Thursday, November 11, 2010

One cup of AP flour weighs...what?

I took advantage of the perfect opportunity the other night to ask this question to Sara Moulton who was giving a talk about the new Gourmet Cookie Book. Now in all fairness to her, she does way more cooking than baking, and she said this, so her answer to me was to call the nice people at King Arthur Flour to get an accurate answer.Then she wants me to email her with the answer.
So I called KA the next morning and here was their answer... 4 ounces. No, I replied, that can't be correct, I said. The woman on the other end of the phone said, well there are 16 ounces to our pound of flour, so 4 into 16 equals 4 so the answer's 4. Well that doesn't make sense.

Well, I measured 4 ounces of flour, fluffed and whisked and lightly scooped into the measuring cup and the photo above shows what 4 ounces of flour in my measuring cup looks like. The flour doesn't even come close to the I'm putting this question out there to anyone who can shed some light on this. I did receive one answer from Anna and she said 4.5 ounces. How many ounces does 1 cup of all purpose flour weigh?


  1. You're right, that woman's response makes no sense....

    This is a tough question since as I'm sure you know, the density of flour varies a lot depending on how its handled (and humidity). According to King Arthur's master list ( a cup of AP flour measured using their "fluff and sprinkle" technique weighs 4.25 oz. That said, I think a lot of recipies for home bakers assume the flour is measured either "dip and sweep" (which compacts the flour) or straight sprinkled (i.e. without the fluff KAF uses). I suspect 4.5oz is an approximation to one of these techniques. The website Joe Pastry says as much as 5oz (

    If you've been making a recipe for a while using volume measurements, and want it to stay more or less the same, but want the consistency and ease of weights, you can try measuring a cup of flour 5 or 10 times, and then using the average weight in your tried and true recipies. It's a little bit of a hassle, but you only need to do it once. Be sure not to measure the same cup of flour 5 times (since this will incorporate air), instead measure 5 cups from the bag/jar, then dump them back in.

  2. A chef I was taking classes from ( said pastry chefs weigh flour and in grams they do 120 grams, which on my scale is 4.25 ounces of flour.
    Since learning 120 grams from her, I always weigh my flour and use 120 grams. She did said pastry chefs are very light handed.

  3. Thanks for throwing this out to the masses! I wonder who you spoke with here - we generally advise that a cup of all-purpose flour should weigh 4 1/4 ounces (fluff it up, sprinkle it into your measuring cup - as you did - and level with a straight edge). A cup of whole wheat flour should weigh 4 ounces. Those are the generally accepted weights, though I learned recently that this is a controversial issue, with some sources weighing a cup of all-purpose at as much as 5 1/2 ounces!

    We have a master weight chart ( you can check for ingredient weights of all kinds.

    I'll be interested to see what other responses you get.

  4. This is actually the first comment I have ever posted on any of the blogs I follow and I had to post it because it made me laugh. This is something I have been struggling with since I started baking, because I always want to be precise. The flour companies will have you believe that 1 cup AP flour weighs 120g (4.2oz) but since they also say that Cake and AP flour weigh the same I find this hard to believe. Some bakers will say 140g (4.9oz). And then there are numbers everywhere in between. It seems the most agreed upon is between 127g (4.5oz) and 132g(4.66oz). I personally have accepted 130g (4.59oz) as a standard cup of AP flour.
    At this point I think as long as you're consistant it really shouldn't matter too much. Between 120g-140g you're looking at a 1.25g difference between a tablespoon and only an extra 2.5 tablespoons per cup. I've heard (I'm sure you're more familiar than I am) that this can have an affect on cookies specifically, but I have yet to encounter it.
    I don't know if this is kosher to post on another blog (my apologies if it's not), but on my blog I have made up a chart for myself that I abide by:
    I'm still hoping that someday a baker's consortium comes together and gives us all standard weights for everything.

  5. Well thanks to all of you who jumped in with some great thoughts on this perplexing question. I think that the flour weight IS most important for cookies and it seems to me it would be so simple if more recipes, especially in cookbooks, were measured in weights rather than cups.Perhaps someday...!

  6. Here is a summary found on a site:

    One cup of white flour weighs 120 grams.
    One cup of whole wheat flour weighs 140 grams.
    One cup of bread flour weighs 130 grams.
    One cup of cake flour weighs 114 grams.

  7. I've always been told unsifted all purpose flour weighs 5 oz per cup.



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