The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Formual conversion of Oz to Tsp. in "Bread" by Hamelman for Baguettes with Poolish

sitkabaker's picture

Formual conversion of Oz to Tsp. in "Bread" by Hamelman for Baguettes with Poolish

I am wondering if anyone has made Baguettes with Poolish in Jeff Hamelman's Book "Breads". I have a question about the yeast conversion from oz to tsp in the final dough recipe. To convert oz to tsp. you multiply the oz. X 6, which is the number of tsp in an oz. In this formula, the yeast in final dough is .13 oz. Using this mathematical conversion of .13 X 6. the amount of yeast (tsp) would be .78, just a little over 3/4 tsp. However, it reads 1 1/4 tsp, which is almost twice as much. I am wondering which is the correct amount for the recipe. If converted mathematically, it would be much less. Has anyone made this recipe and if so, is the 1 1/4 tsp the actual amount for this recipe? Thanks....Sitka Baker.

pmccool's picture

would it simplify things if you estimated dry yeast at about 3g per teaspoon?  There seems to be some variation among sources but they tend to average out at about that number.


possum-liz's picture

I think ounces used here is a weight and teaspoon is a volume--you can't really convert them (it all depends on the density of the material measured). I work in metric but if I remember correctly a 1/4 oz of yeast has a volume of about 2 1/4 teaspoons.

PastryPaul's picture

People often get confused between ounces and fluid ounces. The first measures weight, while the second measures volume. They are not interchangeable.

While it is true that there are roughly 6 tsp to a fluid ounce, there is no corelation between teaspoons and ounces. Bottom line: Your math is wrong and the teaspoon measure is correct.

Use a scale to measure ingredients and forget about cups teaspoons etc. While you're at it, consider going metric for your baking. It'll simplify your life.


msbreadbaker's picture

Enlightening info. One question, even though I weigh a lot of my ingredients I noticed my scale seems to only move in 5 gr. increments, now what? I wasn't aware of this until recently, it is a fairly expensive scale. If I was supposed to look for something else when purchasing, ie: tiny amounts of weight, I didn't.  I was glad it weighed in grams, pounds and oz. Now I don't weigh things like small amounts of salt, yeast, etc., I have to guess at the proper amounts. Is my only recourse a new scale? If so, what do you look for to be sure the scale will weigh less than 5 gr. when needed.

Thanks so much for any advice, Jean P. (VA)

PastryPaul's picture

Hi Jean

The scales we use in the shop also jump in 5g increments. This does not mean they are of lesser quality, it just means they are intended for larger volume (20, 30 and 50 kg if memory serves). They are bigger units designed for commercial use and we hardly ever weigh anything less than 50g or so.

As you may guess, I don't use the same scales at home. Some people suggest using spice scales that are accurate to within 1/10 gram, but I'm just not that picky. I use an el cheapo scale that I bought at my local hardware store for $10 on sale. Regular price was $20 as I recall. It's a Starfrit brand scale... a sliver colour base with a "glass" panel over it. If Starfrit is not available where you live, some other brand should do the trick. It doesn't need to be pricey.

It is accurate to 1 gram and when I tested its accuracy with a pound of butter it was spot on at 454 grams. Total capacity is 5 kilos and it has all the goodies (kg, g, oz, lb/oz, taring). I bought five more for the shop for use in recipe testing. Four were exactly accurate and one was light 2 grams.

For those who are not aware of the butter test.... In Canada, and I assume everywhere else, retail butter weight is strictly enforced. A pound of butter MUST weigh exactly a pound i.e. 454 grams. Whenever you get a new scale weigh a pound of butter. If it is not 454 grams, adjust the scale if such a function exists, otherwise write the amount it is off directly on the scale. Inverse the offset. If it is light by 2 g write "Plus 2 g". So, if I use the scale that was 2 grams light and I need to weigh 100 grams, I just weigh out 102. (but in all honesty, I just wouldn't bother with such a small discrepancy. If it was more like 5g or more off, that would be another thing. Hmmmm, now that I think about it, if it was off that much I would just return it and get another one)

Some very picky readers out there may point out that if a scale is off by 2 grams at 454, it may be (and likely is) off by a greater amount as the weight rises. That is so, but it is hardly ever an issue. If you prefer, write "+1 per 225g" and add a gram for each 225 you need, but I wouldn't bother.





gary.turner's picture

Scales are usually off by some same value throughout their range.  It may be that zeroing the tare will absorb the error. It is something you should check if the error value is significant to your use.



msbreadbaker's picture

Hi Paul,

Thank you so much for the sound info. I will get another scale for the smaller items. The "butter"  test was a good one. It was interesting to read how many other folks used 2 scales.

