I’ve decided to change up the game plan for scheduling the newsletter slightly. I’m going to share posts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays most weeks (instead of M/W/F as I’d originally intended—I can’t be counted on to work hard enough on the weekends to have a post ready for Monday mornings, sorry). Of the three posts I share, at least one will be a bread recipe (Thursdays; this week’s will be for a sourdough focaccia), and one will be bread-“informational” in one way or another (instruction, advice, musings, etc., on Tuesdays, including today’s new version of my weight/volume conversion chart, below).
The Friday post—which will eventually be for paying subscribers only (more on this soon, the changeover won’t happen for at least a month)—will be “extra”, meaning it won’t be essential to learning to bake bread, but it will definitely be of interest to someone looking to do so. My thinking is this: I need to attract paying subscribers to make this project financially viable, but I don’t want to limit access to the “goods” to only those who can pay. Bread baking is a skill made up of building blocks, one leading to the next. It doesn’t make sense to withhold essential components of the process from anyone—it’s an all-or-nothing thing. Meaning that the bread recipes and instruction are going to be 100% free to everyone, paying or no.
The Friday “extra” posts are going to be more varied. Often they will be bread-adjacent: recipes for things you put on bread (like the recipe for fresh tomato confit I’ll be sharing this Friday that is excellent on focaccia), or for things you do with bread. (There will even be recipes for things entirely unrelated to bread sometimes.) And there will be non-recipe posts on Fridays as well: interviews with people doing important and interesting things in the bread world, book reviews, etc.. I might even share posts about my other hobbies, including photography, mycology, and gardening. In other words, things I hope will be interesting enough to encourage some of you to subscribe, but nothing that will make-or-break your ability to master bread baking at home.
The first non-recipe post I wanted to share is an updated version of my volume-to-weight conversion chart. Except in certain instances, I’m not going to give volume amounts for bread recipes, because they are a pain to sort out and they undermine the fact that bread recipes are essentially ratios of ingredients by weight. (I’ll be doing a post on baker’s math soon, so more on that later.)
So you are going to need gram scales to use my recipes. And yes, I said scales, plural—one for quantities of ingredients smaller than 5 grams, where accuracy is important, and another for larger quantities. For tiny amounts, I currently recommend the one pictured above, which is accurate to 1 gram, has a capacity of 1000 grams (meaning you could use it exclusively if need be; this makes it a good “travel” scale for baking on vacation), and only costs about $15. For larger quantities, I like either of the Oxo 11 lb- or 22 lb-capacity scales.
Until you get these scales in hand, you can use the table below to convert recipes into cups and spoons. These conversions are by necessity somewhat subjective, and you might find other sources give different equivalencies. This is particularly true for flour weight-to-volume conversions, which differ widely and controversially from source to source. But the important thing to remember is that I develop all my recipes by weight, and then only convert them to volume at the end of the process (or would convert them, except as I said I’m not doing that anymore). Meaning that though a scooped cup of all-purpose flour can weigh various amounts depending on how you scoop it or how packed it might be, I expect it to weigh exactly 142g every time. Of course all of this is moot if you just use a scale.
You’ll also find useful trivia like the amount of water in butter, eggs, and liquid sweeteners, how to convert one type of yeast to another, and the formula for how to make milk from milk powder. As I think of new things to add to the chart, I’ll add them here, so feel free to bookmark this page.
1 cup = 230g
1 tablespoon = 15g
1 teaspoon = 5g
1mL = 1g
1 cup all-purpose flour = 142g
1 cup bread/whole grain flour = 157g
1 tablespoon (any) flour = about 9g
1 teaspoon (any) flour = about 3g
1 teaspoon granulated/brown sugar = 4.3g
1 cup granulated/brown sugar = 206g
Liquid sweeteners (e.g., honey) = ~17% water
1 large egg = 50g
Large eggs = 74% water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter = 113g
American-style butter = 16% water
1 teaspoon oil = about 5g
1 tablespoon oil = about 14g
1 teaspoon dry milk powder = 2.5g
Milk = 87% water
To make milk from milk powder: add 3 tablespoons per cup of water, or 8.8% of water weight
1 teaspoon active/instant/osmotolerant dry yeast = 4.2g
Instant to active yeast conversion: active = 1.25x instant
Instant to osmotolerant yeast (for >10% sugar doughs) conversion: instant = 1.5x osmotolerant
Fresh (cake) yeast to dry yeast conversion: dry yeast = 0.4x fresh
(Note: I much prefer Diamond kosher salt, because it weighs exactly 1/2 of that of table salt, making for easy conversions between the two. Morton’s kosher weighs an annoyingly 3/4 that of table.)
1 teaspoon fine sea/table salt = 5.6g
1 teaspoon (Diamond crystal) kosher salt = 2.8g
1 teaspoon (Morton’s) kosher salt = 3.6g
1 teaspoon baking soda/powder = 4.8g
1 teaspoon diastatic malt powder = 3.25g
1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten = 2.75g