Author Topic: Weights and Measures  (Read 6737 times)

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Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2010, 07:42:45 PM »
Tran Man , those doughs certainly don't look  overly wet or out of the ordinary useable range. Maybe the hot, humid weather of mid-state New York makes that big a difference, or should I say your dry air makes that big a difference. This is one of the problems of trying to copy someone else's recipes, and the reason I always say to people "learn how to handle your ingredients and formulate your own recipes". Nothing one person does can be copied exactly by somebody else, especially when there are so many variables. I wasn't specifically singling out your doughs, but I did note your high hydration levels and those of many others as well. I know that if I correctly measured and used your hydration rates in my home, the dough would be an utter disaster. I guess my point is don't rely on a magic recipe, rely on what your eyes and hands tell you. Too many people want a quick fix to a problem and think some magic recipe will come to the rescue. If there was one that was "the best", everyone would be using it.Thanks for your imput, always enjoy reading about your results. I do intent to follow through with the experiment we talked about a few days ago. Have been tied up this weekend with un expected company and some catching up on projects around the house. I'm readying my house to put on the market soon, but I always find time for PIZZA.
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2010, 09:01:08 PM »
You know what DMC - I couldn't have said it better myself brother.  No worries, I didn't feel like you were singling me out at all, but I did figure some ppl were interested in how I go about doing some things. 

I have said what you just posted from day 1.  I have tried and tried to duplicate the looks of some ppl's pies and to no avail.  And when I say I tried, I'm not kidding around either.  Even if you can duplicate the dough, that's only half the equation.  The other half is the heat.  If you aren't using the same oven and the exact same set up, you'd be lucky to even get a remotely close looking pie.   This is also why I started this thread here....
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,11062.0.html

It was not so much to b*tch about how my pies suck, etc, etc.  It was more or less to make the point that the pies look a certain way b/c of the very many specific things we do over and over without thinking about it.  It can even be in the details like if you use a lot or a little bench flour, how you stretch the pie out, how you bake, blah blah blah. 

Listen, no worries about the dough experiment.  Unimportant at this point.  The main thing is that not anyone of us here has ALL the answers.  It's a great place where we can meet, share ideas, learn from one another, play nice, eat pizza, be happy. 

And I realize that what works in one kitchen may not work in another, so we should try to be open minded and keep looking for answers b/c who knows....it may very well lead to the best pie of your life.   :chef:

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2010, 09:05:11 PM »
If I made that same dough Chau made here in Boston at 71% I'd be killing my self, I guess where you live does make a difference. Chau I love how you always happen to have dough on hand to show examples of. The dough you made looks like the dough I make at 61%-62%. When I was making pizza in the home oven I was using HG flour with a 64% hydration and I found that to be the perfect area for me, it wasn't too wet but still had a slight wet consistency.

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2010, 09:17:56 PM »
BrickStoneOven-I live near Albany, NY, and my weather is very similar to yours, and you are right about where I am with the HR thing.60ish or a little higher is fine, but go much beyond that and it's not fun to handle the dough. Would love to hear from some other people on this, but sometimes I think people are afraid to question some things and as a result they never learn all that needs to be learned.
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2010, 09:27:03 PM »
I agree guys.  I have been wondering about what effects the environment has on the dough for some time now.   I first realized this after i posted a low hydration recipe of 63% using HG/BF?  Low for me I guess.  Anywho, someone that live in a very humid area tried it and said he had to put extra flour in to make it work. 

BSO, it sounds like the physical environment can make a difference of 10% on the hydration ratio, considering I like a 73% for HG flour.   But I will admit that I do tend to like a rather moist to even slight wet crumb. 

