Author Topic: Weights and Measures  (Read 6325 times)

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Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #40 on: September 06, 2010, 05:23:46 PM »
BrickStoneOven-that's a beauty, surely has enough hydration!


Offline dms

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #41 on: September 06, 2010, 05:39:27 PM »
dms-you're a better peel man than I am, if you can get a 74%'er off the peel! Do you cold ferment your doughs for 4-5 days? I do, and that could make a big difference.


Anywhere from 48 to 336 hours, yes. 48 is what I plan on, but I've had balls get lost in the fridge for two weeks, and they work fine.  (Flour's cheap, so I always make more dough than I plan on needing, so if I want to feed extra people, or tear a skin while tossing it, I've got more.  that means there's a couple left, and they'll get made up for lunch.)  I find that extended stays in fridge result in a dough that's too extensible and not elastic, but not any stickier. 

edit: gratuitous pizza pics: http://www.panix.com/~dscheidt/pizza_27_feb_10/
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 05:49:09 PM by dms »

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2010, 01:46:06 PM »
This is mainly for Pete....what weight do you consider a full cup. I weighted out a cup of water at 234 grams, but I would like to know what you consider the correct weight for a cup of flour. A bag of flour always list the weight of a 1/4 cup as 30 grams, thus a full cup should be 120 grams. Is this the weight you use when you calculate hydration % for someone when they post a recipe. Hand scooping a cup always weights higher than 120 grams.


dmcavanagh,

Unless one knows how a cup of flour is measured out volumetrically, it is very difficult to convert that volume of flour to a weight. There are many different ways that people measure out flour by volume, and in each case the flour will have a different weight when placed on a scale because of the different degrees of compaction. That is why you will often see me ask members how they specifically measured out a quantity of flour by volume. I will also usually ask for the brand of flour if the brand was not specified since all flours do not weigh the same for a given volume. The millers are aware of this issue and have attempted to offer guidance. I can't speak for all millers but as you will note at http://www.gmflour.com/gmflour/ourheritage.aspx, prior to October, 1989, General Mills advocated the use of the "dip & level" method of measuring flour. However, beginning in October of 1989, General Mills started to recommend the "spoon & level" method to ensure more accurate measuring by avoiding packing too much flour in the measuring cup. The recommendation appears on flour packages, but not on individual recipes. The General Mills method is the one that we refer to on the forum as the "Textbook" method. I believe that King Arthur also recommends the Textbook method.

If in a given case a member tells me how he or she measured out a given volume of flour, and the brand as well, I usually go to the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/. Then, based on the information provided, I use that tool as best I can to convert the volume of flour to a weight based on the way that the flour was measured out. That tool was devised by member November and it was based on November and I having conducted literally hundreds of conversions of volumes of different types and brands of flour (the ones that he and I had access to at the time) to weights using different measuring methods and different measuring cup sizes (e.g., one cup, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup, etc.). November used these measurements to come up with the algorithm for the tool. You will note that one of the flour Measurement Methods in that tool is the "Textbook" method. That is the same as the method now recommended by General Mills. If a particular brand of flour is not in the pull-down table in the tool, I use the closest flour as a proxy (e.g., I will use the King Arthur bread flour for another brand of bread flour not in the pull-down menu).

If, for some reason, the tool can't be used at all (e.g., the type and brand of flour are not in the pull-down menu), I will arbitrarily use a weight based on the Textbook method for the type of flour in question (e.g., all-purpose, bread, high-gluten). But, whatever weight value I come up with, whether using the tool or otherwise, I will do a few calculations to see how the weight value affects the hydration calculation for the dough recipe in question. If the hydration value is considerably higher or lower than the rated absorption value for the type of flour used, I will note that to the member as a possible red flag and I am likely to suggest to the member that he or she may have to make adjustments to the amount of water and/or flour to get the desired finished dough condition. That is really the only option I can suggest since I have no way of knowing what hydration the member was using or intended. Also, members sometimes don't remember exactly how they measured out a quantity of flour. And the members often use different types and shapes of measuring cups (and measuring spoons as well).

