Bake perfect loaves every time.

Baking bread might seem intimidating, especially if you’re a novice baker. But it’s not as hard as you might think—and making a loaf of homemade yeast bread is one of the most cozy and satisfying ways to spend a cold winter day.

If you’re in the mood to knead some dough, there is one rule you should always follow for bakery-worthy results: measure your dry ingredients properly. This might seem obvious, but there’s a good chance you’re not using the correct amount of flour because flour can be densely packed or overly fluffed up, depending on how it is packaged or stored. And when you’re baking bread, an extra half-ounce of flour can be the difference between a loaf that’s light and tender or more like a brick.

The most accurate and foolproof way to measure dry ingredients is by weight (ounces or grams) with a kitchen scale. One cup of all-purpose flour weighs 120 grams or 4 ¼ ounces. You might be surprised that your usual scoop of flour might weigh considerably more or less. There are plenty of simple, inexpensive kitchen scales available, but if you can’t squeeze another gadget into your kitchen, you can also measure dry ingredients by volume (cups) with a regular old measuring cup.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Fluff up the flour

Use a spoon to gently stir up the flour. This is especially important if you’re scooping the flour directly from the bag, where it tends to get tightly packed.

2. Spoon into a measuring cup

Instead of scooping the flour directly from the bag or container, use a spoon to fill the measuring cup, mounding it a bit on top.

3. Level it off

Draw the straight edge of a knife or spatula across the top of the measuring cup to level it off and remove excess flour.