The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

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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

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