Good morning, everyone! I hope you had a lovely weekend. Were there puddles on the street instead of layers of snow? Some time in the garden, dreaming of spring? Flowers on your table?
We, as always, had flours on our table. Lu and I spent part of Sunday afternoon baking. Soft pretzels, to be specific. I’ve been working on them off and on for weeks, playing with other people’s recipes and figuring out how to make them taste like pretzels do. Today we made a batch so chewy and browned on the outside that I did a little dance. Lu jumped up and down on her chair at the counter, and said, “I dance too, Mama!” The Beatles were playing, the end of Abbey Road (“The love you take is equal to the love you make.”) to be specific. The sun was shining and we even had the windows slid open a touch, to let in the fresh air. I could feel spring tip-toeing toward us.
Just after, as I was taking photographs of the pretzels on our front porch, Lu started babbling happily and pointed toward a cheerful din of familiar voices. Our wonderful neighbors down the street were out on their bikes, pretending as we were that it was warmer outside. Krissy and Lee have four incredible children, all 8 and under. Lu adores them. She ran to the fence and shouted, “Hi! Hi! Hello!” Luckily, it didn’t take much to persuade them to come inside the fence and visit for awhile.
“Hey, I just made a batch of soft pretzels. They’re still warm from the oven. Want some?”
Cold children moved toward the warm pretzels, hands outstretched. I broke them apart and gave some to everyone, kids and adults.
Everyone loved them. Everyone.
We’re close, folks. We’ll be sharing the recipe for this with you soon.
Since I spent the afternoon working on a recipe I am not ready to publish yet, I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t have a recipe today.
Instead, I’d like to answer a question and make some recommendations.
WHY DON’T YOU PUT CUPS IN YOUR RECIPES?
So many of you have written to say how much you have enjoyed making the switch to baking by weight. However, every time I publish a recipe, someone leaves the comment: “Can you estimate how much this would be in cups?
And on Sunday, I received this email:
“Hi, I have loved your website but am going to quit checking it out as I can’t use any of the recipes anymore as I do not bake or cook with ounces. As you have quit using cups and such and gone to weight I am moving on. Too bad. Not sure why you did this I am sure I am not the only one that does not cook that way. So good luck to you but just wanted to say that I am sad you created a blog that is not useful anymore.”
As some of you may know, I’m not able to answer much of the email that comes through this site at the moment. We’re a little overwhelmed with work. I’d rather answer your questions in a public place, where other people with the same question can find the answer. I love talking to you on Twitter, on Facebook, and answering questions in the comment section of this site. But I’ve realized some questions might deserve answers here.
Here is what I wrote back to the woman who wrote that note:
This is, of course, your choice.
However, I will tell you why I have done this:
— I want your baked goods to work. Baking by weight means the measurements will be accurate. Each gluten-free flour has a different weight to the other. If you bake by weight, you can replace the potato starch in the recipe with the accurate amount of tapioca flour if you run out of potato starch. If you did it with cups, your cookies might not bake well.
– Some recipes simply won’t work in cups. For example, the whole-grain muffins calls for 350 grams of the whole-grain flour mix we created in our kitchen. Since I wanted to give every reader as much freedom as possible to play with the flavors and flours they have, that mix calls for 700 grams of any combination of whole-grain flours. A cup of each person’s whole grain mix will have a different weight.
— So many people have other allergies besides gluten. If I use corn flour, but I put it in ounces, someone who can’t eat corn can still make the recipe successfully by replacing it with the same weight of sorghum.
— People outside the US bake by weight. In many places in the world, a cup holds more than a US cup does. I want to make sure that everyone can make these recipes.
— A kitchen scale costs about $30. You would spend that much in flours making recipes that don’t work.
— Measuring flours by weight means fewer dishes.
— Every single person who has made the switch has written to tell me that she is thrilled she did. I have not heard from one person who bought a scale, tried to bake by weight, and then felt that it was worse than measuring by cups.
I know that it is new, but believe me, it is worth the try.
all the best, Shauna
What I also forgot to say is that I have simply stopped using cups. (That photo up there is from a year ago.) So, in order to tell you how many cups each individual flour is, I’d have to go back and measure them. People, we are pretty darned busy around here. I simply don’t have time for that.
If you want to do some rough conversion, here is an online source I feel is pretty reputable.
And, for those of you who would like to try baking by weight, here are some scales we like:
We own this OXO scale and it has survived nearly daily baking. It’s a workhorse and it sells for just shy of $30 in most places.
My friend Irvin has this Salter scale and loves it. (You can see it in action in this brilliant Wordless Recipe for ice cream magic chocolate shell.) It’s a pretty scale. If I didn’t have a toddler helping me to bake, I’d probably own this one. However, I’ll keep the toddler, thanks.
This scale looks pretty sleek. And it costs less than $20.
You can find kitchen scales at any kitchen supply store. Or thrift stores! Check there first. All you need is a scale that measures in ounces and grams and tares (or zeroes) out, so you can measure 100 grams of one flour, zero it out, and measure 1oo grams of the next flour.
And of course, there are wonderful gluten-free blogs out there that do put everything in cups. B, I hope you find the one that works well for you.
Those of you who are interested in making those soft pretzels? Have a kitchen scale by next week!