I keep telling myself to do a recipe for new people that uses cups, hand kneaded and uses readily available ingredients. This is much more practical with the new Harvest King flour. If time permits then next week I will put my mind to it.

Randy,

This morning I ran some flour weighing tests using the King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour that I thought might interest you in the event you try to come up with a simple conversion factor for the Harvest King flour.

I ran four sets of weighing tests, each based on 22 ounces of flour that I had weighed and put into a bowl. I used only a 1/2-cup measuring cup (made of of metal, with straight sides) and made nine weighings, along the lines of your recommendation to husker3in4 that he weigh out nine 1/2-cups of flour for the last recipe you posted.

For the first test, I used the King Arthur method and weighed out the 1/2-cup measurements by first fluffing the flour in the bowl, lifting flour into my measuring cup with a tablespoon to slightly overflowing, and then leveling off the top. I also fluffed the flour in the bowl between weighings. For the second test, I compacted the flour in the bowl as much as possible by thumping the bowl against my work surface several times, and then scooped the flour using the 1/2-cup measuring cup to overflowing, and leveled off the top. I thumped the bowl in between weighings. For the third test, I stirred the flour in the bowl, scooped the flour using the 1/2-cup measuring cup to overflowing, and then leveled off the top. I fluffed the flour in the bowl between weighings. For the final test, I repeated the last test but used a different 1/2-cup measuring cup, one that was plastic and tapered.

The total weight of the flour for the different weighings was 19.55 oz. for the KA method (2.17 oz. avg. per 1/2-cup weighing), 22.05 oz. for the compaction method (2.45 oz. avg.), 20.75 oz. for the fluff/scoop/level method (2.31 oz. avg.), and 20.40 oz. for the fluff/scoop/level method but using the plastic 1/2-cup measuring cup (2.27 oz. avg.). Obviously, the 22.05 oz. number was off (it is higher than the 22 oz. I put in the bowl to start), and most likely the error is due to my scale being accurate to only 0.05 oz. But what is noteworthy is the effect of the weighings on hydration. If we assume that the water weight is 12 ounces, then the respective hydration percents are 61.4%, 54.4%, 57.8%, and 58.8%. The 12 oz. water assumption is only an assumption, since it quite likely that people who measure out water by volume will be off with that too, as I discovered when I conducted tests involving weighing out volumes of water. So, there are two potential sources of error in our example, the flour and the water, each of which will affect the final hydration percent.

I suppose it doesn't matter what test is used for the flour so long as the method is applied consistently, and good instructions are given to the user on the specifics of the method. For example, with the Harvest King flour, you could take several weighings (the more the better from an accuracy standpoint) using whatever method you deem to be the best, take the average of the weighings, and divide that into the weight of the flour you establish for your recipe. If you decide to use different cup sizes, you may need to take weighings for each cup size to arrive at the number of cups (full cups, 1/2-cups, etc.). Even that may not be exact. Some people have a lighter or heavier hand at doing these sorts of things than others. And your measuring cups may be different than the next person's. It will also be helpful to instruct users that it may be necessary to make minor adjustments in the bowl, and how to tell when the dough is of the proper form.

As a sidenote, I wondered what a half-cup of sifted flour weighed. It came to 2.05 oz. So, for my tests, the range of weights ran from 2.05 oz. at one end to 2.45 oz. at the other end.

Peter