David, I usually have dough on hand, b/c I have a problem.  It's like a druggie making sure he's always got a stash somewhere.   :-D

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2010, 09:34:08 PM »
BrickStoneOven is a David? So am I. Tran Man, I also just about always have a dough in the fridge. I'm a sourdough man, and as you know I favor long, cold ferments. I commonly make my 2 doughs on Thursday and in the fridge they go. One sees duty on the weekend, the other is used during the week. That's one of the beauties of cold fermentation, you're in charge.
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2010, 10:01:51 PM »
I hear ya David C.  ;) I am just discovering tonight that for a NP style pie, the cold ferment doesn't really change the texture for me like a NY style pie. With the short quick bakes I'm getting a nearly identical crumb as a same day NP style dough but with the added benefit of the extra leoparding.  So I just may have some use for cold fermentation after all.  :-D

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2010, 10:11:41 PM »
Chau this is for you. I said it before and I'll say it again...

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2010, 10:54:36 AM »
BrickStoneOven-I live near Albany, NY, and my weather is very similar to yours, and you are right about where I am with the HR thing.60ish or a little higher is fine, but go much beyond that and it's not fun to handle the dough. Would love to hear from some other people on this, but sometimes I think people are afraid to question some things and as a result they never learn all that needs to be learned.

I'm in FL, you can guess the humidity ranges I'm dealing with and that's 8 months out of the year....the last 2 doughs I made were with AT flour at 65% and 66%, cold fermented for 3 days.  The dough is very slack and isn't "easy" to work with but on the other hand, that makes the dough "easier" to handle; it stretches itself, there's not much forming to do :)  After my initial bench form, it's on my forearms for a short few seconds before it's at the desired diameter.  This was cooked in an 11 year-old oven on a 1.25" soapstone for 4.5 minutes.  I'm still very much in the learning phase but I'm liking the results so far!


Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2010, 11:10:21 AM »
StrayBullet- yes, I get very similar results, long cold ferment tend to produce very slack doughs, never a If problem to open, but can be a little tricky to handle. That's one reason I don't like them to be too "wet".if you keep them a little drier, they stretch very easily, a fact I like since I prefer large (18"), thin crust pies.
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2010, 11:15:26 AM »
dmcavanagh,

I have been away from my home base for several days and have not had a chance to respond to your posts under this thread. But I believe I can answer most or all of your questions when I return home in a few days.

Peter

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2010, 11:46:49 AM »
StrayBullet- yes, I get very similar results, long cold ferment tend to produce very slack doughs, never a If problem to open, but can be a little tricky to handle. That's one reason I don't like them to be too "wet".if you keep them a little drier, they stretch very easily, a fact I like since I prefer large (18"), thin crust pies.

Totally agree!  Tossing that baby into the oven, even at my 14" isn't easy.  I almost tend to over dust my board and work as quickly as possible to get that thing into the oven.  It doesn't slide off the peel as much as I get the lip of the pie off and onto the stone, then due to a combination of dragging out the peel and the skin "sticking" to the stone, the rest of the pie ends up launched :D

I worked with a really low hydration dough yesterday and I was amazed to learn the actual definition of the term, "launch." :D

Offline dms

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2010, 12:21:31 PM »
BrickStoneOven-I live near Albany, NY, and my weather is very similar to yours, and you are right about where I am with the HR thing.60ish or a little higher is fine, but go much beyond that and it's not fun to handle the dough. Would love to hear from some other people on this, but sometimes I think people are afraid to question some things and as a result they never learn all that needs to be learned.

I'm in the midwest, where it's frequently humid.  I work with 74% (by mass, of course) doughs made with high protein flours (in the range of 13.5 to 14, depending on what's in use) all the time.  works fine, makes good pie.  It does take some practice to deal with, but it's not hard. 

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #38 on: September 06, 2010, 12:56:15 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.
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014

Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Weights and Measures
« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2010, 04:02:45 PM »
I know this has passed but I just wanted to show dough I made today that was at 60%.

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!
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014

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 »


Offline 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.
Rest In Peace - November 1, 2014

Offline 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

Offline 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!
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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.
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Offline 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 »


 

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