reply #11 of 42)

Sometimes you can be downright freaky. LOL

Marcia's picture

(post #54762, reply #23 of 42)

There was an article in Gourmet a couple of years ago about the inaccuracy of measuring spoons. You could have seen it on Epicurious, though I imagine there were discussion elsewhere.


Sorry,  I should have read more of the thread. Amy is amazing.


Edited 7/22/2005 12:26 pm ET by Marcia

knittermom's picture

(post #54762, reply #8 of 42)

Weighing it would be accurate if you have a scale that can weigh out 15 grams with good precision. if your scale doesn't go down to 15 grams, measure multiple spoonfuls until you are in range. You will be presumably introducing some variation into your measurement (it would be better to weigh the contents of one spoon many times), but if you use the same technique with all the spoons, it will average out and you should get a pretty good idea of which set is the closest.

I have some old pipettors from the lab, but they haven't been calibrated in so long, I don't know if they'd be even close!

Kris

favorablyimpressed's picture

(post #54762, reply #13 of 42)

Yes, there is a discrepency between measuring spoons.  I have three sets, but only use one now that I've compared them all.  Here is an article that appeared in Cooks Illustrated a few months ago.


Measuring Spoons    Add to Favorites
Written: 2/2005

Click here for an update. For related information, see our review of Pinch, Dash, and Smidgen Measuring Spoons.

Measuring spoons don't usually get a lot of consideration: bought once and done. But have you ever wondered if your set of spoons was accurate? Would an expensive set do a better job? To find out, the test kitchen purchased ten different sets of measuring spoons, made from both plastic and stainless steel, ranging in price from $1.99 to $14.99.

First, we wanted to determine whether the spoons measured accurately. According to the Office of Weights and Measures, a division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a true tablespoon of water should weigh precisely 14.742 grams. We filled each of the spoons with water and then weighed the water to see how close the measurement came to the official standard.

We also assessed each set of measuring spoons for durability. Would the spoons break under pressure? Melt? Dent? We also looked at usability: Was it easy to level the spoons when measuring dry ingredients? Was it easy to fill the spoons with liquid?

We were prepared for large differences in degree of accuracy but found none. All of the spoons weighed in within a few hundredths of grams of the official standard—not enough to compromise even the most exacting recipe. But technical accuracy does not always beget accurate measurement. If a spoon cannot be leveled easily, for instance, or if it is dented, accuracy is compromised. Usability and durability are therefore the true determinants of accuracy.

In terms of usability, testers preferred spoons with deeper bowls as opposed to those with narrow and elongated or wide and shallow bowls. Shallow bowls allowed more liquid to spill as the result of a slight misstep or unsteady hand. The narrow, elongated bowls made dipping and scooping into anything but a very deep container impossible. Many spoons were difficult to level cleanly—some had bumps along the rim of the bowl, and others had handles that did not meet the bowl neatly. (To level, we used the back of a dinner knife, sliding along the base of the handle, onto the bowl.)

In terms of durability, all testers preferred stainless steel spoons—plastic models, no matter how thick, felt flimsy and more likely to break, bend, crack, or melt. Heavier stainless steel models were sturdier and therefore less likely to become dented or scratched. In the end, we found a heavy-duty stainless steel set of spoons that fit the bill and cost just $4.

CHART: Rating Measuring Spoons
We tested ten sets of measuring spoons made from a variety of materials. We assessed durability and usability (how easy was it to measure and level dry ingredients? Were liquid ingredients more or less likely to spill over the edge? Spoon sets are listed in order of preference.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
1. Progressive International Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set $3.99
The easiest to level and fill, so they also proved to be the most consistent in terms of accuracy. Sturdy and firm.

RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
2. Oneida 18/8 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set $14.99
Easy to level and extremely sturdy. Spoons could not be linked together and measurement label was on the underside of the handle.

3. Rowoco Long Handle Measuring Spoons $5.99
Long handles were useful when reaching into deep or narrow containers. However, the handle curved down before meeting the bowl, which made leveling more difficult.

4. Progressive Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons with Colored Handles $2.99
The wide, shallow bowls made measuring difficult, as did the handles, which curved down to meet the bowl.

5. Oneida Plastic Heat Resistant Colourgrip Measuring Spoons $5.99
Best of the plastic models because of the spoons' good grip and deep bowls.

6. Pyrex Plastic Measuring Spoon Set $1.99
Firmer plastic than most models, with a 25-year guarantee—second best among the plastic models.

7. Good Cook's Collection Stainless Measuring Spoons $2.49
Our least favorite stainless spoons. A slight misstep and most of the contents were lost from extra-wide, shallow bowls. Thin steel makes spoons easy to bend or dent.

