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Old 08.10.2009, 10:56
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How to measure ingredients

This seems like something I should have been able to find answers for but I've searched these forums and Googled the web without luck. So I'm defaulting to asking real people!

I am trying to make cinnamon rolls from a US recipe but my measuring cups and spoons are still being shipped. I can handle the math of converting the recipe to metric, but I am not sure how to actually do the measurements. I bought a plastic measuring cup at Coop and it has both grams for dry ingredients and dls for liquids. It shows different volumes for the same weight of sugar and rice, which makes sense since sugar is obviously heavier for the same volume. My husband - an engineer - suggests that I just use liters for the dry measurements so that I can measure the volume. I may do that, but I'm curious how it is typically done since metric recipes consistently use grams for dry ingredients. Do most of you cooks have a food scale and weigh the ingredients? Or do you just approximate using a cup? If the latter, can you tell me how to use the type of cup I have to measure flour?

I also could not find anything like measuring spoons at Coop, though I know that does not mean they do not exist. Should I keep looking for metric measuring spoons or do you just use the other spoons in your kitchen? If so, how do I know what size they are? I.e., are the smallest spoons equivalent to 1/2 teaspoon and the largest ones equal to a tablespoon? In many cases I don't worry about measuring very carefully, but precise measurements tend to be more important when baking.

Thanks in advance!

One more thing! I guess I should also ask about cinnamon. My husband loves it in all sorts of baked goods - especially cinnamon rolls - and he has not found any pastries here in canton Vaud made with enough cinnamon that the flavor is distinct. Any suggestions, or is the flavor just not popular here?
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Old 08.10.2009, 11:03
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Re: How to measure ingredients

Check this out. You have to scroll down a bit for the measurements you are looking for...

It was only about three searches down on the Googly-thing after I searched "convert cups to grams".
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Old 08.10.2009, 11:07
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Re: How to measure ingredients

For fry stuff specified in grams it is customary to use a scale.

For the teaspoons and so on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teaspoon

A teaspoon is 5 ml, a tablespoon is 15 ml, a cup is 240 ml, a fluid australian (fl.oz.) is 30 ml.

I have a small dispenser cup from cough medicine which I use for measuring ml's...
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Old 08.10.2009, 11:17
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Re: How to measure ingredients

You can find the measuring spoon from Ikea.
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Old 08.10.2009, 11:33
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Re: How to measure ingredients

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For fry stuff specified in grams it is customary to use a scale.

For the teaspoons and so on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teaspoon

A teaspoon is 5 ml, a tablespoon is 15 ml, a cup is 240 ml, a fluid australian (fl.oz.) is 30 ml.

I have a small dispenser cup from cough medicine which I use for measuring ml's...
But teaspons and tablespoons measure volume and ml is weight, right? And wouldn't the cough medicine measure - which is for liquid - assume a greater weight per volume that is heavier than for something like yeast? Or am I being overly precise? Maybe metric recipes have implicitly converted volume to weight or something.
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Old 08.10.2009, 11:41
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Re: How to measure ingredients

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But teaspons and tablespoons measure volume and ml is weight, right? And wouldn't the cough medicine measure - which is for liquid - assume a greater weight per volume that is heavier than for something like yeast? Or am I being overly precise? Maybe metric recipes have implicitly converted volume to weight or something.
No, ml is definately a volume measurement, it is 1/1000th of a liter, or 1 by 1 by 1 cm
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Old 08.10.2009, 11:54
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Re: How to measure ingredients

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No, ml is definately a volume measurement, it is 1/1000th of a liter, or 1 by 1 by 1 cm
Oops, I knew that! Thanks.
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Old 08.10.2009, 13:07
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Re: How to measure ingredients

I bought a scale... it's really useful to have one for measuring stuff like flour and pasta. Most scales also allow you to convert between grams and oz. Since all of my measuring cups are US measures, I also use it to measure things for European recipes (eg. 200 gm butter). If you're going to cook a lot, and use recipes that aren't just from the US, it's definitely a worthwhile purchase.

