First, Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all thrive in the coming months (without recourse to commercial yeast).
You know me: tend to go my own way and ignore advice to spray ovens, use a baking stone, bake in pots, do the window pane test, etc., etc. Never worried too much about recipe conversion or whether hydration is a couple of grams high or low (according to the book) – it’s all in the feel, init?
For reasons I’m not yet ready to go into, I’m currently doing some work on pizzas – I’ve actually gone as far as to buy Peter Reinhart on the subject (I thought that would shock you). Furthermore, I’m attempting to accurately transpose some of his formulas from US to metric. Previously I’ve been really sloppy about this sort of thing – weigh a cup of flour, weigh a cup of water and take it from there – always seem to have got away with it.
How do Americans manage to cook anything anyway? “Take three and two third cups minus two tablespoons …”
Anyway, this time I’m going to be scientifically accurate. He starts off “Take 5 cups (22½ ounces) of unbleached, all-purpose flour”. So, using the dip-and-sweep method (see, I do know somethings) I measure out 5 cups. It comes to way over 22½ ounces (and this is before we even consider grams). Do it again in case I put in an extra cup. No difference. Start to wonder if US ounces are the same as UK ounces. Start to Google.
Can’t find anything to indicate more than one ounce weight. So cups then? I did know that cup sizes varied but not just how complicated it got. I assume my cups, which I bought in the UK years ago, must be UK (Imperial) cups. But no – several websites later I establish they are metric cups. So all I have to work out is the proportion of metric cups to US cups (I think we can safely leave Japanese cups out of the equation). It is then that I discover there are two types of American cups, the Legal Cup and the Customary Cup. Make myself a large Hot Whiskey and give up for the day.
I wonder if measuring spoons vary? That just leaves flour equivalents and temperature doesn’t it? Although what exactly does he mean by a grill? what’s a cheese steak, a hoagy …