8. Oxo Good Grips Plastic Measuring Spoon Set $2.99
These plastic spoons were flimsy and light with bowls that scratched quickly.

NOT RECOMMENDED
9. Pyrex Professional Clear Spice Jar Measuring Spoon Set $4.99
These clear plastic spoons with extra-long, narrow bowls were unusually difficult to work with. Bumpy, uneven plastic ridge on bowl rims made leveling very difficult.

10. Kitchen Art Adjust-a-Spoon Measuring Spoon $3.99
This single plastic spoon has a sliding level for each measurement. Dry and wet ingredients became trapped inside the hollow base and the pushing mechanism was sticky and slow.

Ricks503's picture

(post #54762, reply #41 of 42)

Here is that article from cooks on measuring sppons, as well as the info on measuring cups:


 


Measuring Spoons
 
Click here for an update. For related information, see our review of Pinch, Dash, and Smidgen Measuring Spoons.


Measuring spoons don't usually get a lot of consideration: bought once and done. But have you ever wondered if your set of spoons was accurate? Would an expensive set do a better job? To find out, the test kitchen purchased ten different sets of measuring spoons, made from both plastic and stainless steel, ranging in price from $1.99 to $14.99.

First, we wanted to determine whether the spoons measured accurately. According to the Office of Weights and Measures, a division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a true tablespoon of water should weigh precisely 14.742 grams. We filled each of the spoons with water and then weighed the water to see how close the measurement came to the official standard.

We also assessed each set of measuring spoons for durability. Would the spoons break under pressure? Melt? Dent? We also looked at usability: Was it easy to level the spoons when measuring dry ingredients? Was it easy to fill the spoons with liquid?

We were prepared for large differences in degree of accuracy but found none. All of the spoons weighed in within a few hundredths of grams of the official standard—not enough to compromise even the most exacting recipe. But technical accuracy does not always beget accurate measurement. If a spoon cannot be leveled easily, for instance, or if it is dented, accuracy is compromised. Usability and durability are therefore the true determinants of accuracy.

In terms of usability, testers preferred spoons with deeper bowls as opposed to those with narrow and elongated or wide and shallow bowls. Shallow bowls allowed more liquid to spill as the result of a slight misstep or unsteady hand. The narrow, elongated bowls made dipping and scooping into anything but a very deep container impossible. Many spoons were difficult to level cleanly—some had bumps along the rim of the bowl, and others had handles that did not meet the bowl neatly. (To level, we used the back of a dinner knife, sliding along the base of the handle, onto the bowl.)

In terms of durability, all testers preferred stainless steel spoons—plastic models, no matter how thick, felt flimsy and more likely to break, bend, crack, or melt. Heavier stainless steel models were sturdier and therefore less likely to become dented or scratched. In the end, we found a heavy-duty stainless steel set of spoons that fit the bill and cost just $4.

CHART: Rating Measuring Spoons
We tested ten sets of measuring spoons made from a variety of materials. We assessed durability and usability (how easy was it to measure and level dry ingredients? Were liquid ingredients more or less likely to spill over the edge? Spoon sets are listed in order of preference.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
1. Progressive International Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set $3.99
The easiest to level and fill, so they also proved to be the most consistent in terms of accuracy. Sturdy and firm.

RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
2. Oneida 18/8 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoon Set $14.99
Easy to level and extremely sturdy. Spoons could not be linked together and measurement label was on the underside of the handle.

3. Rowoco Long Handle Measuring Spoons $5.99
Long handles were useful when reaching into deep or narrow containers. However, the handle curved down before meeting the bowl, which made leveling more difficult.

4. Progressive Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons with Colored Handles $2.99
The wide, shallow bowls made measuring difficult, as did the handles, which curved down to meet the bowl.

5. Oneida Plastic Heat Resistant Colourgrip Measuring Spoons $5.99
Best of the plastic models because of the spoons' good grip and deep bowls.

6. Pyrex Plastic Measuring Spoon Set $1.99
Firmer plastic than most models, with a 25-year guarantee—second best among the plastic models.

7. Good Cook's Collection Stainless Measuring Spoons $2.49
Our least favorite stainless spoons. A slight misstep and most of the contents were lost from extra-wide, shallow bowls. Thin steel makes spoons easy to bend or dent.

8. Oxo Good Grips Plastic Measuring Spoon Set $2.99
These plastic spoons were flimsy and light with bowls that scratched quickly.

NOT RECOMMENDED
9. Pyrex Professional Clear Spice Jar Measuring Spoon Set $4.99
These clear plastic spoons with extra-long, narrow bowls were unusually difficult to work with. Bumpy, uneven plastic ridge on bowl rims made leveling very difficult.

