Sometimes when working with recipes the ingredients are not always provided in the measure with which we are most familiar. So, here is a quick reference for converting dry oatmeal to an equivalent measure which you use regularly.
If you have a recipe for a round cake and want to bake it in a square tin, use a square tin which is 2.5 cm (1 in) smaller than the round tin size.
For example, the recipe for a 23 cm (9 in) round cake could also be used to make a 20 cm (8 in) square cake. Halving the quantities given for the 23 cm (9 in) round recipe will make a 12.5 cm (5 in) square cake or doubling the quantities will be sufficient for a 28 cm (11 in) square cake
Recently while translating an old handwritten recipe, I ran across one of those recipes where the ingredient is simply listed as a green pepper. However, not all green or bell peppers are the same size so having some explanation of an equivalent may be useful. Additionally, if you ever need to make a substitution with another kind of pepper or you’d like your recipes to be a little more consistent having a measured equivalent is also useful. So to make things easier, here is a quick list of bell pepper equivalents based on size, which I hope you find helpful.
Bell Pepper Equivalents
1 small bell pepper = 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1 medium bell pepper = 3/4 cup diced bell pepper
1 large bell pepper = 1 cup diced bell pepper
1 pound (3 large, 4 medium, or 6 small) = 3 cups diced bell pepper
3 tablespoons diced fresh bell pepper = 1 tablespoon dried bell pepper flakes
1 large bell pepper = 1/2 cup dried bell pepper flakes
10-ounce package bell peppers = 2 1/4 cups diced bell pepper
Natural vanilla bean gives yourrecipe a richer and more unique flavor, especially if it is the primary flavoring additive. However, they are costly as their production is labor intensive. There are several equivalents you may use if you do not want to use the vanilla beans, the vanilla extract or the vanilla beans paste.
Vanilla sugar resembles the ordinary sugar just that it is flavored with vanilla. It is easier common to notice fine vanilla beans particles in the sugar. When preparing desserts, you can add 1-2 teaspoon of vanilla sugar to give you the same flavor as a vanilla bean.
Honey serves as an excellent substitute for vanilla extract in your recipe. You should, however, be very careful to minimize the amount of sugar so as not to over sweeten it. Too much sugar added to the honey may also make your dessert stickier and hence unpleasant.
Bourbon is more common in baking as it enhances the texture and moisture content of the recipe. It is matured in oak giving it a vanilla-like flavor which is suitable for boosting the flavor when baking.
Almond extract has an aromatic flavor similar to that present in vanilla beans making it a suitable. It makes more economic sense as it has the same results, but it’s affordable.
Spices are great alternatives as they are cheaper and more durable as compared to vanilla extract. The most common spices that can serve as a replacement for vanilla include cloves and cinnamon.
Maple syrup serves as an excellent alternative for vanilla extract as they have an almost similar taste.The fantastic thing about it is it can be used for a variety of foods including cakes, preparing French toasts and also waffles to enhance their flavors.
Culinary skills are improved by adding a little creativity. Your recipe does not have to be dull as a result of lacking vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. The above alternatives you will do just fine, if not better!
Depending on the age, origin, and type of oven you are working with the oven temperatures contained in a recipe may need to be interpreted. So, here is a quick reference table to help crosswalk your recipe oven temperatures depending upon whether you are working with Fahrenheit, Celsius, a gas oven, or just a descriptive word.
We can all recall that one time, maybe two times, that we came across a recipe that is carefully and lovingly prepared and yet, it fails. In fact, this could be because the ingredients weren’t properly measured. There is no doubt that measuring ingredients the right way can make or break a recipe; too much flour to a cake batter can result in a dry cake, while on the flip side too much flour and you may end up with a badly structured cake that can collapse in the oven. Some might argue that properly measuring ingredients only applies to baking–since it is indeed a science. However, properly measuring ingredients can also apply to cooking, if you don’t have the right amount of ingredients, your entire recipe can end up with subpar results or a total disaster. Incorrect measurements can:
Cause you to waste ingredients which in turn wastes money
Cause an immense amount of frustration when the recipe does not come out right
Cause you to sometimes lose faith in your cooking abilities
In this article, you will learn how to properly measure ingredients so that you can produce phenomenal results and also cook like the pro that you are.
Weighing ingredients as opposed to measuring ingredients is the most accurate way to have consistent cooking results. While it may take a little getting used to and you may have to consult some conversion tables to convert some older recipes it is worth it in the end. Also, when recipe say things like one large potato, etc., after you’ve measured a few times repairing your recipes you’ll reach an average which can be used as a consistent unit in your recipes.