About the volume measurement... if I remember this correctly, one gm of water is one ml or one cubic centimter of water at room temperature. Or something like that.....
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Old 12.10.2009, 14:06
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Re: How to measure ingredients

for Butter conversions, I found this site helpful:

http://www.traditionaloven.com/conve...converter.html

They also have other conversions like flour as well.
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Old 12.10.2009, 18:22
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Re: How to measure ingredients

Or I can offer this conversion table on my blog.

I use scales to weigh ingredients, and also this little gem of a spoon from Betty Bossi. It handles the "official Swiss" tablespoon and teaspoon measurements perfectly.

Last edited by Crumbs; 12.10.2009 at 18:27. Reason: added measuring spoon link
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Old 12.10.2009, 18:34
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Re: How to measure ingredients

The American cup measurement system is not really that good . . . bakers especially often prefer to use a weight-based system.
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Old 12.10.2009, 19:00
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Re: How to measure ingredients

Hi,

I grew up with pounds and ounces - now do everything in metric these days.

I once went to one of Jack's (as in Laughing Lemon) pasta courses and he commented that weight measures are better than volume measures - especially when you are baking things like cakes where proportions are important.

The important thing is if you pick a system (cups, grammes, pounds and ounces), then stick to it throughout the recipe for all ingredients. Don't try to mix and match as the conversions are only approximate.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 12.10.2009, 20:06
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Re: How to measure ingredients

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The American cup measurement system is not really that good . . . bakers especially often prefer to use a weight-based system.
Bakers do that because the specific weight of flour varies with the moisture content.

I wholeheartedly hate the American system of units of measurement (1 mile = 8 furlongs = 80 chains = 320 rods = 1760 yards = 21,120 inches -- come on, how crazy can it get?). On the other hand, I do like the American way of measuring ingredients with cups and spoons: Two cups of A, one cup of B, half a cup of C, two tablespoons of D, one teaspoon of E etc.. No hassle with scales and the like. I mean, how do you weigh 15 grams of ginger without laboratory scales? I just read that nonsense in a Swiss magazine the other week -- honestly.

Anyway, as others pointed out already, cups etc. are strictly volume measures, so they can very easily be converted to ml. So you can go ahead with your Coop plastic measuring cup even before going to Ikea.

I brought a whole set of stainless steel measuring cups (1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/4 cup) from the USA. It cost me four bucks, is simple and practical, and no conversion is needed. I have even started to convert my own recipes with grams and the like to cups to make things easier. And the cups (on sort of a key ring) look nice on the kitchen wall between the nutmeg grater and the cutting boards. A kitchen scale would look downright silly up there.

Oh yet another thing: I think I found the reason why obesity is so much more frequent in the USA than in Europe. Just look at their teaspoons. Most of them are as big as what we would call a dessert spoon, some are even bigger, my guess is around 10 ml. So, since most of the American cuisine originally came from Europe anyway, when cooking according to Grandma Immigrants recipes, they use way to big portions of everything that's measured with a teaspoon.

Ok, just jokin'.
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Old 13.10.2009, 16:17
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Re: How to measure ingredients

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One more thing! I guess I should also ask about cinnamon. My husband loves it in all sorts of baked goods - especially cinnamon rolls - and he has not found any pastries here in canton Vaud made with enough cinnamon that the flavor is distinct. Any suggestions, or is the flavor just not popular here?
I've spent 10 years searching for a good cinnamon roll in Switzerland, without much success; the closest I've found are the Zimtschnecken at Cafe Brandli in Wädenswil (ZH - so that doesn't really help you out in Vaud ) - decent, but still not quite the right texture...

Cinnamon baked goods (as we know them in the US) are indeed hard to find here - I'm guessing the flavor isn't all that popular. So brush up your pastry making skills.

Also - the cinnamon I've found in Coop and Migros and even Schwarzenbach is too mild for me. I like a strong cinnamon so I bring back Penzey's Vietnamese whenever I visit the States.

Happy baking!