10. Kitchen Art Adjust-a-Spoon Measuring Spoon $3.99
This single plastic spoon has a sliding level for each measurement. Dry and wet ingredients became trapped inside the hollow base and the pushing mechanism was sticky and slow.

Dry Measuring Cups

 
Click here for an Update. For related information, see our reviews of  Disparate Measures, Adjustable Measuring Cups.


Measuring cups are necessities in the kitchen; without them, even the simplest cookie recipe would be comprised. Kitchen stores offer a wide range of measuring cups, from those with rubber comfort grips on their handles to heavy-gauge aluminum and stainless steel. We wondered if one kind of cup would be easier or more efficient to use than another. To find out, we put eight readily available measuring-cup sets to the test and came up with clear guidelines for your next purchase. Prices ranged from $2.99 to $19.99.

We tested every individual measuring cup by measuring flour and sugar with our favored "dip and sweep" method (dipping the cup into the bin, scooping out a heaping cupful, then leveling the cup with the straight side of a knife or icing spatula). While dipping and sweeping, we paid particular attention to cup construction - our measuring cups need to stand up to hundreds of repeated dips in the flour or sugar bin. Given the uncompromising nature of baking, accuracy was also important, so we weighed each cup of flour to make sure they all maintained the standard weight of 5 ounces of flour per cup.

Across the board, measured weights were remarkably consistent. We found that the precision of measurements depended more on the consistency of the measuring method than on the construction of the cups themselves.

 We did find, however, that a sturdy handle is critical to successful dipping and sweeping. Some plastic handles actually bent when the cup was full. (They seemed likely to snap under extra pressure - say, when measuring shortening.) Other handles were simply too short, forcing the hand to snuggle close to the cup and get covered in flour. More than one set was so heavy-handled that the cups tipped over when sitting on the counter-annoying when cups are empty and a disaster when full. Sturdy, riveted stainless steel handles were highly rated and preferred.

 Material played a dual role in the usefulness of a cup, affecting both sturdiness and ease of cleaning. Plastic failed to impress on both counts. It's more likely to melt if you inadvertently place it near a heat source or to warp in a particularly hot dishwasher. Plastic models were also troublesome when it came to cleaning. They are more likely to scratch, creating rough surfaces that cause bits of sugar or flour to stick. Our testers universally preferred heavy-guage metal. It stood up to heavy dipping and resisted any type of scratch or ding.

If you're looking for a measuring cup that offers ease of use and longevity, choose one with a long, sturdy handle and a heavy, well-constructed base. The cup will make measuring a breeze and give you years of use.

 RATING DRY MEASURING CUPS:
We rated eight sets of measuring cups by repeating "dip and sweep" measurements of flour and sugar hundreds of times. (We dipped the cup into a bin of flour or sugar, scooped up a heaping cupful, then leveled the contents with the straight edge of an icing spatula.) The cups are listed in order of preference.

RECOMMENDED
1. Amco Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
$12.99
Heavy and sturdy: downgraded only for the handle, which meets the cup below the top, making leveling more difficult.

RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
2. Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
$19.99
Sturdy but heavy comfort-grip handles cause the cups to tip over when empty and balance precariously when full. They do not nestle together well and must be wrestled apart.

RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
3. Fox Run Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
$6.99
Good set for infrequent use; the metal is thinner than in other models and the handles less securley riveted, imparting a flimsy feel and an occasional tip-over.

NOT RECOMMENDED
4. Oneida 18/8 Stainless Steel Measuring Cups
$19.99
Shiny, sturdy, and an interesting design, but not very functional-downgraded for small handles and measurement marks printed on the bottom of the bowl instead of the sides of the cup or the handles.

NOT RECOMMENDED
5. Oneida Colour Grip Measuring Cups
$7.99
Nice grip, good leveling, and heat-resistant plastic material, but the color-coded handles bent while scooping flour from a bint.

NOT RECOMMENDED
6. Oxo Good Grips Measuring Cups
$4.99
Very light and flimsy feeling, with easily scratched black plastic. The cups tip over when empty and they are not easy to level because the rim edge is too thick.

NOT RECOMMENDED
7. Pyrex Accessories Measuring Cups
$2.99
Very short, awkward handles are hard to grip, especially when scooping flour from a bin. Easily scratched plastic surface is difficult to clean.

 NOT RECOMMENDED
8. Pyrex Accessories ProfessionalClear Measuring Cups
$9.99


1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

bookwyrm73's picture

(post #54762, reply #42 of 42)

Don't feel bad, guys.  I found out yesterday that my oven runs almost 75 degrees too hot.  Gotta love government housing.  I finally broke down and bought an oven thermometer and checked.  It's amazing that, with all of the baking that I do, ANYTHING has come out better than disastrous!


I don't have the heart to check my measuring spoons now.  *sigh*


 


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