Cheers to you as well. Jean

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I use a scale; however, some ingredients in some recipes are in teaspoons.  As PMcCool said, for dry yeast I use 3 g per teaspoon and for fine salt, I use 6 g per teaspoon.  And an additional conversion that's useful for wt to wt, use 28.3 g/oz.


MangoChutney's picture

Ounces avoirdupois equaling fluid ounces works only for water, because that is the definition.  "A pint's a pound the world around" is what I was taught as a child, but it holds true only for water, and only in the time of Queen Anne of England was it "world around". 

The same thing is true for grams and milliliters.  One milliliter of water weighs one gram, because that is the definition of the two units.

If something is "fluffier" than water, it will take a larger volume of it to achieve the same weight.

sitkabaker's picture

Hi All, thanks for all the input. I get it now...will use the tsp as shown in the formulas. I too have a scale that only measures in 5 gram increments...Took out my Kitchen Aid pro spiral mixer and my results have been great. Using the fold and stretch as described in Hamelman's book...what a difference in my breads. Can finally roll out a baguette! Sitka Baker

Chuck's picture

...conversion from oz to tsp...

My suggestion is rather than "converting" at all, get scales and measure everything by weight. Measuring by weight is much more accurate. You avoid the hassle of "converting" (which is sort of a contradiction in terms anyway:-). And you can't get sucked into the confusion of "ounces" vs. "fluid ounces" vs. "troy ounces" vs. ...

You should be able to find a good digital scale with a resolution of 1 gram, a capacity upwards of 3 kilograms (3000 grams), and a "tare" function for around $30-$40. For the "small" ingredients (salt, yeast, etc.), get a second small digital scale with a resolution of a tenth of a gram (0.1) and a capacity upwards of 100 grams. You probably won't find a single scale that has both the fine resolution (0.1 gram) needed for the "small" ingredients and the big capacity (several kilograms) needed for the "large" ingredients; the solution is to have two scales. The small scales may at first seem impossible to find, but when you search for "pocket scale" they'll suddenly be all over the place. You should be able to get one for under $10. Despite what the blurbs may say forget "calibrating" them - all decent ones are pre-calibrated, and the very best you can do is to not mess them up too badly.

(For measuring by weight, I personally prefer the "gram" to the "ounce" because the "ounce" is too large for typical home baking. [For example what happens if the scale measures only to the nearest quarter ounce, 1/4 ounce yeast is too little, but 1/2 ounce yeast is too much?] But recipe books don't usually give you that choice. Fortunately, pretty much all digital scales can switch between "grams" and "ounces" as often as you like just by pressing a button [or sometimes two buttons at the same time, or sometimes holding a button down for several seconds].)

sitkabaker's picture

Yes, I do have a scale that measures and converts oz and grams. I generally always use grams but this recipe is in oz. I will look for a small scale for the fine ingredients. Thanks for your help. Sitka Baker.

highmtnpam's picture

Remembering that volumes of different ingredients weight different amounts....converting tsp to ozs or grams needs to be done by each ingredient.  There is an app called Kitchen Pro.  It has a list of ingredients (that can be modified). Choose the ingredient and convert!  Voila!  I love technology.



Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

I know this doesn't exactly address the initial question, but I thought I would mention that I too find it cumbersome dealing with ounces and pounds as opposed to grams.  So when I use a Hamelman recipe, I generally ignore the quantities listed in the Home column and use those in the Metric column, displacing the decimal point 2 spaces to the right.  So 8.5 kg becomes 850 grams.  The end result usually yields about 2 large loaves or 3 mediums.