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  • Writer's pictureGrace Saadi

Recipe Conversion, It's an Important Factor!

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

They say, “cooking is an art and baking is a science,” but where does math fall into the equation?

One of the most vital parts of baking is knowing how to properly convert your recipe. Whether they are centuries old or a new concept you're trying, any recipe can be altered to make future baking endeavors easy and incredibly accurate. In this post, I will share the importance of properly recording your recipes and how to do so in Excel.

Before you can begin, here’s what you must do/have:

  • A digital scale and a microscale. You can do without the microscale, but it is great for decimal measurements such as when working with extracts, spices, and leavening agents.

  • The recipe is measured by weight- either grams or ounces will do but it must be consistent. To do this, simply: Weigh your ingredients the next time you make it OR use King Arthur Baking Company’s ingredient weight chart to convert from volume to weight. Though this is incredibly accurate, you may see some disparities in your baked goods through this method. That may be a result of incorrect measuring in past re-creations (i.e. spooning vs scooping your flour), and it's up to personal opinion.

I personally prefer grams, and if you would like to convert from one or the other, it’s an easy switch. #1 rule- there are 28.35 grams in an ounce

Ounces to grams: multiple everything by 28.35

Grams to ounces: divide everything by 28.35

Simple!


Throughout the majority of my early baking years, I worked primarily in volume (measuring cups and spoons). As you could guess, this not only limited my ability to adjust my recipes, but it also hindered my efficiency, dirtied more dishes, AND created room for error in scaling my ingredients. It was only until recently that tips such as the “proper method for scaling flour” were considered common knowledge, so there was always a concern for disparities when remaking something. Weight is the way to go!

 

How to convert your recipe:

Blank Recipe Card
.xlsx
Download XLSX • 22KB

Here I’ve provided a downloadable blank version of how I record all my recipes (with notes!). Feel free to alter this or use your own set up entirely!


In this scenario, I wanted to mix a batch of chocolate chip cookies using all the chips I had on hand.


1.

Measure the total amount of the ingredient you have and jot down the weight. Here I have 943g of chocolate chips in total.


2.


Find your conversion factor (written here as CF). This is found by dividing what you have by the standard weight of the ingredients. In my case, I divided 943/340 = 2.77. You can often find the equation written like this:


Desired

_________________

Standard


3.


Multiply the standard ingredient weights by the CF. Double-check if your conversion is correct by comparing the weight of the ingredient in question and the conversion (if it is off by 1 gram, that’s ok). The new weight for chocolate chips adds up to 943, the same number that I weighed, so it's correct! (you can also double-check your work by calculating the percentages of the new conversion, none of the ratios have changed so they should be the same as the original).


4.

Calculate the sum to find the total of the converted recipe. If you know how much one cookie weighs, this would give you an idea of how many this batch will make in total.





5.

If needed, adjust the decimals for ingredients that weigh less than 10g. These typically are flavor extracts, leavening agents (baking soda, baking powder, yeast), salt, spices, herbs, etc. You want to be as precise as possible with ingredients such as these due to their functions in the recipe. This is where a micro-scale comes in handy!

6.

Lastly, to make reading easier and avoid confusion, freeze the first column so the new weights are next to their respective ingredients. This can be done by going to View -> Window -> Freeze First Column then slide the page over so column F (ingredient weight conversion) is next to A (ingredient names)


And that's it!

 

This same logic can also be applied to other situations as well!

In the opposite case when you are short on an ingredient but still want to make a smaller batch. Weigh what you have, record the number, and divide it by the standard weight to get the conversion factor. It is the same exact process; the only difference is that your CF will be less than 0. Continue from step 3 stated above.

In another situation, let’s say you need to produce a large batch of cookies for an event. You’ll need 200 cookies total, and you know that each weighs approx. 30g. 30 x 200 = 6000, meaning you’ll need to convert the formula to produce 6000g worth of cookie dough (aka your desired amount of cookie dough). Using the same formula, divide the desired total by the standard total. (6000 / 982.72 = 6.11). Multiply the rest of the ingredient weights by the new CF (6.11) and your total should add up to approx. 6000g. Always ensure that your sum errs on the safe side, going slightly over the desired total if needed to ensure that you meet the demand.


Recording and converting your recipes using these tips will help massively in the long run. Whether you're catering for a party, trying a new flavor, or just in need of that midnight snack but you're low on butter (because it always vanishes right when you need it most), conversion factors will be your best friend when baking.

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