The Fresh Loaf

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need help with measurements for this cookie recipe!

ittehbittehkitteh's picture

need help with measurements for this cookie recipe!

I hate recipes that use volume measurements, because volume measurements aren't accurate; they're fine for measuring liquid ingredients but are extremely inaccurate to measure dry ingredients, because dry ingredients are BY WEIGHT and every dry ingredient measures/weighs differently.

 I found a recipe for a maple cutout cookie, unfortunately the measurements are in volume.  Below is the link for the cookie recipe:

I can't find a similar recipe to the one I found, that has the measurements in ounces and/or grams.

Yes I can use a converter but this further complicates things because depending on which site I go to to convert from volume measurements to metric/weight measurements I get different measurements in grams for the same ingredient.

This is what I mean (by what I just described above):

King Arthur Flour (1 cup all-purpose flour is 4-1/4 ounces or 120 grams)  I type in 'all-purpose flour, U.S., sifted' as the ingredient and when I type in 120 grams and/or 4-1/4 ounces, I get 1.20 cups which is 3 Tablespoons more than a cup.

I  realize that 3 tablespoons is not big of a deal, but you have to be accurate with measurements in baking, and since every site I go to tells me different measurements for the same ingredient when I convert to grams and/or weight measurements (e.g. ounces) HOW do I know which measurement is the most accurate and correct one to use?


How do I know which site has the most accurate weight/metric measurement?




ds99303's picture

I've done my own conversions by measuring and weighing several times until I got what I would call a standard.  At least it's a standard for me. I get the most consistant results using these weights.

1 cup all-purpose flour = 125 grams

1 cup cake flour = 118 grans

1 cup granulated sugar = 200 grams

1 cup brown sugar firmly packed = 228 grams

I don't have a weight for bread flour since I don't use it, but I would guess the weight would be about 132 grams per cup.

clazar123's picture

Get your scale out and measuring cups out and have at it.

1.Put a lightweight bowl on your scale that is big enough to hold the ingredients and tare it.

2. Fluff your flour, scoop and sweep the correct volume amount into the container on your scale. Do this 3 times just to get an idea of how consistent you are or take an average.

3. Weigh out rest of ingredients and assemble the dough.

Make cookies,make any needed adjustments.

I have problems using the conversion sites as my scoops are sometimes a lot different than the conversion would be. But then, I am starting from a familiar, volume recipe and trying to convert it to a weight recipe. 


the hadster's picture
the hadster

Once you've made the cookies, following the recipe EXACTLY, you can make adjustments.  If it calls for 3 cups of flour, then use 3 cups of flour.  I "fluff" flour by giving it a stir with a fork or something, before using a volume measurement.  But, that's all I do.

IceDemeter's picture

the whole "baking must be precise" is well, not really precise... There is a fair bit of "range" in the accuracy of measurements that will still give you the desired results.

There are always going to be variations in the ingredients themselves, the humidity levels, the elevation, and even the weather which will impact all stages of baking - and yet most recipes will work not too badly in most environments and with most versions of ingredients. Ingredient volume to mass conversion charts are going to vary, but not enough to have massive impact on end results.

So - don't get your knickers in too much of a twist about getting precise mass in grams for the ingredients in a recipe and just give it a try using what seems like a reasonable conversion.  As you are working with it, you'll be able to feel if you need a bit more moisture, or a bit more flour (depending on your own preferences / ingredients / environment) and you can make notes on the results as to what you want to tweak on flavours and texture (more or less sweeteners or fats or different flour types). 

Always keep in mind that the recipe writer is not working in your kitchen with your tools and with your ingredients - and didn't devise the recipe with your specific taste-buds in mind ;-)  Once you've given it a try using your best-guess on the conversion, you'll have a better handle on just how it works for you, and can then tweak it to your preferences. 

Something to think about, though, is that even using precise "to the gram" measurements on all of your ingredients, you may or may not get exactly the same result each time!  Your home kitchen will have variations in humidity and air pressure and temperature, and your home oven may have temperature fluctuations, and your ingredient sources might have variations in the moisture levels --- and there are always going to be variables that you can't control.  That is the reason why you'll so often hear the advice to add flour or water to make a dough feel "right", and to "watch the dough and not the clock" since that gives us the opportunity to modify things to suit the needs of the day, and so get the results that we want even if the ingredient weights are different from the last time we baked...

The most important thing is to have fun with it, so relax a bit on the whole over-rated "accuracy" thing and just give it a go!

BobBoule's picture

precise when you first try to reproduce someone else's recipe so you stand half a chance of getting into the right ballpark. Once you get decent results then you can change the proportions as much as you want and produce good results.

We all live in different places with different climates, humidity and temperature vary a lot as does atmospheric pressure, all of which can throw a monkey wrench into any recipe.

Because of all those variables I find that thoroughly sifting my flour and then weighing it helps me to have a repeatable baseline from which I can then adjust my version of the recipe as needed. Since flour, in my experience, is the one item that varies the most (when measured volumetrically) I can usually get close to what I expected by putting my energy into sifting the flour.

All that said, some recipes are very forgiving so I would start with 375 grams of sifted flour and adjust if necessary on the next batch. Have Fun!

Queen of Tarts's picture
Queen of Tarts

and I applaud you for trying to get it right.  Bread baking of course is more forgiving, but pastry ingredients (cookies!) must be scaled with precision.  As a pastry chef I've baked in different locations, and I can tell you that measuring everything to the gram is exactly what makes recipes work every time and everywhere.  When you bake with fat, sugar and eggs, and flour becomes just one of the ingredients, the influence of humidity, elevation, etc. becomes minuscule.  You may have to adjust your baking time and temperature, but it's something we have to take into account with every oven anyway.  The only factor mentioned above that matters here is the temperature of your ingredients, but that's a different story, and has nothing to do with measuring...

clazar123's picture

I agree that cookie baking is more precise than bread baking, in terms of ingredient amounts but it is not much narrower a range. In my experience, there is no recipe that is ever instantly perfect from kitchen to kitchen and bake to bake without some trial-whether it is pastry or bread and the ingredients are volume or weight. No matter how precisely ingredients are measured, every baker has to expect a trial batch or two. I think you have a better chance of success with weighed ingredients than volume but sometimes it is in the HANDLING or TECHNIQUE that there are differences that are not scalable that produce a different-than-expected outcome. Things that aren't scalable are-room temp changes, protein level yolk/white ratio in eggs, freshness/staleness of ingredients, temperature of bakers hands affecting dough temp, unexpected moisture level in butter, heating coil in oven is aging and cycling differently,etc,etc. So this can be where the skill of the baker comes in and also where the expectation of "perfection" needs some scaling (pun intended). Perfection is not a single data point in my world-it is a range. Don't relax your standards but relax your expectations and enjoy yourself more. Baker's joy is the best ingredient.

MayaankRai's picture

I agree and I also hat volume measurements. It's like a math trignometry question for me. I always bake with my own measurement. Years of experience makes you learn everything with time. I am sharing an image of the cake I have baked :