I never had any desire to bake until I discovered America's Test Kitchen's Almost No Knead Bread that modifies the famous NYT recipe. The smell of baking bread is only surpassed by actually eating this fresh, still-warm, rustic loaf at home.
But I apparently do not know how to use my measuring cups correctly while measuring out the flour.
I measure out 3 cups of flour and it apparently comes out considerably less and I end up with an overly wet dough.
So, I put the flour in and knocked the cup against the counter to make more room for more flour, sort of compacting it, and it turns out better. However, I have seen on Chowhound and other boards state that you do NOT want to tamp down in this manner, but to merely fill the cup and level it off (which is basically what I do in the first place, and end up with not enough flour).
What could I be doing wrong? How does one properly measure dry ingredients using simple measuring cups? I don't want to have to buy a digital scale, which I feel is sort of cheating.