5 Star Recipes that Fail.. Why it might not be your fault!

It’s safe to say that we’ve all tried a recipe (or two) that came highly recommended but turned out to be a complete FLOP when we tried it in our kitchen. Here are several things that you might not have known before you prepared that recipe, dooming you before you even began . . .


5 Star Recipes that Fail.. Why it might not be your fault!

Over the years I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried recipes that had amazing rave reviews stating it was practically the best recipe ever tried on earth, only to have it fail miserably or come out weighing as much as the iceberg that sank the Titanic. It took me ages to figure out that there is a variation in water/liquid absorption between types and brands of flours.

There are a number of different brands of flour and each brand is milled differently. Which essentially means, once you’ve got a brand of flour that you’re happy with and have good results with, it would be in your best interest NOT to switch.

I learned this the hard way after purchasing Aldi Brand flour and making up several bread machine mixes using my regular bread machine recipe. They didn’t come out, not a single one of them. Until I discovered that I needed an EXTRA 3 tbs of flour per recipe to make up for the way the flour was milled.

When a recipe calls for a particular Type of flour: All Purpose Flour (usually labeled as AP Flour), Bread Flour, Semolina Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Cake Flour, etc- remember that each of these types of flour absorbs liquids differently.

In order to be precise and have the recipe come out every time, flour needs to be measured by weight on a scale, not just scooped and leveled or sifted then measured. It is highly recommended that you use a digital scale for accuracy.

Here is a Basic Chart of How much Ingredients should weigh:

All Purpose Flour …………….. 5 oz per 1 Cup Flour
Bread Flour …………………….. 5 1/2 oz per 1 Cup Flour
Cake Flour ……………………. 4 oz per 1 Cup Flour
Rye Flour ……………………….. 5 oz per 1 Cup Flour
Rolled Oats …………………….. 4 oz per 1 Cup
Brown Sugar………………… 7 oz per packed 1 Cup
Granulated Sugar……………… 7 oz per 1 Cup
Powdered Sugar ………………. 4 oz per 1 Cup
1 Cup of Water ………………… 8 1/3 oz per 1 Cup
1 Lg Egg ………………………….. 1.75 oz


By the way, in case you’ve heard not to bake when it’s raining, or when it’s too dry, etc, it’s a myth that ambient humidity affects flour to liquid measurements.

This myth was tested extensively in America’s Test Kitchen several identical recipes were baked with the same ingredients and measurements in multiple cities and kitchen environments. More often then not, the issue has nothing to do with the humidity levels and is affected by the variations in water absorption of the type of flour used. This is why people frequently have such varying results when making homemade pasta or tortillas.

If you think that you’re measuring your flour the right way already, here’s a simple test for you. Grab 3 bowls from the same set (so they weigh the same amount), then measure a cup of flour into each bowl using the scoop and level or spoon and level method. Then weigh each bowl. You might be surprised at how much it varies in weight.

Another tip for perfect measure baking, when measuring, use measuring cups from one set a time only, do not mix sets. For example, In my KitchenAid brand of measuring cups- the 1 cup measure is a teaspoon MORE than my dollar store Betty Crocker 1 cup measuring cup. When baking, if the cups were mixed, the recipe would be off due to the difference in size.

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / Basil

6 thoughts on “5 Star Recipes that Fail.. Why it might not be your fault!”

  1. i have weighed my flours and sugars for over 30 years.
    btw in grandmothers recipes the milk had a lot of cream in it
    so use half and half to replace the milk called for.

  2. thank you so much for this article.. i would have never thought that the flour used would be part of the problem. i also was very surprised by the tip to use the same set of measuring cups..

    i was curious can we still make some of the older recipes since some of the ingredients asked for are hard to find.. is there a dictionary to relate those ingredients to what is sold in stores today?

  3. This makes a lot of sense! My Mother was a great cook and she rarely measured, she always went be the texture or feel of the mixture. I was always amazed at how she did that, now I understand.


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