How To Measure Wet Ingredients Properly
In Cooking, wet ingredients and dry recipe ingredients need to be treated differently and measured in different measuring cups. Let’s take grains for example, by not adding enough or too many grains to water ratio your desired outcome won’t be possible. Here are some things to consider when measuring wet ingredients:
When measuring fluids such as water, oil or milk use a cup that is meant for liquids- a glass or plastic cup. The container needs to placed on a flat surface and viewed from eye level (not overhead or on the table). Pour the liquid in until it is just under the line. You should squat or bend down so that your eye is precisely level with the liquid.
You might notice that the surface of the liquid is not completely flat but instead somewhat climbs up the walls of the measuring cup. This top surface is called a meniscus. For accuracy, ensure that the bottom of the meniscus is at the desired measurement line.
Measuring spoons also work well with measuring liquids but in smaller amounts; be sure to keep the spoon level to ensure accuracy.
For smaller volumes, fill tablespoons or teaspoons to the brim. You can measure over the sink so that there won’t be too much mess.
When measuring dense, sticky and viscous wet ingredients such as honey, a pro tip is to spray the measuring utensil with cooking oil before so that it does not stick and comes out smoothly.
How To Measure Dry Ingredients Properly
When it comes to measuring dry ingredients like flour and sugar it is important that they are measured in dry measuring cups- typically those that are flat rimmed. There are several methods for filling dry measuring cups such as sifting, spooning or scooping. The truth is, the method that you use to fill a dry measuring cup affects the mass of the ingredient you are measuring. Here are some things to consider when measuring dry ingredients:
Always use a knife or straight edged tool to level off or sweep off the excess with ingredients such as baking soda, flour, and baking powder.
Refrain from packing the ingredients – especially flour -unless the recipe specifically calls for it. In most cases, brown sugar is typically required to be packed and should be done with the back of a spoon.
A flat cup measurer and a level spoon is a must for measuring. Ensure that the spoon is straight with no bends or kinks.
As mentioned before, there are several methods for filling dry cups, sifting being one of them. It is important to never sift flour directly into the measuring cup as pockets of air might form which can off put the final results of your product. Instead, sift the flour onto a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil, measure the amount you desire and spoon it into the measuring cup.
Additional Tips For Measuring When Cooking Or Baking
Tableware and cutlery are not for measuring. Measuring spoons and cups are relatively inexpensive and can be found everywhere; even at the dollar store.
A coffee cup, teacup or mug is not equivalent to a measuring cup.
Do not measure any flavorings (extracts) directly over the bowl as spillage can occur.
Butter/ Lard or Shortening can be measured with a butter ruler which can be found in many specialty kitchen stores.
Another effective way to measure liquid ingredients is by using a scale. In fact, some recipes call for the use of a scale, especially in baking, because it is more:
Accurate– There isn’t any compressibility when you measure by weight. Three ounces of flour will always be three ounces of flour regardless of the vessel used. With that being said, each recipe will guarantee the same results every time you make it.
Less messy– So instead of using different measuring utensils that are required to be washed after you’re done with your recipe, all you need when using a scale is one bowl.
When using a measuring scale, you are considered to be measuring using volume- the amount of space something takes up. One should note that recipes written in ounces are not the same as those written in fluid ounces.
Everyday Cooking Measurements To Memorize
Here are some simple recipe measurements that you can memorize for quick everyday cooking. It’s a great idea to have a couple of measurements stored in your memory as this can cut back on measuring time which in turn cuts back on cooking time so eating time is closer than you think.
Recently, I was experimenting with an old recipe and the only gains it gave for the amount of potatoes to use was one large potato. This got me to thinking, what constitutes a large potato or medium potato for that matter. Potatoes are variable in size and when you add to that the fact that everyone may peel a potato a little differently he gets a little difficult to know exactly how much usable food potato will be remaining once you peeled. So, please keep in mind there will always be some variability in that the guidelines provided in this post are essentially averages for the most common outcome.
Table Potato sizes
Even amongst the general weight category, potato will vary in weight, length, girth and general shape. That said, however, here is a helpful guide to provide reasonable consistency when purchasing potatoes and using potatoes for cooking.
1.75” to 2″ in diameter
2 to 3″ in diameter
3 to 4.25″ in diameter
3 – 4 Medium Potatoes
Table of Potato Preparation Equivalents
Some recipes don’t call for just a larger, medium or small potato; sometimes, recipe will call for it in measures of diced, mashed, peeled or even instant potato flakes, which you may be wanting to replace with fresh potatoes from your vegetable garden or local grocer.