We here at The Takeout are always looking for ways to turbo-charge our baking finesse. We fluff our flour; we plunge boldly into lard-filled waters. And of course, we (almost) always bake by weight, using our trusty kitchen scales to ensure total accuracy when measuring out ingredients. But yesterday, I saw a tweet, which led me to a TikTok, which opened my eyes to a whole new way of measuring out ingredients: reverse taring.
Last night, food and drink writer Tammy Teclemariam tweeted a link to a TikTok video under the caption “Omfg.” The TikTok came courtesy of Ana Calderone, the associate food editor over at People. Calderone’s TikTok feed is full of handy baking tips, but her most recent video has bent my brain and led me to reconsider my measuring practices.
Calderone posted her latest video under the caption, “Bakers: Have you all been doing this and no one told me??” The technique in question is what Calderone calls “reverse taring.” In the video, Calderone explains that she prefers to bake by weight. But baking by weight can involve a ton of dishes as you weigh out each ingredient by pouring each one into a separate vessel atop the scale. Reverse taring allows bakers to measure ingredients straight out of the container with total accuracy. Here’s how it works, per Calderone’s step-by-step TikTok:
- Add the ingredient container—a bag of flour, for example—to your kitchen scale. Then, press “tare” to reset your scale’s reading to zero.
- Add your ingredient to your mixing bowl little by little, returning the bag to the scale periodically. When you’ve added the correct amount, the number on your kitchen scale will be the negative equivalent of the number you need. (So if a recipe calls for 160 grams of flour, the scale should read -160 grams when you’re done adding flour.)
That negative number accounts for the exact quantity of each ingredient you’ve removed from its container. I’m not a math person, but this seems like a sound tip. “It’s amazing because you can add ingredients gradually, like flour or liquids, while your mixer is running,” Calderone says in the video. “Less mess, less dishes.”