The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

An all round baking calculator

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

An all round baking calculator

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

The "other functionalities" is a pretty neat chart that maps every kind of baked good and is able to read in any recipe for baked goods and correctly place it on the chart. I like to think it's something special. Anyway, I would love any feedback ya'll have on what I wrote, corrections, etc.

Thanks,

Michael O.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

Need I say more? This is extremely useful for me as I would like to try out some of the recipes here that use only volume measurements and I only have a metric scale.

I will add this link to my url  favourites. Thank you

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

jyslouey, ever considered getting a scale that gives you options to weigh in metric and US measures?  That way you can bake anything you like and are not bound my the metric system.  I have found freedom since buying one - best thing I ever bought for $20.00. 

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I have a metric scale and can easily convert lbs and oz to metric if necessary,   It's the volume measurements that I have difficulty with.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

You might find this link handy then:

http://www.convert-me.com/en/convert/cooking

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

I find that most useful, esp as it includes a lot of other commonly used ingredients. I've added this to my favourites already and will be referring a lot to this website when I come across any interesting recipes that only come in volume measurements.  You're a star!! 

suave's picture
suave

It may have some potential but I found it a bit dreadful.  Why does a cup of water weigh 224 g?  Why does a cup of oil weigh the same 224 g?  Where are the sugars?  Why does a cup of flour weigh 124 g?  Why does it weigh anything at all - it should be a user settable number.  Why does it goes to default after conversion?

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

There are some kinks that need to be worked out, but this is why he posted it here to get our feedback and the link site does say it is in Beta mode, which leads one to believe that there will be changes forthcoming.

 

Michael, thanks for the link post.  That was alot of work!  I'm glad you've asked for our feedback here.  As you can see, there are still some kinks that need to be worked out.  It's exciting that there is something I can use to convert some of my family heirloom recipes into weights and measures now.. at least some of the ingredients anyway.  Thanks again!

amolitor's picture
amolitor

A cup of water weighs 224 grams on account of it's one gram per milliliter, and there's right around 224 miliiliters in a cup.

The oil is too heavy.

The flour is probably too light. 5.5oz per cup is probably a better approximation.

Making it user-settable would be silly, though. If the user is sophisticated enough to enter this data, they're sophisticated enough to not need this calculator.

suave's picture
suave

No, there isn't

amolitor's picture
amolitor

Yes there is. Depending on the "cup" you get anywhere from 200 to 250 ml to one of them. 224 is as good a number as any if you're going to simplify life to a generic "Cup".

 

suave's picture
suave

Standard american cup is 237 (240) ml.  It's not even a subject for discussion.

amolitor's picture
amolitor

Wait, it is 237, or 240ml?

Please note that america is not the world, and do a little reading up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cup_%28volume%29

 

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

but the man came in here to share something he created.. took the time and effort to publish, share with the members of this board and he asked us for "feedback".  It's great that we can critique and make suggestions, but I think the focus can be more positive.  Encouraging/helpful commentary instead of negativity like suggesting that "sophisticated" bakers won't use it - maybe they won't, but some of us "unsophisticated" bakers just might.

I appreciate that he's tried and has come in here to ask for our input.  Some of us are simply home bakers who are new to weights and measures as well as all the new terms and information.  For me, I always "thought" I knew how to bake anything and in fact, my recipes and baking have been published and awarded.  It wasn't until I came here and started branching out that I realized just how little I know about this other side to baking - even though I've been baking for 35 years!  I've been learning just how scientific it really is and how important math, conversions and overall knowledge are.. not to mention I've not had the benefit of a professional education as many other bakers here have.  It can be, extremely overwhelming.  Remember, we all started out knowing very little at some point in our lives and I just appreciate the time and effort this person took to make a handy, helpful tool.

On the flipside, I also appreciate the critique and warnings about the small details.. like water and oil not being the same weight.  I know this, but many others may not, so it is imperative that the tool be accurate.  A tool such as this, in the hands of an amateur baker like myself, can actually end up being a source of frustration if it is not accurate.

So, Michael.. don't give up on your ambitions.  I think they are noteworthy and most helpful IF they are tweaked and re-posted with accuracy. 

Thank you

 

bnom's picture
bnom

Well put. Thank you.

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

People are right, so I did correct the oil(~210g/cup) and the water(~236.6g), I will have to review the milk too. And yes, true to the name it is beta, probably 15% of where I want to have it. 

Some bakers use professional recipes and will measure their own ingredients instead of relying on a generalized conversion, understood.

5.5 ounces? so 155g/cup for what type of flour?

amolitor's picture
amolitor

It's just a number I've run across that's seemed to work pretty well, "generally".

