Author Topic: Crazy about standardized flour weights.  (Read 845 times)

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Offline JackHerer

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Crazy about standardized flour weights.
« on: August 13, 2011, 12:52:29 AM »
So I have a bread machine with and instruction manual that says 1 cup of bread flour = 140 grams.  In contrast King Arthur's website says 4.25 oz in a cup of KA bread flour which by my calculation is 28.25 x 4.25 = 120 grams.  Then to add to the confusion http://www.traditionaloven.com/conversions_of_measures/flour_volume_weight.html this website says a cup of bread flour should weigh 127 grams.  So I am new to making dough made about 10-12 batches.   I am just trying to rule out an additional variable from my dough making process.  what luck have you guys had with converting recipes in volume to weights.  PS i also use caputo 00 and have been treating it weight wise the same as king arthurs bread flour. 


Offline chickenparm

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Re: Crazy about standardized flour weights.
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2011, 01:16:21 AM »
I made my Pizza making life easier by going to Walmart and buying a cheap 20 dollar digital scale.It might be 30 bucks or so in some places,but the point is,get a cheap DIGITAL SCALE.You will never have trouble again.

Now,I can do it all by exact grams,ounces or etc.

I use a Oster bread machine to make my doughs.I don't follow the books suggestion of cup amounts either.

Get a scale!
 :)
-Bill

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Crazy about standardized flour weights.
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2011, 01:59:50 AM »
Jack, I have the same issue and have posted about it before and have never gotten a totally satisfactory answer. Any bag of flour will state that a quarter cup = 30 grams. So given that info, a cup should be 120 grams. 30x4=120. I've never seen any resource state that a cup is 120 grams. And if 120 was correct, then it would take almost 4 cups to equal a pound (454 grams). Oh, we shouldn't even be going here!!

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Crazy about standardized flour weights.
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2011, 02:04:07 AM »
The moral of the story is, if you want to be accurate, weigh your flour.

Offline JackHerer

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Re: Crazy about standardized flour weights.
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2011, 11:55:40 AM »
Maybe i was unclear in my first post.  I have a digital scale that weighs grams to 0.1 accuracy my dilemma is if a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour do I weigh that one cup out to 120, 127, 140, something else?  I refuse to use any thing but a scale so when a recipe is only written in volume I am looking for a fool proof conversion to grams

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Crazy about standardized flour weights.
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2011, 01:25:12 PM »
JackHerer,

You are asking for an answer that does not really exist, at least not with the degree of accuracy you seem to be looking for. Unless you know how the cup of flour in the recipe was measured out volumetrically, which is almost never stated, there is no way to know exactly what that cup of flour should weigh. There are just so many different ways of measuring out a cup of flour volumetrically and each method is likely to produce a different weight. Even if you know the brand of flour, there is no way to get an accurate conversion. If the recipe is a General Mills recipe, GM uses the Textbook method of measuring out a cup of flour volumetrically. King Arthur recommends the same method. That method is shown in the video at http://how2heroes.com/videos/dessert-and-baked-goods/bakers-tip-measuring-flour. BTW, GM went to the Textbook method of flour measurement (they call it the "spoon & level" method) in October, 1989 (http://www.gmflour.com/gmflour/ourheritage.aspx). Prior to that time, they recommended the "dip & level" method. If I had to choose between the two methods, I would say that most people still use the dip & level method, or some variation of it. Another point to keep in mind is that the Nutrition Facts for flours aren't exact, usually because of rounding factors.

The above said, one of our members, November, devised a tool that may be of use to you in respect of mass/volume conversions. It is called a Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator and it can be accessed at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/. That tool works with only the ingredients, including flour, that are in the pull-down menu. In your case, you select the brand of flour from the pull-down menu and then select the flour Measurement Method that best or most closely describes the way you measure out--or wish to measure out--the flour volumetrically. Then enter the volume of flour that you want to convert to weight. Even with the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator there is a human component involved in measuring out the flour and it will vary from one person to another no matter how careful that person is in measuring out the flour. So, you will never have a method that is "foolproof". If you play around with the tool with different flours and flour Measurement Methods, you will see how widely the answers can vary.

In case the particular flour that you are using is not in the pull-down menu, then I would look for the closest flour in the pull-down menu and use that as a proxy. The tool was devised using hundreds of actual weighings using different size measuring cups. To add a new flour would require that one go through the same drill. If you would like to see how I used November's tool recently to convert a volume recipe to weights, and particularly the flour, see the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14442.msg144109.html#msg144109. You will see that even when you can do a nominal conversion, you are not necessarily off the hook. You may still have to play around with weights to get the desired results.

Peter

EDIT (4/3/14): For the Wayback Machine version of the above GM link, see http://web.archive.org/web/20100105084108/http://www.gmflour.com/gmflour/ourheritage.aspx

scott123

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Re: Crazy about standardized flour weights.
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2011, 01:31:36 PM »
Maybe i was unclear in my first post.  I have a digital scale that weighs grams to 0.1 accuracy my dilemma is if a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour do I weigh that one cup out to 120, 127, 140, something else?  I refuse to use any thing but a scale so when a recipe is only written in volume I am looking for a fool proof conversion to grams

The simplest solution is this: don't use recipes that only provide volumetric measurements for compactible ingredients.