I think you can see how many problems can be presented when using volume measurements. I have seen instances where conversions I conducted on behalf of a member did not produce the desired results. Invariably, I do not have an explanation for why the results were not what the member was looking for. I think that is why many members end up buying digital scales.

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

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2010, 02:27:37 PM »
Pete, thanks for the info. I realise the inconsistencies of measuring flour, and for that reason I question peoples insistence that a hydration rate has to be an exact, when the amount of ingredient is rarely exact. OK, enough on that , but my original question still remains, what is the industry standard as the weight of a cup of flour? Is it the 30grams x 4=120grams as is often listed on the "Ingredient List" of a bag of flour, or is it somewhat higher. I often see it stated that a pound of flour is 3 1/3 cups or 3 1/4 cups or 3 1/2 cups, but if a pound weights 454grams, then 4 120gram cups still aren't a pound. Yet the packagers of the flour state that a 1/4 cup equals 30 grams and by that statement they are saying a cup =120 grams. The math doesn't work out, and therefore no one seems to be working from the same base. I realise this is why it better to weight then do volume, but using the package stated figures even those are incorrect.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2010, 03:03:09 PM »
dmcavanagh,

If there are any industry standards for the weight of a cup of flour, or for weights of cups of different flours, I have not seen them. Moreover, if you do searches on the Internet for volume-to-weight conversions for flours, including different types of flour, as I have done, the conversions are not consistent from one source to the next. Consequently, I would never trust them. The Nutrition Facts on labels of flour bags are for nutrition factors only, not to serve as standards for weights of cups of flours. Cups of different flours measured out using the same flour measurement method will not always weigh the same, and this is reflected in the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator. Even cups of the same flour weighed at different stages of storage (e.g., fresh flour vs. old flour) or under different storage conditions can have different weights. That is why under the best of circumstances one may have to make changes in flour and/or water values. In such cases, I think you fare better when working with weights rather than volumes.

I might add that my recollection is that at one time King Arthur used to state on its 5-lb bags of flour that there were 19 cups of flour in the 5-lb bags, both for all-purpose flour and bread flour. I checked a bag of KAAP flour that I purchased recently and did not see that statement.

Peter

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #45 on: September 08, 2010, 04:25:38 PM »
According to King Arthur, at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/king-arthur-unbleached-all-purpose-flour-5-lb, its all-purpose flour in the 5-lb bag contains 18-19 cups. Their whole wheat flour in the 5-lb bag contains 19-20 cups: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/king-arthur-premium-100-whole-wheat-flour-5-lb. I did not see a similar statement for the KABF.

Peter

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #46 on: September 08, 2010, 05:22:36 PM »
Thanks Pete, that was my point, hard to nail the exact numbers, so hands and eyes are still valuable tools when making dough. It's still an art and not a science!

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2010, 08:41:22 PM »
For service, I can understand individually weighing ingredients.  For the typical home cooker, it is kind of like what I tell people when they want to know, for instance, exactly how much water to add to a bag of mortar.  There is no right answer, although in the lab, for strength testing, they may measure it, but out in the field, that methodology is not workable.  The correct answer is that you add enough water to provide a workable mix.

If you do not know what a workable mix is, then the reality is that there is not enough consistency in ingredients, much less environment or methods to unequivocally state:  THIS is the exact way to do this, every time, and it will produce the exact same result, both in mortar and in cooking.


Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #48 on: September 25, 2010, 01:29:11 AM »
I just found this on the packaging from a bag of Harvest King flour...there are 3 and 1/3 cups of flour per pound and approximately 17 cups per 5# bag. That would be roughly 4.8 oz.per cup if my math is correct.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2010, 10:43:40 AM »
dmcavanagh,

I found an old empty bag of Harvest King flour that I had saved and it also says to measure out the flour by spooning it into a measuring cup and then leveling off with a knife. That is the method that General Mills has recommended since October, 1989. I used that method, which we call the Textbook method on the forum, to conduct hundreds of weighings using different size measuring cups. This was done in order to get large numbers of data points for member November to use in the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/ that he created. For one cup, the average was 4.234 ounces. I used fresh flour from the supermarket so I am confident of the values I got from those weighings.