EDIT: Which, honestly, is all you can hope for. I suspect, but do not know for sure, that there's going to be more variation in the density of the flour from factors like "it is sifted?" "how was it shipped?" "how much ambient moisture has it picked up" than from differences like bread flou versus AP flour.

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

for all your efforts, I  agree with BellesAZ totally. I'm sure there are many here who appreciate what you are doing so please keep updating your chart/spreadsheet in spite of all the arguments and disagreements.

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

Thanks you all, I corrected the measures you pointed out, plus some things others showed me. I think this application has gone from 0.11 beta to 0.78 beta. Meaning, I am not aware of any faults and I have added all the features for the moment. Someone mentioned adding heavy cream earlier...I'll do that.

But I do think this is the first calories counter for recipes and the first recipe conversion tool - as opposed to ingredient conversion.

Oh well.

Regards,

Michael

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I would propose some sort of sanity check be performed.  It is something I do for any recipe that uses volume measurements, especially for the flour.  For example, a common bread recipe might call for 4 cups bread flour and 12 oz of water.  If the flour is sifted into the cup, expect 4 oz avoir. per cup, yielding 75% hydration.  If the flour is spooned into the cup, expect 4.5 oz avoir. per cup,  and 66.7% hydration.  For scoop and scrape, expect 5 to 5.5 oz avoir. and 60 down to 55% hydration.

These differences make or break the recipe. Plugging the sample values into the calculator yields  73% hydration, indicating the calculator defaults about 4 oz avoir. per cup; about what you'd expect for sifted cake flour, but not for scooped bread flour. Disastrous for breads.

I'd suggest a user-set value for measurement method, or for expected weight per cup. Or, did I miss that entirely?

cheers,

gary

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

I understand your concerns about flour weight, but let me first say, the calculations are correct. I won't argue this point.

Nice try, 4 cups of bread flour and 12 oz water will not yield a hydration of 66.7%,

One assumption of these calculations is that you use standard techniques and all instructions were followed; I have had this discussion before, and while technically accurate it's completely unreasonable to hypthesize the situation where someone scoops and levels their flour when sifting is called for; just to show a false weight deviation.

Also, your scenario of using 4 cups of bread flour and 12 oz. of water is fatally flawed by your own definition. The core problem still remains that the user does not know the weight of the recipe creators 4 cups, by your argumentation the amount of flour in the original 4 ups would still be a mystery, regardless of how I write my calculator. I can't change that core problem, I don't write recipes.

The only aspect of my procedure that is theoretically affected by the deviation in cups of flour is the chart. But like I said the chart is good, if there is something wrong with the chart - which there isn't, just look at how pretty and logical it is - then I would appreciate it if anyone can tell me what it is.

-Michael O.

 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I understand your concerns about flour weight, but let me first say, the calculations are correct. I won't argue this point.

The hydration calculation is correct only under one measurement method.

Nice try, 4 cups of bread flour and 12 oz water will not yield a hydration of 66.7%,

If the flour weighs out to 4.5 oz per cup, it does. 12÷18=.667

One assumption of these calculations is that you use standard techniques and all instructions were followed; I have had this discussion before, and while technically accurate it's completely unreasonable to hypthesize the situation where someone scoops and levels their flour when sifting is called for; just to show a false weight deviation.

It is a poor assumption.  There are a number of "standard techniques" for measurement.  Your calculator appears to expect sifted flour.  That is unreasonable for most bread makers, who would more likely use scoop and level or spoon and level.  As another poster mentioned, I also fluff the flour in its canister before scooping, and have gotten 4.5 oz. cups over many repitions.  That is important to know when trying a volume based recipe.  That's where the sanity check comes in.  By calculating the hydration rate at various presumed cup weights, and selecting the value that seems appropriate, I can determine the author's equivalent weight and adjust accordingly.

[again] it's completely unreasonable to hypthesize the situation where someone scoops and levels their flour when sifting is called for; just to show a false weight deviation.

So add a user configuration element of measuring method; sift, spoon and level, or scoop and level.  Frankly, I have no idea how my great aunt Hallie measured flour for bread.  I know she sifted for cakes, and I imagine she scooped for bread.  Her recipes don't say, but I can infer she scooped because a sane hydration level would indicate about 5 oz per cup.  Your calculator will be in serious error if I can't configure a cup as 5 oz, or at least as scooped and you hard code the method's  weight as, say 5 oz.

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

Mr. Gary,

I will look at the bread flour measurement again. I will reach a conclusion by the weekend. I believe you, you are right about the unreasonable bread flour measurement. Let me plug in 130-135grams and see what I get.

