The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to measure the flour for Recipe #1

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Nettie Baker's picture
Nettie Baker

How to measure the flour for Recipe #1

I am a total dunce. Do I measure the flour by the grams, which is 128 grams a cup? or 4.5 ounces on my scale. Anyway, this is what I did this time for the first recipe. 3 cups flour would be 13.5 ounces of flour on my scale. I know nothing about baking and had someone talk to me about correct measurements. If I had seen the 3 cups of flour before, I would have multiplied 3 cups x 8 = 24 ounces, and I would have put that much in. I don't think that is what you had in mind for the first recipe, right?

cerevisiae's picture
cerevisiae

There's a variety of opinions on what the weight to volume conversion is for flour, but your numbers (128g/4.5 oz) sound pretty much like what I would use. 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

I suggest you just use grams.  Ounces gets very confusing because as you go up in weight, it converts from ounces to pounds ( which you have to keep in your head ).  The other confusion is that ounces is used both for weight, as in it weighs 8 ounces, but  there are also fluid ounces ( the 8 ounces equals 1 cup is 8 fluid ounces, not 8 ounces by weight) which measures volume,.  Since ounces and pounds measure weights, so there is no direct conversion from fluid ounces to weight, you have to know the density.  Once you do an initial conversion to grams, or better, find a recipe in grams, you can multiply all the measurements 2, if you want to double up, or divide by 2, if you want less than the recipe, and you won't need to worry about changing from ounces to pounds, your scale will always be reading grams. 

Bob Marley's picture
Bob Marley

Get a scale.  They cost less than $45 USD and are way faster to use than cups.  Do yourself a favor and get a scale.

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Coincidentally I just baked the exact same recipe.  I have been baking for a few months now but the plain white bread loaf is something that I am unable to do a decent job of.  But that is a digression.

Floyd's plain white loaf in Lesson 1 is in cups.  If that recipe is one's first intro to bread baking I think Floyd called it right.  Many newbies might not think to question what a cup holds.  Many experienced bakers would realize that three cups provides a pretty big playing field.  And as Nettie did, they would question what is the right amount.  But for the average rookie, finding their way to this site because they have a desire to create a loaf of bread, I think Floyd's cup is the way to go.  Most beginners understand cups.  Grams are alien to many at that stage. The text in the recipe makes it very clear that this is the very basic foundation of bread making.  This recipe is unlikely to produce the "Pièce de résistance" of the bread baking world (although one should "never say never"). 

IMHO, Lesson One does exactly what it is intended to do.  It provides simple and basic instruction for the production of one loaf of white bread.  Definitely scales and grams (or ounces for some) is the way to go but imagine the confusion that could create at Lesson One.  I applaud Nettie for seeing that pitfall. 

ps... I still can't bake a decent loaf of white bread.  :(

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

we did a test on TFL to find 0ut what various flours weigh per cup using the stir with a spoon, dip and scrape method.  Several TFL'ers took part and we came up with an average of 114 -130 G per cup if I remember right.  I''ll try to find the post .  ThomasChacon made the post but he has sort of erased himself from the site.  Here it is

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/28868/hocus-pocus-saveur

Bob Marley's picture
Bob Marley

"...dip and scrape...."    What about "fluff and scoop"????????????????????????????????????????

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

and they get much heavier cups in the 140 g range. So how you fill the cup makes all the difference....... fill it with water isnlt the same as a nice 10 year old bourbon:-)

Bob Marley's picture
Bob Marley

..must be Friday..............

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and your estimate is right on target.  If you keep track of the water in grams a cup being 237g - I believe, you can easily figure the rough moisture content of your dough or its hydration without much converting.  

Just divide the total water weight by the total flour weight and move the decimal over two spaces to the right to get the % (70%, 65% and the like.)  

With any particular flour, knowing the sweet spot of hydration gives you something to compare to when talking or comparing recipes.