You would think measuring spoons and cups were the same everywhere, well they’re not. Our Australian standard for a tablespoon is 20ml, American is 14.76 and in the UK its 17.75 millilitres. I’ve noticed in many shops where you can purchase kitchenware the standards on this equipment are all over the place. Measuring equipment is made all over the world and in most cases, the seller is totally unaware that they’re selling different standards all on the same shelf.
Now don’t go off in a panic yet. It’s ok as long as all your measuring equipment is in the same format because if you’re reading a recipe and it’s in spoons and cups you’ll be using like for like. So when it comes to things that are usually added by tsp, tablespoon etc they’re pretty important. At least make sure you have the same standard across your equipment and be aware of what the standard is so you can make recipe adjustments.
Why? Because ingredients that are added in small amounts are usually powerful ingredients that create big results. For example, salt, baking soda, baking powder and so on, or if your recipe calls for 3 cups of plain flour then you could also be way out. Aussie cups 250 ml and US cups 236.6 ml.
The recipes I create are always in grams. The first thing I do when I’m testing a recipe is to convert it. I’ve talked to my Bake Club girls about this on numerous occasions. When I was at Chisholm I would get all 16 students to grab 1 cup of flour, bring them to the main bench and weigh them. You would be amazed at the varied results. Did they scoop and flatten, did they sift, did they pack, did they have any lumps.
To help you easily convert your recipes, I’ve even created this handy free guide to download.
I also have some advice on what I like to use and why.
- First, get a measuring scale if you don’t have one. If you can get one that measures in 1g increments all the better. Start adjusting all your recipes to grams and you’ll have consistency.
- With spoons and cups, I go for stainless steel because its safe and can be put in the dishwasher.
- I use Australian Standards and adjust any new recipes accordingly.
- My spoons are also S/S and oval so I can get them into the tops of jars without making a mess.
- I use flat unpacked measurements unless stated otherwise in the recipe and I weigh everything I possibly can and I write what the measurement was on the recipe so I can repeat or adjust next time.
When I write my own recipes I make sure that anything that can be weighed is weighed in grams. (I also use drug scales but you won’t need them unless you start playing with items like what you see on Masterchef) It makes sense to weigh because it will be repeatable in any country. 10 grams is 10 grams everywhere in the world. Teaspoons are fairly uniform worldwide and as far as I know, they’re all 5mls, unless there’s an obscure little place somewhere that I’ve never heard of, so no problem there. But when it comes to tablespoons I use Australian Tbsp. 20 mils and Aussie cups 250 ml.
If I’m trialling a recipe from one of my many cookbooks. I have a library you know. 😉 I note where the chef is from and find the page that tells me what standard they’re using. Then I go about making adjustments so that I can repeat the recipe again without any unfortunate errors.
The teaspoons that can be found in cutlery sets and used for eating can vary quite a bit in capacity. I don’t recommend using them for measuring ingredients such as salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
Here are a few of my favourite things, (When the dog bites, when the bee’s sting, when I’m feeling sad, wait that’s not right. Did that make you think of that too. LOL)
We use all these items in our cooking school we’ve had them for just over 6 years and they’re all pretty much as new. Although we have the large scales set up in a permanent position (in the weighing area) we also have a couple of these Avanti scales for students to move to their benches. They measure in 1g increments (very handy) and measure up to 5kg.