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Scoop 'N' Sweep vs. Dip 'N' Sweep


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I've come to the conclave I trust the most to hopefully settle, once and for all, the burning question in my mind....

Is it best to "dip 'n' sweep" (DnS) or "scoop 'n' sweep" (SnS)? Inquiring minds want to know.

All my culinary life, I've done "SnS". Seems to me, that was what La Julia advocated, along with perhaps Jacques and other pros I respect. Perhaps even Martha prefers "SnS". That is, fluff your flour with your scoop, scoop it to overflowing into your measuring cup, and sweep off the excess to level with a thin, straight edge like an icing spatula.

The argument for "SnS" is that the flour is fluffed, and not compacted, as it would be in "DnS", so you don't get too much flour in your dough.

That said, the current (February 2011) issue of Cook's Illustrated, which I also respect as a fount of geeky wisdom, says in their article "Secrets to Perfect Cookies" that aside from weighing the flour (let's not muddy the discussion with that), "DnS" is preferred--i.e., you DIP the cup into the flour canister, and then do the same sweeping motion. Hmmmm.

For the record, I agree that weighing is best, if the recipe is written with weights. Most of mine, especially my old cookie recipes, aren't, and I ain't enough of a math Whizzzz to do the conversions. Don't make me try.

So. What say EG? "SnS" or "DnS". Which is the more accurate of the admittedly, inherently inaccurate methods?

--Roberta--

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I was taught DNS in Home Economics; not that that's a ringing endorsement from experts. I never do it, though, since I don't like dirtying another kitchen implement. When working with cup measures, I shake the cup until it's level.

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I do whatever the recipe writer says. Look at the cookbook intro; often the author will say something about how they measure flour (and other ingredients). If they don't say anything, I scoop and sweep.

But in either case, if there are no mass measurements, I weigh the flour before I add it to the recipe. All the recipes I make on a semi-regular basis, I've converted to mass measurements. Much quicker, easier, and more reproducible...not to mention, fewer implements to clean afterwards! :biggrin:

MelissaH

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If I am using a recipe that uses volume measurements, I scoop & sweep. I know from experience and experiments (weighing) that flour can pack down a lot in a very short time and the weight can be significantly greater if one "dips" which compresses the flour in the measure.

I have always been of the opinion that I can always add more flour if the appearance of the batter or dough needs it but once it has been mixed in, it CAN'T BE REMOVED.

Cake flour, because of its structure, is especially subject to compression. I store cake flour in a container that I shake prior to using the scoop and sometimes stick a dry whisk into the container and give it a good stir just "because."

I mentioned in a post in another thread that the man on Martha Stewart's PBS show does the dip and sweep method while she advises the S & S method and the women use the S & S method. Mixed messages there, confusing for novice bakers.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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That said, the current (February 2011) issue of Cook's Illustrated, which I also respect as a fount of geeky wisdom, says in their article "Secrets to Perfect Cookies" that aside from weighing the flour (let's not muddy the discussion with that), "DnS" is preferred--i.e., you DIP the cup into the flour canister, and then do the same sweeping motion. Hmmmm.

For the record, I agree that weighing is best, if the recipe is written with weights. Most of mine, especially my old cookie recipes, aren't, and I ain't enough of a math Whizzzz to do the conversions. Don't make me try.

So. What say EG? "SnS" or "DnS". Which is the more accurate of the admittedly, inherently inaccurate methods?

As touched upon in the Cook's Illustrated Foolproof Crust topic, Cook's Illustrated uses 5.5 oz. of flour as their "standard" measurement. Using the DnS method. Other experts advocate a 4.5 oz. cup of flour, no doubt using the SnS method. I've always used the SnS method, and when I started weighing flour, I was coming up with 4.5 oz. per cup.

I've settled on 5 oz. as a nice compromise, but if no scale was available, I'd still go with the SnS method.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Interesting problem ... I remember the day that I realized why sometimes my bread dough was very soft and other times it was very slack ... using the "same" measuring cups.

Weighing is best, and idea that you convert the recipes that you use most frequently to weight measures is an excellent one. There are now many reliable digital scales - and if you want to bust the piggy, an Edlund is really wonderful - so once done, it is a breeze to mix and measure, even in advance.

Next, if you have the patience, scan the book from which the recips came and see if they thought to provide info like egg size (large, extra large, etc.)and dry ingredient measurement techniques used in their pastry and bread recipes. ***Please note: even if this is mentioned, this DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE RECIPES WERE ACTUALLY TESTED. Cookbooks are notoriously long on marketing budgets and short on testing ... with frequently predictably disastrous results.

If there is not a clue given (and likely there won't be), I would ask you to consider the dimensions and size of the container of flour and the size of the dipping measure as well as the type of product you are making before you choose a technique. When I am not measuring from a container that provides a lot of surface area and depth into which I might dip and sweep, then I use the scoop and sweep. Rooting around in the standard 5-lb bag of flour will provide some serious trash compactor action on a dip and sweep - I would either put the flour in a large bowl that gives me maneuver room, or I would scoop and sweep in this situation. Also, if you are making something that must be light, such as a sponge cake, or really anything leavened with air - whipped whites, creamed butter-sugar-eggs, or a genoise custard - I would used the fluff, scoop, and sweep (actually, I would convert and weigh, but I am trying desperately not to go there!). If it is a cookie or bar dough that does not require such a light hand, then dip and sweep is fine. I say that because I have repeatedly measured my D/S and S/S, and find that my D/S's consistently weigh a bit more.

A fourth alternative is to peruse Rose Levy-Beranbaum's Bible series for Cakes, Breads, and Pies. If you find a recipe you can use in place of the one at hand, use hers. She is exacting to the point of torture in her measurements, and she gives them in pounds, metric, and American volume. That has helped when all else failed (i.e.: didn't have Ed the Edlund or a calculator to facilitate conversions - or the patience to do it with pencil & paper.)

Good luck,

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Scoop? Dip?

I weigh. If the recipe doesn't use weights, I find another recipe. I don't even like recipes that use both weights and volumes -- they may have converted from volume to weight.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Scoop? Dip?

I weigh. If the recipe doesn't use weights, I find another recipe. I don't even like recipes that use both weights and volumes -- they may have converted from volume to weight.

Perhaps ... unless you're using professional books. However, this does not apply to Beranbaum ... it would take the energy of 3 lifetimes to research measurements like she did. And if you want a detailed explication of why you should measure ... Beranbaum again. But there are people who prefer measurement by eyeball or heft (grandma-trained) or by volume, so unless you are baking for production, it really is your choice. But like any other choice about things of the table or in life, the more knowledge you have about the how's, why's, etc. will lead you to a better choice, and help avert dire consequences. Hell ... I started out a long time ago with the dip and tap method!

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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