The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Conversions

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PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

This is the time of year when I adjust, test, convert and create reicpes and formuale. I have no doubt that many cookbook authors lurk these pages, and this rant is, respectfully aimed at you or your publishers, or both.

We all know that scaling ingredients is the way to go, yet most books, and internet recipes etc. insist on providing volume measurements. Some might say this is old... The topic of weight of flour has been discussed ad nauseum here and many other places. Knowing what a cup of flour SHOULD weigh in no way helps in converting recipes.

When an author writes up his/her recipe he/she is trying to get a quantity across. Saying "1 cup" is meaningless. US cups are 237ml, UK Imperial cups are 285, and Australian cups are 250. To further complicate the issue, some authors say to scoop, some spoon and level, yet others advocate fluff, spoon and level. If I know that my AP's true weight is 123g per US cup, it does not help me when I have no idea what you, the author, intended the conversion to be.

http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2008/10/18/no-knead-whole-grain-baguette-buns-with-extra-sourdough-kick-this-time-weigh-out-the-ingredients points out what they assume a cup of flour and a cup of water are. I appreciate the effort, Jeff and Zoe.

I am very perplexed since I assume every single formula and recipe started out weight-based and was converted to volume in an effort to reach mainsteam home-based cooks. If I may make a suggestion, stop insulting your readers' intelligence and stop dumbing down recipes. At the very least, put a note in the book of what you mean by "a cup." There's nothing worse for an author's reputation than having recipes that don't work out. True, the recipe's failure is probably due to faulty measurement on the reader side, but they will blame you.

Here's another idea... one that your publishers might love... Build a companion web site where you can actually sell scales to your readers!

Zoe and Jeff use 140g per cup, many others use 150g per cup. Maybe you guys can just post here what you mean by "cup" of flour etc.

End of rant

sf mountain's picture

Spreadsheet translator--volumetric recipe to gram wgts recipe

September 17, 2010 - 10:22am -- sf mountain

Does anyone know of an Excel spreadsheet type translation program that will turn a standard (American-style) volumetric recipe into a gram weight recipe? Being unable to find one, I have been working on a simple version: a spreadsheet that translates the whole recipe at once. Most conversion systems i've seen on the internet work on a one-ingredient-at-a-time basis; i like being able to translate the whole recipe at one fell swoop..


 

ejm's picture
ejm

This is mostly for amusement's sake.


Every so often, I want to make a recipe that calls for fresh yeast and I don't have fresh yeast. Of course, I have nothing against using fresh yeast. It's just not that easily found around here. Instead, I use the active dry yeast we always have on hand. (Why do I always choose active dry yeast? Because that’s what my mother always uses.)


In the past and quite recently, I have gone through various books and the internet looking for this conversion information. Here are some of the various formulae I have come across in my travels:



for every cup of flour in the recipe, use either of


    3 grams compressed fresh yeast
    2 grams active dry yeast
    1 gram instant active dry yeast


-Maggie Glezer, "Artisan Baking Across America"


_____________________________


Substitute twice as much (by weight) fresh yeast for the amount of dry yeast called for in the recipe.


-Daniel Leader, "Local Breads"


_____________________________


1 g fresh = 0.5 g active dry = 0.4 g instant


-Susan (Wild Yeast), wildyeastblog.com


_____________________________


2+1/2 tsp (one package) active dry yeast = 18 gm cake fresh yeast


-Carol Field, "The Italian Baker"


_____________________________


A .6-oz [17gm] cube of cake yeast is roughly equivalent to 1½ to 2 tsp. instant yeast or 2 to 2¼ tsp. active dry yeast.


-Sydny Carter, Yeast: The Basics, allrecipes.com


_____________________________


One .6 ounce [17 grams] cake is equivalent to 1 envelope [.25 ounce/7 grams] of dry yeast.


-Fleischmann's Yeast FAQ, breadworld.com


_____________________________


yeast, compressed . . . . 1 cake, 3/5 oz . . . . 1 package active dry yeast


-Irma S. Rombauer, Know your ingredients, Joy of Cooking


_____________________________


1 packed tablespoon of fresh or cake yeast=21 grams which=2-1/2 [8gm] teaspoons active dry (so for 100 grams fresh yeast use 1/4 cup + 1/2 teaspoon or 40 grams active dry)


-Rose Levy Beranbaum, realbakingwithrose.com


_____________________________


If you are substituting active dry yeast for instant yeast in a recipe, [...] add about 20 percent more yeast to the recipe than what is called for. [...] If you encounter a recipe that uses fresh yeast, divide the weight by 3 to calculate the proper amount of instant yeast to use.


-Yeast FAQ, thefreshloaf.com


_____________________________


Some years ago, with mixed up logic, I managed to work out the following formula. Remarkably, the bread I made rose beautifully.


2½ tsp (8gm) active dry yeast = 50gm fresh yeast


-me, my house



Depending on whose formula I use, to replace 50gm fresh yeast, I should use anywhere from 8 to 32.5 gm active dry yeast. (I think I have the arithmetic right with the various formulae: 32.5gm, 25gm, 22.5gm, 20gm, 17.5-20gm, 17gm, 8.3 OR 8gm active dry in place of 50 gm fresh yeast)


So. After all these contortions? I've decided that I'll use the higher amount of active dry to replace fresh yeast if there's lots of sugar in the recipe, but the lower amount if there's little sugar in the recipe.


-Elizabeth


Here is a nifty javascript that one of my sisters created after hearing about this:



edit: Ooops!!! I hit "save" by mistake. I MEANT to hit "preview". I think I've finished fixing things now. Have fun with the conversion chart!


 


Also may be of interest:


MIchael_O's picture

Recipes Understood, Converted, and Screened

August 17, 2010 - 11:23pm -- MIchael_O

In response to hearing people ask recipe-related questions I have created a


chart that graphs all baked goods (cookies, cakes, muffins, etc) using three numbers. The chart is easy to understand There is some math behind it so I automated everything with a web application called Caked-Face Menace.

MIchael_O's picture

An all round baking calculator

August 1, 2010 - 11:39pm -- MIchael_O

Hello guys and girls,


    I am a bit new on this forum, but I wanted to save ya'll some future trouble, by letting you know I just wrote a unique online calculator that calculates hydration, converts between almost anything - for example 4.63 ounces of 125% starter equals how many cups of starter, and has some other functionalities. It is hosted at:


http://www.whatsthesequency.com/cakey.php

sdionnemoore's picture

Converting scale measurements to cups/spoons

February 12, 2010 - 10:21am -- sdionnemoore

I'm a little panicked right now. The batteries died on my scales and I've got to make San Joaquin sourdough for tomorrow night's guests--provided we're all dug out from the blizzard by then--using this recipe: 


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/12383/san-joaquin-sourdough


If anyone can give me an easy conversion site, or has done the conversions already for want of a scale, I'd be most grateful.


 

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