Home Ec: How to Measure Ingredients Properly

There is nothing I like more than cooking with a room full of children who are eager to learn. I was so pleased these five young girls wanted to come over to learn how to make The Biscuit King’s biscuit recipe while visiting over Thanksgiving break. Their little adventure turned into a Home Ec lesson.

home ec making biscuits

Some of the things we talked about:

1) Wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song.

2) Set out all your ingredients on the countertop before you get started.

3) In addition to lining roasting pans with parchment paper, you can place them under any workspace for easy cleanup. A box of 1000 sheets can be purchased for $40 at restaurant supply stores.

4) How to measure dry ingredients:
Lightly spoon flour into a one-cup “dry measure” until it is heaped above the rim.
home ec making biscuits

Sweep the flat edge of a knife across the rim; what remains is a level cup of flour.
home ec making biscuits

Measure salt in the same way, carefully filling the measuring spoon so it overflows a little and then using a knife to level the top. Never measure directly over your mixing bowl, tempting as that may be.
home ec making biscuits

5) How to measure fats (Crisco, lard or butter):
Using a spatula, place a blob of shortening into a measuring cup and pack it in. Use a knife to remove the excess shortening.
home ec making biscuits

6) Mixing ingredients:
Using two forks, or a pastry blender to mix the fat into the dry ingredients.
home ec making biscuits
home ec making biscuits

Mix until the flour feels crumbly and the pieces are about the size of baby peas.
home ec making biscuits

7) How to measure liquid ingredients:
“Liquid measures” are pitchers, made of glass or plastic, with a spout for pouring. To use, place the pitcher on a level surface, and measure liquid using the gradation marks on the side of the glass. Liquid measuring cups are used to measure volume not weight. In this case, we are measuring 8 fluid ounces of buttermilk.
home ec making biscuits

8) The girls stirred the ingredients together for 15-20 strokes, just enough to get all the ingredients moist. Do not overmix or the gluten protein in the flour will start to stretch and become sticky resulting in tough biscuits.home ec making biscuits

9) Each girl scooped their dough up and placed it on a sheet of floured parchment paper.
home ec making biscuits
The dough was a little too sticky to manage so the girls added more flour to their hands, the rolling surface, and the biscuit cutters. They rolled the dough out until it was ¾ of an inch thick.
home ec making biscuits

10) The girls used a floured 2-inch biscuit cutter to shape the biscuits. Some of the dough was a little too sticky so we dropped it by the spoonful onto the baking sheet rather than continue to add flour and mix further.
home ec making biscuits

This was fine. The biscuits were all delicious! Fantastic job, girls!
home ec making biscuits

On measuring flour:
Many of my grandmother’s old recipes list flour measurements in pounds instead of cups. Here’s a little cheat sheet to help you with pounds to cups conversions. dsc_0055

Special thanks to my lovely group of budding chefs who are in grades two through seven: Sirina, Amelia, Lara, Leela, and Ana! Special guest appearance by Alexander.

Other kitchen how-tos on the blog:
How to Tell If an Egg Is Fresh or Hard-Boiled
The Navel Mary Way: How to Peel an Orange
Cookie Scoops as a Unit of Measure
How to Make a Thaw Detector for the Freezer
Got Jellybeans? Your Sense of Smell
How to Clean the Splash Guard of Your Garbage Disposer

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8 thoughts on “Home Ec: How to Measure Ingredients Properly

  1. Always great fun to cook and teach the young ones. I am going to use the biscuit receipe this weekend with gravy for Roger.

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