So long as people are consistent with their volumetric flour measurement methods and know how to make adjustments to compensate for all of the factors that can affect the weight of flour, for whatever mixing/kneading methods they use, they should be able to achieve reasonably good results on a consistent basis. November created the abovementioned tool specifically to assist members without digital scales, or who choose not to use them for some reason, in converting ingredients specified in recipes by weights into volume measurements. However, that can be a tedious exercise, as I have discovered when members have asked me to do the conversions on their behalf and also when I have done so on my own to assist members who do not use scales. For those who plan on making a lot of pizzas, I still believe that using a digital scale makes the most sense, especially since so many recipes on the forum are now in baker's percent format. Using a digital scale isn't a cure-all either, and people can still make mistakes measuring things out or do so inconsistently, and some tweaking of flour and/or water may still be needed, but I believe it gets one closer to achieving the desired results on a consistent basis. And people always have the option of going back to volume measurements once they know what the conversion factors are have learned what a dough should look and feel like.

Peter


« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 10:45:26 AM by Pete-zza »


Offline Tory

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #50 on: October 08, 2010, 02:26:31 AM »
I typically use King Arthur flour. Their measure for their All Purpose and Bread flour is 4.25 oz= 1 cup

When I make a pizza with a slightly thicker crust, I use 13 oz bread flour to about 8.5-9 oz very warm water.

If I want a "thin crust" (not crunchy) then I only use about 7 oz All Purpose flour and about 4.5 oz very warm water.

But I also use either diastatic malt or honey to feed the "instant" yeast.

Both of these recipes give me enough dough for at least a 15" diameter pizza.

Offline Jose L. Piedra

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #51 on: October 08, 2010, 03:40:33 PM »
I work in baker's percents, but I've actually never owned a proper scale. When I first took up pizza making, I borrowed a scale from somebody and calibrated a set of instruments consisting of a cup, a measuring spoon, and a shot-glass to the scale. Using the dip and level method, I determined that 1 cup of the flour I use= 140 gr. and make all my pies under this assumption. Sounds crude- but I've nonetheless standardized all my pies to a very exacting grade of quality control this way (all my formulations yield the same result every time I use them, to the point where I feel completely comfortable going out for a cigarette while my pies bake if I bring a watch).

-JLP
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Offline pizzablogger

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #52 on: October 12, 2010, 05:11:33 PM »
But how often do people actually get out the scale and weight out each time.

Every time, without fail.
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Offline c0mpl3x

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #53 on: October 12, 2010, 10:30:21 PM »
i use my scale all the time but i think someone else used it and dropped it as my doughs are coming out far wetter than the percentage says.
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Offline jrovito

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #54 on: October 16, 2010, 02:37:31 PM »
This is a serious rant, so I apologize in advance. >:D
< Rant>
It is incomprehensible to me why someone who is in the pursuit of a perfect pizza, wouldn't use a scale each and every time for each of the ingredients. If you're going to spend 1/2 hour mixing, 1-2 days retarding, and an evening entertaining and tossing, why wouldn't you want to maximize your chances of success or at least reproducibility. The amount of something is measured by its mass. We donít have ďmassmetersĒ, but here on earth we can substitute weight as a very,very,very good approximation.  Use a scale. A good one. Weigh your ingredients. Every time.

I have a close friend who I turned on to Pizza Making ten years ago. He starts with three and a half cups of flour, and eyeballs everything else. He makes Pizza, and sometimes it is good. But he always rolls it in a greased pan. He's asked me to show him how to hand form it, and get it from a peel and a stone, but I just can't. His dough is either so dry that it won't stretch, or so wet that it tears. Even if he does get the hydration close, he wonít plan more than an hour or two ahead of time, so itís never retarded.   

