The Fresh Loaf

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grams conversation

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oakpine@verizon.net's picture
oakpine@verizon.net

grams conversation

Hello ,I am new to trying to bake bread . I have come across recipe 's that have grams listed .How do i convert these to cups, etc? 's I do not want to buy a special scale . I might not    have any use for it ,if i'm a terrible bread maker, because i will give up . Thanks for any replies .Carole

sphealey's picture
sphealey

The conversion factor depends on what you are measuring. Rose Levy's The Bread Bible has a great conversion chart in the appendix. To get you started, flours average 150 grams per cup; salt is 5.7 grams per teaspoon.

You might want to try using a scale; you can get good digital scales from $20-$60. I use a MyWeigh i5000.

sPh

susanfnp's picture
susanfnp

Hi Carole,

I agree with sphealey, try a scale! I understand not wanting to spend money on something you might not use, but the irony is that weighing your ingredients will make you a better baker, so it's less likely that you'll give up! I have the one sphealey has; it's easy to store in a drawer, works great, and not hugely expensive. You can always sell it on ebay if it turns out you really don't use it.

The problem with using volume measurements is that everyone measures differently. This is especially true for flour. If I measure out one cup of flour, it might weigh 140 grams, whereas yours might weigh 130 or 150, because we measure using slightly different techniques. Although The Bread Bible lists a cup of flour at around 150 grams, Peter Reinhart's BreadBaker's Apprentice has it at 4.5 ounces, or around 130 grams. Weighing avoids this problem (if the recipe you're using gives ingredients in grams or ounces).

That said, here's another conversion: a teaspoon of instant yeast weighs about 3 grams.

 

Susanfnp

sphealey's picture
sphealey

And water is 236 grams per cup, so that should be everything needed to make Floyd's Daily Bread!

sPh

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Titus found a good post on weights and measures this week:

http://ayearinbread.earthandhearth.com/2007/07/beth-weights-measures.html

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Carole, I got my non-digital scale for about $8 several years ago. I originally bought it for weighing meats that I was breaking down from bulk packages to smaller ones for the freezer. It can also come in handy for portion control, especially when you're trying to get a feel for what a 3 ounce portion of meat is for an example. I've also used it to weigh letters and packages for mailing.

I couldn't use it to measure 3 grams of yeast, but 430 grams of flour is very easy. Many of the smaller amounts in bread baking can be measured just fine with teaspoons or quarter cups. But there are several different ways to scoop flour into a cup, and each cookbook author may use a different one. For example I was used to fluffing the flour before spooning it into a cup. My no-knead bread was only so-so this way. But when I tried weighing the flour, I found I was using far too little flour. The proper weight of flour was equivalent to a packed cup, but the recipe just said "3 cups (430 grams)." My "fluffed" cup of flour was at least 25% less than it should have been.

The simple step of weighing my flour took my bread from something that was good to something that was exciting. (If you're used to store bought bread, anything homemade tastes wonderful!)

Oddly enough, I'd say that only a very experienced baker can get along just fine without a scale. My grandmother was an incredible baker, and she knew just how the dough was supposed to feel at each step of the way - and what to do if it didn't feel right. I often wish I'd paid more attention to her efforts - instead of just enjoying the results!

My grandmother benefited from years of baking beside her own mother as a young girl.  Most of us don't have that opportunity today, even though this place comes mighty close.  I think Grandma would be amazed at the folding that substitutes for kneading today :D 

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

An interesting article on the subject is here.  I believe the author is interested in more than just bread.  He also discussed what to look for in a scale to be purchased.

Hm, couldn't get the link to take.  It's "Weighting to Measure" by Peter Hertzmann at

http://www.hertzmann.com/articles/2000/weight/ 

ryaninoz's picture
ryaninoz

Firstly, I believe the 2nd or 3rd post is more accurate that 1 cup of flour on average weighs in around 130 grams, give or take a gram. This comes from my own reserach on most of the books listed above, plus numerous others and then taking my experiement and weight out a cup, over 3 weeks and recording the results....the average is around 130 (I personally got between 128 and 131). I am a French trained Chef and American who has been living in Sydney the past 3 years. Upon moving here, I spent the first year learning how to manage in grams versus the imperial scale. The reason I spread the test over many weeks, using several batches of flours relates to the earlier comment above that every individual is different and each batch of flour is different, based on how much moisture it has absorbed, the weather in your area (dry/humid/damp/cold/hot), how old the flour is, where it was grown and the type of flour it is, all have an impact on the final weight. I combed thru my 50 odd bread books from around the world and the U.S., including my french Poliane book I got in Paris this year, and it appears the leading authories also roughly agree on 130 grams per cup.

