The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour weights

  • Pin It
ichadwick's picture
ichadwick

Flour weights

I'm playing around with some recipes trying to convert measures into weights which I can then translate into percentages. I took out several of the flours I have on hand and did some measurements this morning. Here's what I came up with.

Each is the weight in grams of one cup. I filled the measuring cup full and used a knife edge to clear out the excess:

1 cup/grams:
Unbleached white: 166
Rye: 110
12 grain mix: 153
9 grain mix: 150
Red Fife: 168
Kamut: 171
Spelt: 140
Malted barley: 128
Durham semolina: 165

I realize these figures will depend on both my rather random accuracy at swiping, local humidity and the phase of the moon... but are they reasonably close to what other members have come up with?

I was surprised rye was so much lighter.

Thanks.

ichadwick's picture
ichadwick

Looking at other sites, it seems my weights are off - a bit too high. I weighed a cup of water at 234g. It should be 225.

Not a huge difference, maybe 4%, less than 1/3rd ounce, but it matters. 

Can't see a way to calibrate the scale (it's electronic). Might look for a set of calibrated weights to measure against. Any suggestions?

Heath's picture
Heath

You might be interested in this thread about digital scale calibration:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/34229/test-digital-scale-calibration-coins

I use this site for my volume to weight converstions and it hasn't failed me yet:

http://www.traditionaloven.com/tutorials/conversion.html

It puts a cup of water at 236.59 ml, so you were very close.

Heath's picture
Heath

I should add, in case anyone reading doesn't know, that water weight (in grams) and volume (in ml) is exactly equivalent, so 236.59 ml of water = 236.59 g of water.

ichadwick's picture
ichadwick

Thanks! I had some US coins in my pocket and I checked them. The scale seems spot on. Quarter, penny and nickel reported accurately (no decimal places, but that's okay).

Interesting that Canadian coins are lighter... except our loonies and toonies....

ichadwick's picture
ichadwick

Thanks for the other link, too.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

method is the least accurate way to convert if yo ask me - the flour is packed ,. If you stir the flour with a spoon first to break up the AP flour, then spoon the flour into the cup, then scrape you should get somewhere around 140 g for AP and slightly more for whole wheat,  I get 235-238 g for water depending on the cup - they are all different too it seems.  Another example of why volume measures are really pretty far off the mark where ever they are used in baking,

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Actually, your measurements seem very close. 8fl oz water at room temp weigh 235.9g. As for the flour measures, there are three loosely accepted means of measuring the volume, each being self consistent but different from each other in results.

  • Sift the flour into the cup 'til mounded, then scrape.
  • Fluff the flour and spoon into the cup and scrape. This is very close to the first method.
  • Scoop with the measuring cup and scrape. This is the most inconsistent.

I made a series of measurements and weighed them a few years ago and settled on white flour (bread or AP) weighing 155g per cup. The key when converting is to make a sanity check of the recipe's hydration ratio. If the hydration seems appropriate to the bread type and the author's description and methods, you're probably in the ballpark.

The trouble with volume measures lies in their users' methods. My grandmother would very carefully sift the flour into her cup and scrape. The problem with using her recipes was that her cup was a teacup with a broken handle.

cheers,

gary

Bad Wolf's picture
Bad Wolf

This very interesting discussion confused me when I started to play around with some on-line conversion calculators. The site suggested by Heath did, indeed, say 8 ounces was 236 grams. However, several other calculators, including the one that pops up on Google, said that 8 ounces was 227 grams. My research leads me to believe that the 236 gram figure is for U.S. fluid ounces, a volume measurement. The 227 grams is based on 8 ounces avoirdupois, which is the measurement for mass or weight. This means that one fluid ounce (U.S.) of water weighs 1.041 ounces avoirdupois. Strange.

My electronic kitchen scale made by Taylor, an American company, says that one cup (8 fluid ounces) of water weighs 236 grams, or 8.3 ounces. If I remove enough water to read 8.0 ounces and press the "gram" button, it reads 227 grams. Thus, it is measuring avoirdupois weight, and will be approximately 4% off of a volume measurement. If I want a truly accurate cup measurement of water, I should weigh out 8.3 ounces on my scale. I learned something new.

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

If a recipe is written using volume measurements, it has a "built-in" lack of precision, for all the reasons we're familiar with.

The precision is not improved at all by making very very precise conversions into weights. A precise conversion of imprecise measurements is still imprecise!

I would suggest sticking with formulae that are formulated with weight measurements.

ichadwick's picture
ichadwick

Thanks. What I wanted to do (and did after some fumbling around) was translate/convert some volume-based recipes into weight and then into percentages which I could then translate back into appropriate weights for the amount of bread I wanted to bake. If that makes any sense...

Les Nightingill's picture
Les Nightingill

... in a roundabout way. Just don't sweat the precision factor.

PastryPaul's picture
PastryPaul

The following are grams per cup based on specific gravity of the flours we buy. We used 237g per cup of water

Rye (dark) 128g

White (AP) 127g

Bread 129g

Whole Wheat (artisinal mill, so least constant) 126g

I wouldn't sweat it. Besides what a cup of flour actually weighs has no bearing whatsoever in converting formulae. Think about it. An author put his recipes in most likely in grams. The publisher, "knowing" that people are too stupid to use scales, converts them to volume using lord-knows-what conversion (although I usually find that they tend to use 140 to 150 grams per cup. Don't ask me why). Once you figure out their number, subsequent conversion are easy.

The toughest conversions are recipes handed down through a family since there is no way to know how Great Aunt Gladys measured her cup of flour. You just have to guess and adjust.

One last thing on this subject.... It's pretty rare that a formula works brilliantly as written. There is always some playing to do, if only to satisfy your personal tastes or that of your demographic.

Cheers

 

ichadwick's picture
ichadwick

I think the different weights for the same volume surprised me. It suggest to me that a recipe that calls for, say, equal amounts of rye and white flour will end up with a greater volume of rye, which could overpower the white, at least in terms of texture and flavour. So I might want to alter the percentages from 50-50 to 60-40, for example.

And vice versa: the grain mixes are lighter, so maybe I might increase their weight while decreasing that of the bread flour.

As you say, there's some playin' to do... which, of course, if half the fun.