conversions and helpful things

  1. Volume to mass conversions for common ingredients
  2. Bread flour conversion
  3. Gelatin conversions
  4. Internal temperatures for baked goods
  5. Other miscellaneous resources

Volume to mass conversions for common ingredients

Most of what I bake, I do so by weight, apart from small quantities like tsp. These are the most common ones I use so I can convert volume recipes into mass, mostly based on my own measurements. Values somewhat rounded for ease of remembering.

  • 1 cup liquid = 240g
  • 1 cup flour = 125g (this one varies a lot by source, but this is what I usually measure)
  • 1/2 cup oil = 100g
  • 1/2 cup sugar = 100g
  • 1 stick butter = 115g
  • 1 large egg = 50g
  • 1 egg white = 30g
  • 1 egg yolk = 20g
  • 1 cup rolled oats = 100g

Bread flour conversion

As I’d like to avoid buying more types of flour, I tend to use all purpose plus some wheat gluten to substitute for bread flour. When I consulted the internet as to how to convert between a.p. to bread flour, recommendations seemed to vary a lot – and that makes sense as both bread flours and all purpose flours can vary in their protein content so its unlikely that there would be one perfect conversion. I decided to actually calculate an approximate conversion myself…but since flour protein content varies so much as mentioned previously, I figured that I may as well make a formula!

Universal flour conversion formula: x = a(pf – pi)/(pv-pi), where

  • x = amount of wheat gluten
  • pf = final desired protein content of flour (bread flour tends to be between 12-13%)
  • pi = initial protein content of flour (for me, my a.p. flour is 0.1 or 10%)
  • pv = protein content of vital wheat gluten (for me, 0.72 or 72%)
  • a = total amount of flour

For protein content of your flours and wheat gluten, consult the nutritional facts label. If you’d like to check my math, formula is just a rearranged version of the following: a*gf = (a-x)*gi + gv*x.

Once you know your constants, you can simplify the formula. For me, this formula will be x = 1.6a(gf – 0.1) as I know the protein content of my all purpose flour (pi) is 0.1 and vital wheat gluten (pv) is 0.72.

Or, for a quick conversion to 12.5% protein bread flour (based on my flours and wheat gluten), add 4% wheat gluten by weight to all-purpose.

Gelatin conversion

To be honest, gelatin stresses me out. I’ve been using it more often, but is still stresses me out! So I don’t really like messing with different types of gelatin and conversions, but until I move on from powdered gelatin to sheet gelatin, having a conversion at hand is helpful.

This conversion comes from Modernist Cuisine. The idea behind it is that you can quantify the “setting power” (I made that term up by the way) of a form of gelatin by multiplying the amount of gelatin by its strength, known as bloom strength. So if you want an equivalent setting power from a different form of gelatin with a different bloom strength we can rearrange the formula m1*b1 = m2*b2 to get…

Gelatin conversion formula: m2 = (m1*b1)/b2 where

  • m1 = weight of gelatin form 1, the one originally in the recipe
  • b1 = bloom strength of gelatin form 1
  • m2 = weight of gelatin form 2, the one we’re trying to convert to
  • b2 = bloom strength of gelatin form 2

Some helpful bloom strengths include:

  • Knox powdered gelatin = 225 (my brand of choice, or more my brand of necessity as  the only brand carried in my supermarket)
  • Silver leaf sheet gelatin = 160 (which seems to be the most common sheet gelatin used)
  • For other types of sheet gelatin, refer to this article from Stella Culinary

Based on these values, I calculated that a simple conversion ratio from silver leaf to powdered is 0.7 grams of powdered gelatin per gram of silver leaf gelatin, or 1.6 grams of powdered gelatin per sheet of silver leaf gelatin (assuming each sheet is 2.5g).

The whole thing was feeling a bit abstract to me, so I double-checked with another source. In this Fine Cooking article, they suggested that 4 sheets of gelatin = 1 packet of powdered gelatin. Considering that 1 pouch of powdered Knox is 7g, based on the formula, my calculations also told me that 4 sheets of silver leaf = 1 packet…giving me a bit more confidence in the formula!

As a side note, you can also use this to convert between gelatin to other ingredients such as agar-agar or xanthan gum so long as you know the bloom strength. I have not tried this as I am too stressed and not adventurous enough yet!

Conversion to volume measurements for powdered gelatin: While its handier to use g for conversion between types of gelatin, often the weights are so small that they’re hard to accurately measure on a home scale. For that reason, most of my recipes do use a volume measurement for powdered gelatin. The one thing I want to point out is that while Knox powdered gelatin claims each package contains 1 tbsp, the actual volume is much closer to 2 1/2 tsp. Hence, when converting mass to volume, it’s best to use the conversion of 7g = 2 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin (otherwise, you risk using too much gelatin by volume – something I have done before to not very appetizing effect).

Gelatin mass is essentially a concentrated prehydrated block of gelatin made by blooming, melting and allowing your gelatin to resolidify. Its handy for two reasons: 1) gelatin is prebloomed and 2) more accurate weight measurements. Given that small quantities of powdered gelatin that tend to be used and that home scales have limited accuracy, you can more accurately measure gelatin mass by weight. For instance if you use a 1:5 ratio of powdered gelatin to water while making gelatin mass, 1g of powdered gelatin will equal 6g of gelatin mass. This is a handy resource on gelatin mass.

Internal temperatures for baked goods

This is something that I don’t particularly utilize, but I would like to try!

  • lean breads: 190-2101
  • enriched breads: 180-1901
  • quick breads: 200F2
  • cakes: 203-2053 or 205-210F2
  • baked custards: 170-1754
  • quiches: 165-1852

References: 1. Thermoworks; 2. Washington Post; 3.The Nordic Baking Book by Magnus Nilsson; 4. Cook’s Illustrated

Other miscellaneous resources

  • This reference on the right amount of bread dough for a pullman loaf pan seems very handy if you have a lidded loaf pan!