Measurements

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graham

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Apr 2, 2020, 1:23:32 PM4/2/20
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I've just made a couple of kg of bread dough from a newly opened bag of
flour.
I used a 250ml measuring cup as a handy scoop to put the flour into a
bowl on the scale and was astounded when it weighed 175g. A lot of US
recipes use a 4oz/114g equivalence but as many devotees of weighing will
attest, it all depends on how you fill the cup.
That 175g measure equates to 168g for a 236ml US cup.
I then used a whisk to stir up the flour in the bag and spooned the
flour to fill the cup. That weighed 134g (126g US).
No wonder my elderly neighbour complained that she couldn't make decent
pastry as she used volume measure.

Peter Flynn

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Apr 7, 2020, 5:58:15 PM4/7/20
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On 02/04/2020 18:23, graham wrote:
> I used a 250ml measuring cup as a handy scoop to put the flour into
> a bowl on the scale and was astounded when it weighed 175g. A lot of
> US recipes use a 4oz/114g equivalence but as many devotees of
> weighing will attest, it all depends on how you fill the cup. That
> 175g measure equates to 168g for a 236ml US cup. I then used a whisk
> to stir up the flour in the bag and spooned the flour to fill the
> cup. That weighed 134g (126g US).

Cups were a handy way to measure in the 1800s when you were out on the
prairie and had no access to city-based technology like a weighing
scales. Measuring dry goods by volume is always going to be problematic
because the tightness of packing isn't always made clear (and is only a
rough guide anyway, and usually doesn't matter except in fine
patisserie). Fanny Farmer famously declared all measures should be
levelled off, which is true, but she utterly missed the point about
packing, which largely invalidates a lot of what she says, which is a pity.

But those measurements are useful, Graham, thank you. I'm working on
software to help with accuracy in recipes, and I am going to need to
tackle the problem of quantity conversion at some stage.

> No wonder my elderly neighbour complained that she couldn't make
> decent pastry as she used volume measure.

It's perfectly possible provided you know what the author means wrt
packing, and use the identical ingredients, which is not usually
possible between Europe and the USA; even caster=superfine for sugar is
misleading because the granule size is different, so a cup of one does
not weigh the same as a cup of the other. In most recipes a little
variation is not important, but in pastry it usually is.

P
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