U.S. / Metric - Not as easy as I had hoped

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by Guest, May 9, 2010.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hey everyone,

    first time poster here all the way from The Netherlands. I enjoy cooking, more than I enjoy cleaning up afterwards at least and I love making cakes or cupcakes, so it's safe to say, mostly pastries. Cakes and such, those kinds! Also, I'm a beginner I've baked/cooked before but I am at the lowest of low levels and appreciate any hints and/or tips!

    So that's me, now on to my question!

    As I am browsing the site I noticed from what I have seen that all measureing is done in 'cups', which is perfectly fine, obviously, but as I went to convert it into the grams using what seemed to be a pretty detailed conversion table  I noticed something.

    1 cup of all-purpose flower is not the same as 1 cup of brown sugar. They add up to a different amount of grams (according to the conversion table). So my concern is, as I attempt to not destroy the first thing I make using the website, how do I go about getting the exact amount of what I need? Do I look up per item how much it is or is there a standard measurement for cup/gram ratio that I can use and should use.

    I don't know whether the person who wrote out the recipe meant specifics and it would make  things a whole lot more complicated if I would be forced to contact each and everyone that ever posted a recipe to find out how they meant for it to be converted. Plus there's also the part where they wouldn't always respond nor want to be bothered by such questions.

    Thanks for reading! I hope it makes any sense and that someone can help me out!

    - Ross
  2. abefroman


    Likes Received:
    I Just Like Food
    Well cup is more a volume measurement where as gram is weight measurement.

    I believe 1 cup is the same all over the world.

    The differences would be like converting Ounces to Grams or Pounds to Kilos

    Basically 1 oz is about 28.25 grams

    and 1 kilo is about 2.2 pounds

    (and there are 16 oz to a pound)
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
  3. kyheirloomer


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    Food Writer
    Welcome to Cheftalk, RMB.

    There are quite a few conversion sites on the web. If you do a google search you'll find one that you'll be happy with.

    There is, unfortunately, no rule of thumb for converting volume to weight, because product densities vary. The simplest example: 1 cup is said to equal 8 ounces. But that presumes liquid measurement. That is, 1 cup=8 ounces of water. But 1 cup of flour, for instance, is only 4.5 ounces. And 1 cup of granulated sugar is 7.45 ounces. Etc.

    The best thing to do, I think, is establish benchmarks of your own. That way you don't have to keep checking with the conversion site.

    First make up a chart of the most common conversions you need. Ounce:grams, for instance; pounds:kilos; quarts:liters. Then, as you use each ingredient do a double conversion:

    1 cup flour=4.5 ounces=126 grams

    1 tbls sugar=0.6 ounce=16 grams

    Why double? Because if you pick up recipes from sites like this, or from American cookbooks, they will almost always use volume measurements.

    Eventually you will have a customized chart that's specifically meaningful to what you cook.
  4. siduri


    Likes Received:
    At home cook
    Welcome roswell. 

    I'm a home cook and also love cakes and pastry baking, and I've had the problem that most of my friends love my cakes and want the recipe, but i have had to convert them into grams. 

    Now, one thing you MIGHT be able to do is find an american measuring cup somewhere.  That makes it all easy. 

    The second thing you can do is measure something easy and constant by weight knowing the cup equivalent, and then mark a measuring cup yourself with cup marks. 

    You probably can find those measuring cups they sell in europe that have grams for flour, sugar, water, oil, etc, all marked off in different scales.  You could add your own scratching into it or writing the marks on a cardboard strip that you attach each time to the cup.

    Or you can use these equivalences that I use (below).  Keep in mind that while sugar is pretty constant, flour is not.  Whatever anyone tells you, flour measuring is not going to EVER be perfect, because flour is a biological product, made from grain, which varies depending on the weather, the climate, the growing conditions, from place to place and from year to year.  Some flour will absorb more and some less.  But for home cooking, these small variations are not so relevant.  I don;t know about the flour in Holland, but in Italy, the flour is 0 or 00.  The 00 is finer, and is ok when the recipe calls for "cake flour" but is definitely too "weak" if used where the recipe calls for "flour" or All Purpose (or AP) flour.  In that case, you will need to add a significant amount more of this 00 flour.  Roughly I find about two tablespoons per cup.  I also reduce the butter a little.  Otherwise cookies, piecrusts and even cakes will be greasy and flat.  Giving a perfect equivalence with flour is also difficult because if you pour it into the cup and let it settle a little it might be more packed and if you sift it into the cup it will be less packed, and if you scoop it int the cup it will probably be even more packed than pouring.  Again, I bake all the time and my stuff comes out ok, and i am not all that precise.

    The 0 flour is more similar, but still made of softer wheat than american flour is (Americans do a lot of bread baking and so all purpose flour is "stronger",  that is, produces more gluten.)

    This is the chart I use.  I can bake with these equivalences, and the stuff comes out good.  Keep in mind, though, that i haven't factored in the difference in flour type,.so if dutch flour is like italian (and I believe, french) you will need to use more.

    sugar and butter have the same mass so the grams are the same per cup - sticks refers to the form american butter comes in, and some recipes use sticks as a measure.


    1/4 cup = 4 tbsp = 1/2 stick = 50 gm

    1/3 cup = 5 1/3 tbsp =            60 gm

                   6 tbsp =                 75 gm

    1/2 cup = 8 tbsp = 1 stick  =  100 gm

    2/3 cup = 10 2/3 tbsp         =  135 gm

    1 cup    = 16 tbsp  = 2 sticks = 200 gm


    1 cup     = 140 gm

    1/2 cup  = 70 gm

    1/4 cup  = 35 gm

    1/3 cup  = 47 gm

    3/4 cup = 105 gm

    And if you cam't find unsweetened chocolate in Holland, you can use cocoa and butter to substitute in this proportion. (Keep in mind that what europeans consider bitter chocolate is sweetened.  Unsweetened chocolate is really inedible on its own.  So if you can eat it it's probably not american baking chocolate).  Chocolate in recipes is usually measured in "squares" (ounces, i believe)

    for each square of bitter chocolate use 3 tbsp cocoa plus one additional tbsp butter added with the butter. 

    Hope this helps. 
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hello again and thank you all for the thoughtful and thorough replies. I will definitley use what you've said, if all goes well i'll be presenting to you my first desert either tonight or tommorow.

    Once again, can't thank you all enough!
  6. seaside


    Likes Received:
    At home cook
    Sometimes I use cups, all depends on what I am cooking but most of the time use my battery powered scales which measure in either grams or pounds and ounces at the flick of a switch.

  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

  8. leeniek


    Likes Received:
    Professional Chef
    Very nice dessert Roswell!  I use cups and metric interchangably and as it was suggested here if you could get your hands on an American measuring cup that has metric on one side and cups on the other you would be all set! 
  9. siduri


    Likes Received:
    At home cook
    what cake did you do?
  10. fr33_mason


    Likes Received:
    Cook At Home
    What you will want is to convert ounces (oz) to milliliters (ml)

     1 oz (U.S.) = 29.57 ml (= 1.04 oz (U.K.))

     Now that you have the coefficient, the math should be easy.
  11. french fries

    french fries

    Likes Received:
    At home cook
    I usually use google itself for my conversions: just type in whatever you want, for example, google "3.5 ounces in grams" and google will give you the answer.