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View Full Version : Volume vs. weight - how do you prefer to bake?



L M Ashton
05-29-2008, 05:44 AM
I've recently read how much variation there is in the way people measure ingredients. Like one cup of flour can be anywhere from 100 grams to 260 grams (http://www.sourdoughhome.com/measureit.html)(or something like that) depending on how it's measured, never mind that how much is a cup varies from country to country (1 Canadian cup=227ml, 1 US cup=237ml, 1 Sri Lankan cup= anywhere from 160-200ml - don't know about the rest of the world), and then you're just increasing the potential for variation. So how much is a cup, really?

And if you have a scale at home, why don't we extend the experiment? Measure out a cup of flour and then weigh it and report in with your results. :D I have a crappy scale at the moment - waiting for our budget to allow for an electronic scale, and hopefully that'll be next week.

So if you try out a recipe and it doesn't work, is it because the recipe was inherently bad, or was it because you and the person who created the recipe measure your ingredients differently? Was her cup of flour 200 g and yours is 140 g or vice versa? How can you possibly tell?

A while back, I tried out a recipe (using volume measurements) that absolutely didn't turn out at all. It was lousy, but the reason I tried that particular recipe was because there were so many raves on it at that recipe site. I suspect, now, that it's more because of a difference in measuring ingredients than anything else.

It's no wonder that some people have lousy results. It's also why I'm converting my recipes to weights - it's a more reliable way to predict how a recipe will turn out. If you want to convert recipes from volume to weight or vice versa, there are a couple or three sites that can help. This one is the best (http://www.onlineconversion.com/weight_volume_cooking.htm) that I've found thus far, but recipes still require tweaking after that because it uses averages and can't possibly predict how the original recipe creator measure his/her ingredients.

So? What do you think?

Sarita
05-29-2008, 05:58 AM
I don't have a scale and my baked good are pretty well received, but I'd love to get one. I think if you're making recipes that lean toward the more precise art of pastry, a scale is absolutely necessary.

I'm interested to see the results of this experiment :)

Bubastes
05-29-2008, 06:18 AM
Good recipes will tell you how to measure the dry ingredients. For example, one cookbook I have specifies that the flour is measured by spooning it into the cup and then sweeping the top. Another cookbook calls for dipping the cup into the flour and scooping it out before levelling (which will pack a little more flour into the cup). When in doubt, I use the spoon-and-level method because it's usually better to have a little less flour than a little more.

Given the choice, though, I prefer a scale.

L M Ashton
05-29-2008, 06:27 AM
I was a cookbook junkie when I lived in Canada. I must have had six feet of cookbooks. Not one of them discussed how to measure flour. I recently ran across a recipe that described how to measure flour, much like you described, but that's one recipe. One out of perhaps tens of thousands. I think I must be looking at different recipes than you. :)

Bubastes
05-29-2008, 07:12 AM
I was a cookbook junkie when I lived in Canada. I must have had six feet of cookbooks. Not one of them discussed how to measure flour. I recently ran across a recipe that described how to measure flour, much like you described, but that's one recipe. One out of perhaps tens of thousands. I think I must be looking at different recipes than you. :)

I would be massively frustrated if so many of my books didn't clarify that very important point! Grrrr, stupid cookbook editors.

Mumut
05-29-2008, 08:10 AM
I don't weigh or measure. I wonder if that's why I have so many bad results?

But wouldn't you have enjoyed life before 1625, when measures in UK were standardised. An inch was three barleycorns layed end to end. If you lived in an area of fertile soil, you could have inches a lot longer than elsewhere.

L M Ashton
05-29-2008, 03:54 PM
I guess size really does matter. :)

Kitrianna
05-30-2008, 04:32 AM
I've never had any probs other than people bugging for more of my baked stuff and I measure. I just can't bring myself to have a scale in the house. Then I would have no excuse for not weighing my meat and I would probably have to eat more of it...yuk!

Ol' Fashioned Girl
06-01-2008, 04:06 PM
I was a cookbook junkie when I lived in Canada. I must have had six feet of cookbooks. Not one of them discussed how to measure flour. I recently ran across a recipe that described how to measure flour, much like you described, but that's one recipe. One out of perhaps tens of thousands. I think I must be looking at different recipes than you. :)

I so share your addiction. Here's my six feet of cookbooks, plus two more feet in another bookcase. Then there's the four two-inch binders and the unknown number of those collected from the 'net...

http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q172/liadano/Cookbooks1.jpg

http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q172/liadano/Cookbooks2.jpg

Ol' Fashioned Girl
06-01-2008, 04:08 PM
My 'cup' of flour turned out to be about 179kg or 6 oz.

L M Ashton
06-01-2008, 04:15 PM
Ol Fashioned Girl, I am salivating at your cookbooks. I'm so jealous! Do you have a tiled counter top? I want that. Ours is a laminate and *shakes head* No, I really want granite or something, but I'd make do with tile, I think.

Okay, I haven't done the measuring thing. I'll have to do that.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
06-01-2008, 04:23 PM
Yes, ma'am! Tiled it m'self, I did. The counter beneath it was only 8 or so inches wide and I needed some counter space desperately. We cut a length of pine to fit that was 18" wide and I tiled it. We thought we'd messed up when the pine bowed up - but as the grout dried, it flattened right back out. Works beautifully! The counter separates my kitchen from the dining room and is mighty handy for setting up buffets - we can get to it from both sides - and when not in use for buffet, it's great for the crock pot and the toaster.

I liked it so well, I tiled all the window sills... they were old, ucky looking wood, nice and deep. Now they're great for cats and plants.

L M Ashton
06-01-2008, 04:47 PM
Very cool! I completely respect women who are at whom with tools! *coughs* Back in Canada, I had more tools than most men I knew and wasn't afraid to use 'em. :)

Ol' Fashioned Girl
06-01-2008, 04:52 PM
Oh, don't get me started there. I've got my own set, too, but I'm not above nickin' Ol' Boy's saws, drills, etc. I don't particularly like the big circular saw or the big chain saw, but I'm wicked when it comes to all the rest. He and I are both bad about dreaming up 'special projects' when we're not together in the kitchen cookin'.

nicolen
06-01-2008, 10:17 PM
For me it depends whether the ingredients are listed by volume or weight. I've got recipes from just about everywhere, both volume and weight measures are used.

When baking, I prefer weight as 225gms/8 oz of an ingredient is always going to be exactly the same, whereas when measuring by volume, there can be differences in how much of the ingredient you actually get in the cup/spoon/whatever, and this can make a big difference in many recipes.

And when I made bread yesterday, a 250 ml cup held approx 150gms/5 oz of flour. :)