Heck, I have another friend (an M.D. no less) who assembles a pizza on a cold stone covered in cornmeal and slides the whole thing into a preheated oven. Yech.

 I started making pizza as a hobby in the 70's. For Thirty years, I made mediocre pizzas, good pizzas, and sometimes great pizzas. But never the same pizza twice, even though I was using 'basically' the same recipe. Then in 2005 I "snuck" into a pizza convention. Took an all day class entitled "Pizza Dough boot camp".

This is what they hammered into our heads:
1. Use a scale and a thermometer to improve the process
2. Retard your dough (except in an emergency, and then there was a special recipe)
3. Learn and use baker's percentages <a totally non-intuitive -at first- way of communicating recipes>

The quality and consistency of my Pizzas has risen dramatically. (This board has helped as well)

Something to think about: whatís the difference between French bread, Ciabatta, Bagels, and Pizza dough ?  Not much. Slight changes in the ratios of the very same ingredients. Slight changes to process.   Totally different results.

I respect the fact that Jose and others can make a decent Pie without a scale.  But I would never try one of his recipes unless it was expressed in weight. And like another poster, I always skip any recipe expressed volumetrically. I may read it to see how they ran their mixer, or combined there ingredients, or setup their oven, but thatís about it.

How much does a cup of flour weigh ?  Donít Know. Donít Care.
</Rant>

And finally, if youíve indulged me this far, hereís another question that will give you something to think about: How much does a cup of water weigh at tap temperature? If you answered 0.5 lbs / 8 oz. / 227 gms, I donít want any of your recipes.   :'(

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #55 on: October 16, 2010, 02:47:32 PM »
This is gonna be fun.  Popcorn anyone?  :-D

Jrovito, welcome to the forum and nice first post.  ;D  There are both types of pizza makers in this world. Those who weigh and those who do not.  As far as I know and would guess, the pizza "masters" of the world do not weigh their ingredients, and hardly even go by volume measurements.  But since we aren't pizza masters,  I agree.  Always weigh everytime for consistency. 

Also just b/c your friend is a Doctor and good at his job doesn't mean he's necessarily good at everything else including pizza making.  Doesn't mean he can't be either, just saying.   Some of the brightest medical ppl make the worse clinicians.   >:D

Again, welcome and post up some pics.

Chau
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 03:12:36 PM by Jackie Tran »

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #56 on: October 16, 2010, 03:35:37 PM »
I'll take the bait.

I don't WANT the same pizza every time, nor do I want to set up a laboratory in my kitchen to knock out a pie.  If it works for you, Salute!, but unless you are making pies for a living, it is not necessary or required, and, for that matter, no single recipe, no matter how it is expressed will work the same under all conditions.

The important thing in all cooking is to learn to improvise.  Cooks use recipes, Chefs use their senses.

Offline dms

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #57 on: October 16, 2010, 10:51:26 PM »
I'll take the bait.

I don't WANT the same pizza every time

Don't you know what you want in advance?  Science can help with getting it right. 

Online Pete-zza

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #58 on: October 18, 2010, 11:43:54 AM »
I think there is merit to both points of view but perhaps for somewhat different reasons.

On the professional operator's side, it is perhaps not surprising that Tom Lehmann advocates that professional pizza operators weigh the main ingredients, as is discussed in the Zeak/Lehmann video at
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dtiOxq73uM&amp;feature=related" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dtiOxq73uM&amp;feature=related</a>
. It will be noted in the video, for example, that adjustments may be needed to the weight of flour because a bag of flour can vary somewhat from bag to bag (typically a 50-lb bag might vary by about a half pound on either side of 50 pounds). I am sure that over time many pizza operators are able to convert dough recipes recited by baker's percents to volume versions. This makes sense since most pizza operators typically make only one type of dough, with a pretty much standard dough batch size that is replicated over and over again using the same mixer. On occasion, a pizza operator might make a second type of dough but it is very rare to see more that two types of dough being made because it is inconvenient and cumbersome to work with multiple dough types simultaneouisly and to estimate and maintain specific inventories of the different types of dough balls. Of course, over time, pizza operators get to know pretty well what their dough should look and feel like, and make adjustments as necessary. However, to the extent that pizza operators have problems with their dough, it becomes difficult to resolve those problems if only volume measurements are used. That is typically a source of frustration to Tom Lehmann when pizza operators come to him with their recipes recited by volume measurements.

