The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

cup to grams, kneading questions

novicebaker101's picture

cup to grams, kneading questions


I just found this site and am excited to try the lessons! I browsed through the site and now have some questions ( probably will have lots more after lesson 1). I am a very novice baker/cook so please bear with me.  I just purchased a gram scale and digital theometer. My  first question is there a place on you website that lists the gram weights per cup/tsp etc,  of the ingredients that you use for your recipes? It seems as if  a lot of people  had different weights for ingredients like AP flour or bread flour. Could you tell me what 1c of AP flour should weigh for your recipes on this site?   Also  was wondering if you  could include the gram weights in your lesson recipes  for us novice people so we can get in the ballpark?

My next questions how to tell which  kneading technique is best for what recipe.    Handbook mentions french fold is good for recipes with  a long bulk rise.What is definition of long bulk rise?   Can you use the strecth and fold technique and  the traditional for any recipe, or is there some that you should not use those techniques ? Can I use all the techniques you mentioned in handbook on each one of the recipes in the lesson plans and get good results?

Thanks very much!


gerhard's picture

I think when I converted a bread recipe from volume to weight measure a cup of bread flour was 160 grams, but if you sift your flour a cup will weigh less, if you pack your cup it will be heavier.  My suggestion is weigh what you measured then use that as a baseline.  After you start weighing you will have more consistent results just at the beginning you will have to make adjustments till you get the results you are aiming for.


GermanFoodie's picture

and I also own a set of American measurement cups. If you google things, they will pop up all over the place. And yes, a cup of AP flour is not equal in weight to a cup of whole wheat, for example. What I have started doing w/ my American cookbooks is to weigh everything as I go and convert it to grams - much more accurate, much more scaleable.

Chuck's picture

...a lot of people  had different weights for ingredients like AP flour or bread flour...

That's exactly right. That's the main reason for specifying weight measures: it's more accurate, particularly for transmitting a recipe from one person to another. (It's not "PC" nor "style" nor "jargon".)

For every different recipe book, use their different definition of "a cup" (hopefully in either an Introduction or Chapter 1 or a glossary); there's no one "right" answer. If it's not given explicitly, the default measure for "a cup" (not always right though:-) is to spoon the flour into a one-cup measure until it's full, then scrape the top off level with something like the back of a knife. Do not ever use a two-cup measure, do not dredge the measuring cup through the flour sack or stack, and do not "pack it down" so it's level.

One can use the "feel" of the dough to "adjust" amounts (particularly flour and water) specified in recipes. This works perfectly fine for experienced bakers. However, my own experience was that for the first couple of months, "cups" just weren't good enough; if recipes weren't specified in weights I just moved them to the back of the line to be baked later. If on the other hand you really want to bake a recipe right away and it's specified in volume measures, my own opinion is -at least for the first few months- it works best to use volume measures directly when you're actually baking the recipe. "Converting" volume measures to weight measures gets you the worst of both worlds. I think when you're doing the recipe only "once" it's better to drag out those "cups" than to attempt a "conversion".

Get yourself a good digital scale that weighs to the nearest gram (you can usually find one for around thirty dollars). Find out what models the brand makes, and avoid the bottom model no matter which brand you're looking at; almost every brand has a low-low-cost piece-of-junk as its lowest model.

Once I wasn't so freaked out by cups-vs.-grams any more, I undertook to "convert" all the recipes I used regularly  ...which in every case involved making the same recipe at least three times in a row!  For each recipe, I tinkered until it worked perfectly, then penciled the exact weights right into the cookbook so they'd always be right at my fingertips next time. IMHO, it's well worth the effort for recipes you'll use repeatedly, but it's not worth it for using a recipe just once or twice.

(Weight vs. volume measures is a contentious issue here on TFL. You'll find hundreds of existing threads, and hear plenty of different opinions:-)

Yerffej's picture

A cup (in this case)  is a tool used for measuring the volume of a non liquid such as flour.  A cup of flour would be defined as filling that tool (the measuring cup) to the top and leveling it of to give you one cup of flour.  A gram is a unit of weight and is unrelated to the volume of a cup.  For example, you would not determine the weight of someone by saying they weigh 210 cups.  But you would describe their weight in pounds or grams.  So going from cups to grams has no set conversion.  The variable comes in from the author of a given recipe and their definition of how much a cup of flour weighs.  As Chuck mentioned above, look in the book and see if the author defined the weight of a cup of flour and then you will know that for that particular recipe in that particular book, when the authors say a cup of flour they mean xxx grams.  You can demonstrate this difference for yourself by having three different people fill an identical measuring cup with flour from the same bag.  Depending on how they fill the cup, each will have a cup of flour that is of a weight (grams) different from each other.  So the answer to how much does a cup of flour weigh is:  It depends on who filled the cup, what flour they used and how they did it.

As a novice baker, there are a great many other areas where you might want to focus your attention.  Use good books for recipes and follow the author's instructions very carefully.  If they say to measure by the cup, they usually provide a guide as to how they did that so that you can do it the same way.  If they say to weigh the ingredients on a scale, then do that.  The whole pounds, grams, ounces, cups, issue will become clear over time as you work with recipes.

I hope that this helps rather than adding confusion.

Have fun, don't worry, happy baking,


novicebaker101's picture

Thanks everyone for all your answers. I will get started and see what happens.....

flournwater's picture

If you look at the nutritional information box on the bag of flour you're using it will tell you how many servings the bag contains and how many grams are in a serving.  Total servings into the total weight of the flour in the bag = grams per serving.  That's all the answer you need.