 

Michael O.

 

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

I have changed the all purpose flour to 140g/cup, the bread and whole wheat to 130g/cup, and rye flour to 122g/cup; also the starter weights changed slightly. These are place holder for now, albeot pretty decent ones. There are few reliable sources for theis information of the internet. King Arthur Flour's Master Baker Weight list doesn't have has an unfilled entry for rye flour, Convert-me.com mentioned earlier gives 1 cup of flour as 90grams.

I am still thinking about when the gram conversion will come into play. I want to minimize it's role if necessary. In other words I don't want user's to see it if they don't need it; a "change defaults" option?

I now have eggs grouped to gether as "Eggs, large -> Egg Yolk, large -> Eggs, Medium, etc."

I corrected the page-starting-at-the-very-top-of-the-page problem.

As far as the sanity check, A fairly decent sanity check, or verification procedure, can be implemented based on the chart, i.e. making sure a recipe does't fall outside the baked goods region, but that would take a really long time - perhaps four straight days of programming..

Thanks to everyone who has helped so far.

-Michael O.

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

I don't think my post was necessary, it was based on a misunderstanding,. I understand your point now. Early on I asked politely for no "cups vs. grams" arguments to avoid a separate never-ending battle, and of course people began with a cups vs. grams argument until it died out then I saw another post specifically titled "cups vs weight". This is why I thought the post was malicious, but someone messaged me clarified what kneady wrote.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

Glad that's cleared up.  On a seperate note, I've been trying to take a recipe based on measures and using your calculator am converting it.  Will give it a try tomorrow to see if it works and will let you know.

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

For the past few days I have been working on a few additions after some input and messages from forum members. I have now added a hydration calculator:

You can input separate bakers percentages for ingredients to get the overall hydration, essentially Baker's Math.

You can input hydrations of a few starters (70%,100%,125%), for example:

Scenario 1: Determine the final hydration: 25% of 100% starter and 395 grams of bread flour, 240g of water ;

Scenario 2: Determine what hydration you need for any portion of a recipe if you know the final dough hydration. This takes a little trial and error on the part of the user.

Scenario 3: Convert bakers percentages into weight/volume, vice verse

I have not tested/calibrated these results with known calculations thus far. I have just done some intuitive checking, so before using the bakers percentage derived hydration results, I would suggest checking these. Testing by me will be done later after I take a break. I was too busy programming....

Other additions: I have added user defined values and will probably not because its only good for converting recipes, but will take a lot of programming effort. I may add scaling in the future. Okay. I may also rereview some of the past suggestions to make sure this application is useful for users.

Just to clear up confusion, these calculations have nothing to do with cups/volume unless you specifically state you want cups. Thank you, everyone for your continued input.

Here is the link to the calculator, once again
Baking Calculator

 

Judon's picture
Judon

I just looked at your calculator and entered a pita bread formula that I make every week but didn't see salt as an ingredient. I also use extra virgin olive oil which isn't listed.

On hydration of starters - Jeffrey Hamelman's starter hydrations of 60% or 125% are used in a lot of breads - the lowest on your calculator was 70%.

Thanks,

Judy

 

 

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

I will need to add 60% hydration starter, I can do this by the week's end.

for Extra Virgin Olive Oil just choose canola oil.

Salt has no effect on the hydration calculations so it is omitted

Judon's picture
Judon

this thread got so long I lost track of your original intent - so of course salt is omitted!

Judy

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

Yes, this is why I tried to find a nice way to tell people, "don't make this into a separate cups vs. weight debate", but I apparently failed. I feel it is important to only address the original poster in forums, otherwise private messaging other members in the discussion is better.

 

 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

eom

 

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

Finally, I have finished the baking calculator. There is now a user-definable scaling option that includes sugar and salt, for those who loathe "cups" simply enter weights. I also expanded the inputs to 9 fields, which I think is sufficient for many applications. 

Caveat: My baking percentage uses all dry ingredients (flours) as the 100%.  This can change the calculations slightly. I have a link to modern baker's spiced cookies ([1]) so you can compare their weight-to-bakers percentage calculation to mine. 

Have fun.

bnom's picture
bnom

Turn this into an app!

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

I also would like to see INSTANT YEAST into ACTIVE YEAST conversion. 

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

that 1 cup of water weighs more in grams than 1 cup of flour ?  

anna

 

MIchael_O's picture
MIchael_O

Yes , 1 Cup of water is about 236.6g, I forget the exact number.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

seems you put a lot of work into this, very nice of you to share.

Anna