The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A Question on measurments

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Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

A Question on measurments

I'm ready to bake my first loaves of sourdough bread. I have sourdo lady's starter ready to go and Jim's sourdough starter. Jim's recipe is all in grams. Is it better to take the time to weigh out the ingredients on a scale or is there a conversion chart for cups 1/2 cups etc?

Thanks!

Trish in Omaha

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Trish,

 

If you already have a scale, use it.  Measuring by weight will give you much more consistent (and predictable) results than measuring by volume.  If you measure your flour by stirring and spooning, a cup might weigh 4.5-5.0 ounces.  If you scoop out a cupful, it might weigh more than 6 ounces.  Since many recipe writers don't bother to tell you how they handle their volumetric flour measurements, you may have some real difficulties duplicating their results. 

 

Measuring by weight also makes it very simple to increase or decrease a recipe's yield.  All you have to do is ratio the weights up or down to get the quantity you want.  Doing that with volume measurements can get to be rather tricky. 

 

If you don't have a scale, you can wing a weight to volume measurement using the numbers I've mentioned, above.  You'll probably wind up doing some seat-of-the-pants adjustments with either the liquid or the flour to get the dough to the right texture. 

 

Good scales are relatively inexpensive now.  You can probably find one at the local Wal-Mart that will measure by grams or ounces, with a tare capability, for around $30.00.  There have been a couple of discussions on this site about which brands to buy, so you can see what others are saying about that.  I'm presently using a Salton model and it is working fine.

 

After measuring by volume for many years, it was a real shift for me to start measuring by weight.  Now that I'm getting accustomed to it, I find that it is much easier to do and I have a better notion about why the dough behaves the way it does.

 

BTW, welcome to the site.  I hope you enjoy your bread.

 

PMcCool

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

I guess I was looking for "an easier" way - but if I want my bread to turn out well I will weigh the igredients - we do already have a scale so it would be silly not to use it! After nurturing my starters - I need to take the time to weigh the rest of the ingredients.

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Trish, as PMcCool says, I believe you will find weighing ingredients much easier than using volume measures - not only is it more accurate, it is easier once you get used to it. Especially if you get a digital scale with a tare function, weighing out ingredients all into the same bowl is a breeze - you can use any device you want to scoop or pour a little at a time of each item into the main bowl, as long as you tare (i.e. zero out the weight of the bowl) first, then tare it again before adding each subsequent item. You dirty up way fewer dishes, measuring cups, spoons, etc. this way.

 

I like using the scale so much better that I take the time to convert as best possible any recipes I need that use volume measures (I get most of my conversion factors from volume to weight from the King Arthur Baking Book).

jm_chng's picture
jm_chng

Hi Trish, 

I realise that you understand that the starter made my way and sdl's way won't be the same as my own or sdl's starter but just to clarify for anyone else reading it's how you'd made up the starter that you're comparing.  
I would always weigh my ingredients simple because it makes life so much simpler. I use a measuring cup, funnily enough, it lives in the flour bin, but I really only use it as scoop, I wouldn't dream of relying on it to measure it's far to variable. I don't want to have to adjust my recipes as I go. Bish-bash-bosh-your-done with a scale. 
Jim

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

We have a nice scale already - a digtal that reads ounces and grams so I may as well learn to use it! If I'm going to get serious about this bread baking thing might as well start out riight.