Baker's percents and weighing ingredients come in most handy when it is necessary or desirable to make many different dough types and in scaling recipes up or down for different dough batch sizes and different numbers of dough balls and pizza sizes and crust thicknesses. That description covers a lot of the members on this forum. Without a baker's percent approach, it would be much more difficult in the context of how this forum operates to help them succeed with their pizza making. It would simply take too many iterations of the process and a lot of work and patience to get to the desired endpoint. Very few people on this forum have the tolerance or desire to do that kind of work on behalf of other members. I think that most members would prefer to replicate their doughs and not have them vary from one attempt to the next. However, if they enjoy the idea of having their pizzas have an unpredictability component, that is their prerogative. But they are likely to be pretty much on their own.

As I have noted many times before, I do not personally weigh small amounts of ingredients like yeast, salt, sugar, oil, etc. For those ingredients, I use the volume measurements produced by the various dough calculating tools. If I were making large amounts of dough where using a digital scale made sense, I would certainly use a scale. Also, I have tested conversion values for items like yeast on a special scale that is able to weigh small quantities of ingredients and I have found that the volume measurements that are produced by the dough calculating tools are quite accurate. In my experience, weighing the flour and water and getting the proper hydration value for the particular flour and dough in question go a long way toward achieving success with just about any dough formulation. So, having a good digital scale on hand makes a lot of sense. For those who choose not to use a scale, they can try using the Mass-Volume Conversion Calculator at http://foodsim.unclesalmon.com/ if the particular flour in question is in the pull-down menu.

Peter

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #59 on: October 18, 2010, 08:12:55 PM »
I don't think anyone is questioning the use of scales for food service, not only for consistency, but also for portion control.

In the home environment, technique is what counts, and 2 or even 5% difference in the amount of flour by weight used won't make a terrible amount of difference.  I am pretty sure that good consistent bread has been around much longer than digital scales.

For consistent results, use the same techniques every time with the same ingredients every time, and you can achieve the same result every time without a scale, even though you may have to adjust the proportions some of the time.

I am a masonry guy, so I will use that simile to try and make my point.  Mortar and dough share many of the same properties, and are made in similar fashions, i.e. from a few simple ingredients thoroughly mixed, but not too much.

All mortar mix designs (recipes) are volumetric.  You mix 1 part by volume of cement flour with X part by volume of lime flour with 2-1/2 to 3 parts sand.  The amount of sand is variable, the amount of water added is left to the individual mixing the mortar.


There is a very specific standard for the ultimate strength of the various classes of mortar, and the color of the mortar varies with the amount of sand and water in the batch.  How then can a building that takes thousands of different batches of mortar over a period of months or years be constructed so that no matter what the climatic differences (humidity, ambient temperature, etc) all the mortar will match in color and achieve the correct strength using a shovel for a measuring cup by the lowest paid guy on the crew?

The sand may be wet if it rained yesterday (add less water) or it may be dry if it hasn't rained in a week (add more water).  If the humidity is 100% with no wind at 40 degrees, you will add less water than if the humidity is 30% with a stiff breeze in 90 degree weather.  There is no change in formula, all adjustments are to the eye of the mixer.  He looks at the mix and adds water, and to a lesser extent, sand until it is "right".  Right for mortar means silky, sticky, and workable for a given volume of cementious ingredients.

That is what I do with dough. 
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 08:14:38 PM by Tscarborough »