What you need to know about traditional Pyrex style liquid measuring cups vs the Easy Read Measuring cups. The subtle differences can make or break a gluten free baking recipe and you need to know why!
Hello friends! Hope you are having a great week! Today’s post in my mind is very important for all of you to read because it will help you achieve more success in baking. I find it my job, my mission to make gluten free baking easier for you, but sometimes in order to do that I have to make you aware of when it might not make your life easier.
Okay, so back story, during cooking classes all through middle school and high school (yes they did those back in my day) and also in classes at cooking school, I learned that you use high quality glass measuring cups or Pyrex glass measuring cups for measuring liquids ingredients. So this is what I have used for 20 years. For liquid measurements, you fill the ingredient to the line, get eye level with the glass and make sure the liquid is exactly level with the line. Being eye level is important for an accurate measurement. Over the years, several companies have come out with a liquid measuring cup that has the measurement on the inside spout of the glass, claiming you don’t need to get eye level, you just look down at the glass and if the ingredient is level with the line then it is accurate. I have been skeptical of the accuracy of these cups for many years.
A couple weeks ago, a friend invited me to her Pampered Chef Party. I love going to Pampered Chef parties and my kitchen is filled with all sorts of kitchen gadgets that I have collected over the last 20 years. My favorite gadget is the tart shaper. Yes, the mini tart shaper. It’s about $6.00 or so and basically you roll about a 1 1/2 inch ball of pie dough and place it into a non stick mini muffin tin. Then you use the shaper to press into the center of the dough, and then lift up. It forms the perfect mini pie crust even on all sides and saves time, makes perfect shaped mini pies, and saves your fingers from getting sore too. When I go to gluten free shows or baking demonstrations I will often bring mini pies and I will make about 400-500 of these pies. Believe me, this little $6 wooden gadget saves the day and it is worth the investment.
So, I got off subject, now back to the topic at hand. At the party, they were demonstrating their liquid measuring cups that you can measure and see the measurement by looking directly down and lining the liquid with the inside line, by just looking down, no need to bend down to eye level. These cups have been around for a few years and they now come in 3 different sizes, the 1 cup size the 2 cup size and the 4 cup size. They are very attractive looking and they nestle inside each other, making it easy and efficient to store in your cupboards. I was still skeptical on whether they are accurate with measurements, but I wanted to try them out.
I have Multiple Sclerosis and Trigeminal Neuralgia, so bending down, leaning down and standing back up is very difficult for me. It makes me very dizzy and sometimes I will fall or get extreme neuralgia pain from the movements or even pass out. So I was thinking that having a measuring cup like this would be convenient for someone like me, preventing the amount of times I need to bend down and stand back up. So I reluctantly and excitedly ordered the cups, being extremely hopeful that they would work out, be accurate and make my baking easier and safer.
So they arrived this week. Today I was showing my mom when she came over about how excited I was about being able to bend down less when in the kitchen. We decided to test them out to see if they were really accurate.
So first, I measured out one cup of juice into the Pyrex liquid measuring cup, like I normally do, bending down at eye level to ensure it was exact on the line. The I measured out in the Pampered Chef liquid cup, by pouring the liquid from the Pyrex cup into the Pampered Chef cup, making sure every drop got in. The one cup measure, measured just slightly above the line on the inside measurement. Wanting to make sure I was doing it right, I was told that I should be able to stand and look directly down to see if the measurement was correct, and indeed it showed slightly higher than the 1 cup measurement line. Not too much higher but slightly higher. I took about 1- 1 ½ tsp. of liquid out to have it line up.
Then I poured that cup of liquid into the 2 cup measure of the Pampered Chef set. It measured correctly, keeping in mind the 1 ½ extra tsp. of liquid was still set aside. Then I poured that liquid into the large 4 cup measurement cup, and the measurement showed under the line. So we added the reserved “over” liquid back in to the 4 cup measurement and it was still under. We ended needing to add a little more than an extra tablespoon of liquid plus the original overage of 1 ½ tsp. of liquid that was over originally from the first measurements.
To make sure I was measuring correctly, I used a separate Pyrex cup, and did it again, with the same results. Then I measured water instead of juice and achieved the same results. Then I measure other measurements on the cups. The 1/2 measurement on each of the 1 cup and 2 cup size cups measured correctly, but the 1/2 cup measurement of the 4 cup measurement was way off, about 2 Tablespoons short.
NOTE: Since Pampered Chef heard of this they are taking it to their quality control department and apologized. They sent me a book of Gluten Free Recipes, Gluten Free Bread Mix and another gift. So just be sure to check whichever brand you get for accuracy.
In the case where the measurements were off by 1-2 teaspoons, I think you can get away with that considering the benefit of the doubt with how you measured the liquid or dry ingredients. However, when you get to a measuring cup that has 2 Tablespoons of error or more then you really need to rethink using that measuring cup when you are measuring ingredients for baking.
The truth is when baking 1-2 Tablespoons of extra or missing liquid or even dry ingredients can really throw off a baking recipe. It can result is too dry of a product, too moist of a product, sunken middles, gooey centers, dry and crumbly textures or even cardboardy textures. Yes, 2 tablespoons can cause that. Not with every type of recipe but with a lot, whether you are measuring liquid or dry ingredients its important to measure correctly.
So all in all, I am a little disappointed with my new measuring cups. I was truly hoping to find a solution to me bending down so much in the kitchen. All in all, I think the 1 cup size and the 2 cup size are pretty close and will work. But I am not comfortable using the 4 cup size to measure out accurate liquid ingredients for baking dishes. I also know that there are several brands that make similar style cups as these, not just Pampered Chef. I encourage you if you have any of these brands to perform a similar test for accuracy, especially if you have been having trouble with your recipes turning out and adjust them as necessary. I have not tried other brands to see if they are accurate. If you have other brands that are accurate, please let me know so I can check them out. They would make it my baking experience easier considering my health issues. For me…for now…for liquid measurements, I am going to stick with the old fashioned, tried and true, Pyrex glass measuring cup.
Now on the POSITIVE side. I love how the cups come in 3 different sizes. I love the attractive shapes. I think they will work perfectly for cooking recipes, like dinner recipes, because they do not require the accuracy that baking does. I think they will be perfect for measuring out a slew of other types of ingredients where you are trying to get an estimated amount measured out, for example shredded cheese, shredded or chopped vegetable, fruit and nut pieces. So they will still be great measuring cups for those types of things. They also look classy and they nestle inside each other for easy and efficient storage in your cupboard.
Please note, that I am not trying to insult Pamper Chef in this post. This post is to merely point out a specific type of measuring cups that needed to be checked for accuracy. It is a lesson on being proactive in your baking and making sure the products you are using are accurate. I have sent Pampered Chef a message to tell them of the inaccuracies that I found in their measuring cups. It is very possible, I just got a misprinted one. I am open to them replacing them with an accurate set. I hope that is the case and it’s a simple fix. If not, hopefully, they will choose to fix their line of cups and make them accurate.
I hope this post teaches you the importance of checking measurements. And if you are having trouble with recipes not turning out, this is a great place to start to check for measurement accuracy and even user accuracy in measuring. Another great thing to check if your recipes aren’t turning out is your oven temperature. You would be amazed at how many ovens aren’t heating to the exact temperature you need or even overheating. You can fix this by buying an oven thermometer.
Just another last note: Pampered Chef has some amazing kitchen products and so many that I love. So please don’t deter this from buying from them. This is merely a post to discuss this particular item, the stackable easy read measuring cups.