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Old 08-16-2013, 10:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Water based liquids (milk, water, etc.) measure 8 fluid ounces and weigh about 8 ounces on a scale. But this is only true for water based liquids.
"A pint's a pound the world around..." But, as you point out, for water and water-based liquid.

A pint of water weighs a pound. A pint of olive oil weighs less.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jennyema View Post
"A pint's a pound the world around..." But, as you point out, for water and water-based liquid.

A pint of water weighs a pound. A pint of olive oil weighs less.
And a pint of feathers even less
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:14 PM   #13
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If we switch to MKS (metric system) we wouldn't even need to discuss this. Well, actually we did switch, science is obviously MKS everywhere, and the entire world except civilian US has gone metric. Sadly US industry still uses a mixture of MKS and ... whatever you call it, the old obsolete (except in US) system.

Sugar is customarily measured by volume. As Bakechef said, professionals measure flour by weight, amateurs often just specify approximate measure. My focaccia recipe says 2 to 2-1/2 cups of bread flour, then describes what the dough feels like when the water/flour ratio is correct.

Fluid ounces is a volumetric measure and can be used to measure anything by volume. Depending on what you're measuring it could weigh almost anything.

Volumetric measures work well for substances that come in only one form, particularly liquids. Volumetric measurements fall apart when you start measuring things like chopped fresh spices. I often specify "packed" measures in this situation, but its still quite vague because you can pack it lightly or heavily and it will be a different amount but the same volume.

So I'm waiting for the US to switch to MKS units, but I'm not holding my breath. It's interesting that most food products sold in US (particularly package products) are marked in both old style units and MKS units. In an odd turn-about, importers face the problem that they often have to add labels to foreign imports that are marked in MKS units. I face this often when buying ingredients for my Thai, Chinese and Japanese cooking. Often nutritional information must be added by an extra label applied by the importer to meet US laws regarding package labeling.

So we should swing a deal. The US should switch to the MKS system and the rest of the world should start adding nutritional information.

Alas, I know I will never live long enough to see this. I predict full compliance might occur about 2060-2100 CE. There's another standard... AD is now CE (current era), and BC (before Christ) is now BCE.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:37 PM   #14
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Switch to metric measurements and you don't have the same confusing wording. But then again, you would have to convert volume and weight measures from the English units to metric units, and that's confusing enough as it is.

There is a reason that engineers, chemists, and scientific types use metric measurements.

Me I still use English volume and weight measurements. it's what I'm used to.

Ounces - a measure of weight where 16 ounces = 1 lb., 2000 lbs. = 1 ton

Fluid ounce - 8 fluid ounces = 1 cup, 16 fluid ounces = 1 pint, 32 fluid ounces = 1 quart, 128 fluid ounces = 1 gallon

Profesional bakers use recipes that measure by weight as there is often considerable variation in the actual amount of matter in a container. For instance, sifted flour contains much more air between particulates, than does flour that's been bounced around in the back of a truck. The jostling causes the flour particles to settle, squeezing out much of the air, and so a cup of that flour weighs more. Teh same is true of all solid material in an enclosed space. Liquids, on the other hand, then to maintain a constant weight per volume due to the nature of the liquids. However, a gallon of milk weighs less than a gallon of water, but more than a gallon of oil. Different liquids have different specific weights.

And as posted above, dry measuring cups are substantially different than are measuring cups designed for fluid measurements.

Hope that helps.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
16 ounces to the pound and 16 ounces to the pint seems eminently sensible to me but in the 1820s some bright spark in Britain decided that a pint should be upgraded to 20 ounces in the British Empire. And don't get me started on metric! I can cope with metric measurements for fabric, etc., for dressmaking but for baking it has me completely foxed.

Your point about sifted and unsifted flour measuring differently in cups reminds me - I always sift flour when I'm baking but watching American cooks on television I've noticed that some sift before measuring and some sift after measuring. Which is correct?
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:59 PM   #15
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Your point about sifted and unsifted flour measuring differently in cups reminds me - I always sift flour when I'm baking but watching American cooks on television I've noticed that some sift before measuring and some sift after measuring. Which is correct?
Neither. Or both. Or either. If you are measuring by weight it doesn't matter. If you are baking bread it doesn't matter. (Anybody who makes bread can tell when the batter has the correct flour:water balance.)

I'm told that when baking a cake everything matters. Better follow your recipe. (I don't bake cakes. I'd rather consume empty calories in liquid form.)

The simple fact is that sifting flour changes its density, so if you weigh a volumetric amount of flour and then sift it you will get a different volume (but the same weight).

I come mainly from the experience of baking bread. I just approximate and then adjust the liquid/flour balance as I work. I'm glad I don't bake cakes because then this might be an issue for me.

I think in most cases flour is best measured by weight if you want an exact amount.
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