On The Road to Professional Food Preparation: Weights & Measures

On The Road to Professional Food Preparation: Weights & Measures


The next stop on the road to
professional food preparation: Weights and Measures. USDA recipes list both
weight and volume measures for most ingredients Whenever possible weigh
ingredients because it’s faster easier and more accurate than measuring volume. However liquid and ingredients and amounts less than two ounces are always
measured in volume If scales are not available, be sure to use the correct
methods of measuring ingredients by volume. Volume is the amount of space an
ingredient occupies in a measuring container. Fluid ounce is a volume measure
and ounce is a weight measure To measure liquid and dry ingredients use standard
measuring equipment including measuring spoons, dry measuring containers and
liquid measuring containers. Make measurements level! Use the largest
appropriate measure to save time and reduce error. It’s more accurate and
faster to measure one cup of milk than to measure 16 tablespoons of milk An exception to using the largest measure is when measuring flour. Use no larger
than a 1 quart measure! Spoon the flour lightly into the measure and level off
with a straight-edge spatula. Avoid shaking or tapping the measuring
container or the flour will pack. Of course you’ll weigh flour whenever
possible. Measuring spoons are used to measure
small amounts of ingredients such as seasonings, spices, herbs and flavorings. A set of nested measuring
cups are used to measure small amounts of dry and solid ingredients such as
salt, yeast, brown sugar and solid fat. For brown sugar packed firmly into the
measure, the sugar should take the shape of the container when turned out For our solid fats and peanut butter,
pack the measure firmly and level off with a spatula. Weighing fats is easier than measuring fats! Dry measuring containers
have a straight edge rim for ingredients to be leveled off at the top. Rings on graduated measures indicate 1/4, 1/2
and 3/4 of the total volume of the container and are counted from the bottom to the top of the container. Liquid measuring
containers are usually made of heavyweight aluminum or poly-carbonate
and have a lip for pouring to prevent spills. To measure liquid, place the largest appropriate container on a flat surface Pour the liquid into the container
until it reaches the desired level. Read at eye level when using a
glass or a clear container. If using a graduated metal container,
look inside to make sure the fill is at the desired level. For quick references see charts
such as volume equivalents for liquids, equivalent weights and food weights and approximate equivalents and measures. Now let’s look at measures of weight,
noted in ounces and pounds Weighing is faster, easier and
more accurate than measuring! Two types of scales are used: traditional and electronic. The electronic scale has a digital readout and a tare button, that
allows weighing ingredients without including the weight of the container. Simply place the empty container on the scale, press the tare button and the
readout returns to zero. Additional items can be weighed in the same
container by using the tare button. Balanced and spring scales are types
of traditional scales. Balance scales will be more accurate
than spring scales. The balanced
scale is used in the baking area for weighing ingredients in 1/4 to
1/2 ounce graduations up to 25 or 30 pounds. Portion scales are also spring
type scale. They’re used in cooking areas to weigh individual portions of foods such as cheeses or meats They weigh items 1 to 2 pounds in
1/4 ounce graduations. Traditional scales have dials that are
either fixed oradjustable. If the dial is adjustable, place the container on the platform and turn the pointer to zero. Next add the ingredient until the dial
reflects the required weight. If additional ingredients are needed, they can be
weighed in the same container by adjusting the dial. Just turn the pointer back to zero
before adding the next ingredient. Now we weighed 1 pound of flour and
6 ounces of shortening in the same container. If the dial is fixed, place the empty container on the
platform, record the weight of the container. Next add the ingredient until the total weight equals the required weight plus the weight of the container For example if the weight of the
container is ten and a half ounces and the required weight is one pound, one
pound equals sixteen ounces so add the ingredient until the weight reaches
twenty six and a half ounces. Accuracy is very important when weighing ingredients.
If the pointer moves slightly to either side of the zero once the measuring
container has been removed use the adjustment mechanism to set the pointer
back to zero before using the scale again. Now let’s see just how much time is saved by
weighing ingredients instead of measuring them. on one side of the
screen we’ll measure four cups of flour two and 1/8 cups or two cups plus two
tablespoons of shortening and four fluid ounces of water. On the other side of the
screen we’ll weigh the equivalent of each ingredient, one pound of flour 1/2
pound of shortening and four ounces of water. Measuring time took almost three minutes,
while weighing took about a minute and a half. Remember whether measuring or weighing
always use standardized equipment. Make measurements
level and use the largest appropriate container. And keep in mind that weighing
is more accurate than measuring!

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