The Fresh Loaf

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Recipe maker (Excel) - Trying to combine different units ?

dzolotas's picture
dzolotas

Recipe maker (Excel) - Trying to combine different units ?

Hello


As a newbie in bread baking but having a decent knowledge in coding and computers (my main job) I've tried a while ago to create a way to solve a problem (for me) related to the many and different ways of a recipe's measuring units.


I've seen in recipes sometimes listed together, weight units along with volume units and some "weird" units invented "on the fly". Of course the experienced people, they smile now with me, but maybe some useful can be come out at the end.


I give to anyone (freely of course) the following spreadsheet for downloading :


http://rapidshare.com/files/436660937/Recipe_maker_001.xls


I made it to look like a "real" recipe notebook, allowing me to enter quantities, choose measuring units from a list (both weight and volume intermixed) selecting the ingredients also from a list and finally, select the "convert to" unit for everything.


I've using two lists for keeping the spreadsheet's data, one for the ingredients and one for units. The ingredients list, contains a "density" number which is the weight in grams of each milliliter of volume. I'm not sure if the numbers are correct and the accuracy of the conversions is highly based on this number, so if you have any source to find these numbers, that's great !!


The list of weight & volume units I believe that is correct, I've copied from a online converter.


Any idea, advice, information is welcome.


Dimitris.


 

hilo_kawika's picture
hilo_kawika

Hi Dimitris,


This link has been very helpful for me:


http://www.traditionaloven.com/conversions_of_measures/flour_volume_weight.html


  aloha,


Dave Hurd, Hilo, Hawaii

dzolotas's picture
dzolotas

Hello Dave


Thank you for the link, during my search for density of various materials, I found lots of tables and conversion tools. I've noticed many differences among them and finally I was totally confused. Many of them are just copies from another one, so the errors are reproduced. Even in USDA database there are "strange" values.


The same cup & flour appeared to weight from 90 gr. to 150 gr. !!! WTF


One way I tried is to compare and decide, and if the values are the same then I consider them as correct. But I'm not sure. For that reason I decided to work with density as a reference unit. I thought that it may be more "standard" than the others.


Another think that can be added is the calories/ingredient (/100 gr.) for all those friends around caring about silhouette. That's easy, just another column of data.


Thanks anyway, very good link, I added it among others.


Ygeia kai Hara sou (Health and Happines to you)


Dimitris


 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

The same cup & flour appeared to weight from 90 gr. to 150 gr. !!! WTF


This kind of variance is inherent in volume measurements. There is no "correct" value. (Escaping this rather horrid variance is the reason lots of folks prefer weight measurements all the way from recipe testing to final baking.)


Until quite recently, it's been so hard  to measure "small" amounts in the home kitchen that many recipes that mostly use weight (often gram) measurements nevertheless use volume measurements like teaspoons and Tablespoons for the little ingredients like yeast and salt.


Just in the past few years though, inexpensive digital scales with a resolution of 0.1 gram have become available, allowing all ingredients to be measured by weight even at home (web search for either "pocket scale" or "digital spoon"). But recipe books mostly haven't caught up with the new technology yet.

dzolotas's picture
dzolotas

While I'm trying to find a decent solution, I've baked some breads, most o them are quite acceptable, compared to some GREAT breads I've seen here of course. My family is very tolerant I thing, and they give me compliments for almost every attempt. Maybe I need some more creative criticism.


I'm the "laboratory" type, I weight, I measure, I count, I calculate and when I see my mother to make everyday delicious food without ANY measuring tool, except her hand, I want to get all my stuff and fill the trashcan at once.


There is one word. Experience. And it comes slowly with time, damn it.


Obviously it's not easy to force every baker in the world to forget his-her habits and just buy a scale. So when I find a interesting recipe, that has "cups", "water glasses", "tea cups", "coffee plates" and "3 4/36 of a teaspoon" !!! measuring units, I bring down my scientific calculators, web conversion pages, logarithmic tools, and sub-atomic molecular scales, trying to convert all those to simple weight numbers. Overreacting ? Sure.


With that in mind, I've tried to automate a little the procedure, so I build this tool. It serves me quite well for now, and I'll improve it in time.


Thanks for the friendly advices


Dimitris