 2ndly, in baking, unlike cuisine (I have both the pastry and cuisine degree's from LCB and about to begin a bread baking course for a year here in Sydney), accuracy is everything. It is based on forumla's that have a huge impact on the final product and unlike cuisine it is more science than art, at least at the beginning when weighing and measuring. Since accuracy is king, I do believe using metrics is the way to go long term. I now prefer grams and kgs over cups or ounces, it's just more consistent all around. So do consider investing in a scale. You can get a great scale now for between $39.95 and $59.95, and even less on sale, ask for one for your b'day, christmas or some speical event if you don't wish to invest now, though I"d encourage you to consider it. I kept wanting better and better accuracy, so I now have 4 scales. If you are a bit anal like me, go ahead and invest in the best scale you can up front, with the most accurate measurement you can afford, it will save you the expense in the long term. I also have a jewlers scale I got off Ebay that I can measure very small amounts like yeast very accurately, though I use it also to measure out ingredients in making home cured proscuitto and pancetta, etc.

 3rdly, don't let all this scare you off, baking is the most enjoyable, rewarding and relaxing thing you can honestly do. Getting started can feel abit overwhelming, and although I said it's important ultimately to be accurate in preparing ingredients, ultimately it's just bread and it's meant to be enjoyed. I encourage you to get or borrow from your library Peter Reinhart's BreadBaker's Apprentice book, you will get years of satisfaction from this tome as well as accurate and educated information.

Have fun, you will surprise yourself at your outcomes. I started my first bread experinments at 23, as a new Officer in the Air Force, alone and far from home. I used my first bread as a door stop for 6 months...no lie.....but I kept at it, thru career changes, MBA, moving from country to country untill I decided I wanted to take it seriously. You never know where bread will lead, so start following the bread crumbs..........

Ryan Propst

Sydney, Australia

oakpine@verizon.net's picture
oakpine@verizon.net

Hello, Thank you all for your answers about the grams conversion. With all the varibles in measuring flour i see the need for a scale . I do wonder about all the recipes that only call for cups ,tsp, etc. how do they come out . Is the answer to that it becomes a feel for the dough and then adding more water or flour ?Thanks again, Carole

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Pretty much, yes. The cup measurement is an approximation and, thankfully, most recipes are fairly forgiving.

zumnoor's picture
zumnoor

hi everyone

would like to thank all of you for the invaluable feedback of your misses and successes in breadmaking. my adventure in breadmaking has never been more interesting and exciting before i stumbled upon this site. i've been baking at least a loaf a week if not 2-3. would love to bake more often, but we're a family of 3. and the cold weather is of no help either. yesterday, i used the rustic bread recipe and shaped it into a boule. it was so beautiful. the crumbs were "crisp", but not crumbly and the holes were so well-distributed. started the poolish at 7am and my bread went into the oven at 6pm. the kneading was done only when i mixed the poolish with the main dough. i used the "pull and fold" technique which i picked up from reading all your feedback. my dough was soft but not sticky. did my final rise on my baking tray sprinkled with rice flour and covered with a mixing bowl. baked it in a very hot oven with a bowl of  boiling water in the lower shelf. don't forget to remove it 10-15 minutes into baking or the crumbs will be too hard. bread tasted so goooood with chilli mussels. a simple dinner was so satisfying....

ryaninoz's picture
ryaninoz

It's winter in Sydney and Chilli mussels sounds fantastic, can you share the recipe.??  :-)

Ryan Propst

Sydney, Australia

xma's picture
xma

http://www.pantsblazing.com/convert/vol_weight.php is a link I used to go to when I didn't have a scale yet.  When I finally got my scale I found that for my old recipes where I used cups and spoons, we had quite tremendous differences. It looks like you've been convinced to get your own scale, so for what it's worth...

rcornwall's picture
rcornwall

If I was you, I would bake in metric. It is very easy to use, actually easier than us standard and you can find on line converters to convert any measurement into metric. Or at the very least I would make it a habit to use weight measurements rather than volume measurements. It is much more accurate.

rcornwall

siama's picture
siama

Hi, Thank you all for your advice . i have a dig.  gr. scale now . i just borrowed a book from the libary BB.this book has all the different  ways  to methods to measure , very interesting . Now i must try some of them.  Carole

rcornwall's picture
rcornwall

I think you will like the ease and accuracy of your gram scale. You will get very consistent measurements. Good luck with it.

rcornwall