(Reading this thread, I'm starting to get that ol' cinnamon roll craving again. And here I thought I had conquered that particular demon... Will I ever integrate successfully, and be satisfied with Hazelnuss Schnecken? )
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Old 13.10.2009, 16:44
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Re: How to measure ingredients

The cinnamon in Coop and Migros are odourless and flavourless. The only decent ones I have found are in health food stores or reformhaus. You might also check out ethnic grocery stores for cinnamon.
For me, I have a big jar of Saigon cinnamon from Costco that should last me a long time! Good luck!
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Old 13.10.2009, 23:35
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Re: How to measure ingredients

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Also - the cinnamon I've found in Coop and Migros and even Schwarzenbach is too mild for me. I like a strong cinnamon so I bring back Penzey's Vietnamese whenever I visit the States.

Happy baking!


(Reading this thread, I'm starting to get that ol' cinnamon roll craving again. And here I thought I had conquered that particular demon... Will I ever integrate successfully, and be satisfied with Hazelnuss Schnecken? )
Gah, I doubt it. I love Penzey's Vietnamese cinnamon.

One of our bakeries make schmelzbrötli (I think that's how it's spelled) with these weird little cinnamon chips in them. Can't handle them. I don't think strong, fragrant cinnamon is all that popular here.
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Old 13.10.2009, 23:38
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Re: How to measure ingredients

The 'convention' in Australia (at least in a laboratory) is to weigh 'dry' ingredients by weight, and 'wet' ingredients (liquids) by volume...

and yes, we have a scale, picked it up for 5chf at a brockenhaus, works perfectly...
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Old 13.10.2009, 23:54
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Re: How to measure ingredients

Ikea is better for measuring cups than Coop. For dry, such as flour and sugar, measure by weight, not liters. And yes, use a scale. I also regularly refer to an old Joy of Cooking that has 5 pages of measures and equivalents. And this is a quick and easy reference: http://www.joyofbaking.com/USMetricVolumeEquiv.html.
That said, I keep my old cup/tsp. etc. measures and routinely use them for US recipes. Here's one I just posted on our food pages, for pumpkin bread :-), using US measures: http://genevalunch.com/the-rambling-...o-the-kitchen/

Last edited by Ellen Wallace; 14.10.2009 at 00:07. Reason: hit post too soon!
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Old 14.10.2009, 20:29
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Re: How to measure ingredients

Since I was trained at the Cordon Bleu and La Varenne, and raised on Julia Child, I have always used her extremely thorough and precise conversion tables. They are invaluable, because they give French, British and American equivalents, which is important since--perhaps you don't know--an American ounce is quite a different thing than a British ounce! (I'm exaggerating a wee bit there.)

These conversion tables are to be found in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," of which an anniversary edition has just been published. Child, or simply "Julia", as we like to call her in the world of cuisine, also provided temperature conversion charts, including both British and French "marks" as well as metric and Imperial temperatures.

I will try to reproduce these on my food blog, The Rambling Epicure, on GenevaLunch, in the next few weeks, because many people are quite understandably confused, especially when they first arrive in Europe.

If you do have anybody back in the U.S. who can send you a set of stainless steel measuring cups and spoons however, do ask them to do so. The American ones usually give the U.S. measurement as well as the metric equivalent. I agree that weighing small amounts is tedious, and once you start using these cups and spoons, you'll soon get a feel for the metric equivalents.

They can easily be found in stores such as Walmart, and certainly in all major department stores, hypermarkets, superstores and, of course, in cookware shops. They are not expensive, and last forever. I've been using the same ones for 25 years now.
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Old 14.10.2009, 22:47
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Re: How to measure ingredients

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If you do have anybody back in the U.S. who can send you a set of stainless steel measuring cups and spoons however, do ask them to do so. The American ones usually give the U.S. measurement as well as the metric equivalent. I agree that weighing small amounts is tedious, and once you start using these cups and spoons, you'll soon get a feel for the metric equivalents.

They can easily be found in stores such as Walmart, and certainly in all major department stores, hypermarkets, superstores and, of course, in cookware shops. They are not expensive, and last forever. I've been using the same ones for 25 years now.
Thanks, Jonell! I have American measuring cups and spoons on their way, in a container someplace...eventually... which is part of why I wasn't rushing out to buy more. I found the same OXO liquid measuring cup that is in one of my boxes at Coop, but especially given the price, I was unwilling to buy a second one. Once they arrive, most of the problems go away.
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