How to convert dry ounces to cup measurements?

caflowerluverNovember 23, 2011

I found this recipe but it lists dry ingredients in ounces (British) instead of cup measurement. Does any one know how to convert dry weight ounces into cups? I did a search online but haven't found the answer. I don't have a good scale, maybe Christmas present, so can't make recipes that have things listed in ounces. I have listed the recipe below. Looks like a good Sunday morning breakfast cake.


Here is a link that might be useful: Dutch Apple Cake

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Of course right after I posted this I found it on a new search, but it still doesn't seem right. Cups are a measurement of volume and ounces are a measurement of weight. What do you bakers think?


Here is a link that might be useful: How to Convert Dry Measurements for Cooking Ounces Into Cups

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 1:12PM
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For example, if the recipe specifies 2 cups of flour and you want to measure in ounces, multiply two by eight to get 16 ounces of flour.

That's poorly written at best, flat out wrong at worst. For the 4.5 oz in the recipe you linked, I'd use a cup.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 1:37PM
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foodonastump - It did seem a bit off. I did the math and it came out to be 1/2 cup, which doesn't seem like enough. But it wasn't as bad as one of those conversion calculator sites. I choose dry weight ounces and it converted it to 1 1/4 cups. Confusing!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 2:18PM
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Just realized you need help with the caster sugar, too. 6 oz of regular sugar would be about 7/8 of a cup, so I'd take that and process it into superfine sugar.

p.s. Weren't you the one looking for Santa sugggestions? I love having a scale!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 2:23PM
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You really can't do it with accuracy. Cups measure volume, ounces and pounds and grams measure weight.

That eHow article mentions flour only in the instructions; from the intro you might think she means you can use her formula for all dry ingredients!

Flour is the biggest problem. Depending mostly on how it's measured and packed, but also on moisture content and the type of flour, you can be way off with hard-and-fast rule about ounces per cup. Four could be too many or too few.
Here's a post from a Cook's Illustrated discussion group:
Bittman: How to cook everything. 3ý cups per pound
Joy of Cooking [1975]: 4 cups per pound.
Fine Cooking: 4ý ounces per cup
James Beard: âÂÂPractice and Theoryâ¦â 3þ cups per pound.
Beth Hensperger: âÂÂThe Bread Bibleâ 4ý ounces per cup
Rose Levy Beranbaum: âÂÂThe Bread Bibleâ 5 ounce per cup
Shirley Corriher: CookWise. 5 ounces per cup
CookâÂÂs Illustrated: 5 ounce per cup.
Gourmet Cook Book: Gently spoon and sweep.

If you are making a yeast bread, it doesn't matter because the flour amount is always flexible. Unless you are using a bread machine, which needs more exact measurements.

I highly recommend putting a scale on you Christmas list. It makes everything so much easier.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 2:28PM
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Fluid ounces are a measure of volume; a cup is eight fluid ounces. That conversion formula ONLY works if the substance involved has a weight in ounces avoirdupois which is the same number as its volume in fluid ounces. Some substances do: water, for instance. 'A pint's a pound the world around'--a pint of water (16 fluid ounces) weighs about 16 ounces avoirdupois, or one pound. Even though the term 'ounce' is used for both weight and volume, the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other. It's the imprecision (or possibly laziness) of the English language that brings confusion. In the metric system, volume is in cubic centimeters or liters and weight is in grams. (Yes, I know one cubic centimeter of water weighs one gram, and one liter of water weighs one kilo. My point is that they use different terms for weight and for volume.)

No way you'd use that conversion formula for anything other than water or similar liquids. That flour conversion formula is flat out wrong, as FOAS stated.

But, if you're serious about baking, get a good scale. Obtain recipes using weight of flour rather than volume. You'll be far more accurate in your measurements of flour's weight than measuring flour by volume, and your baking results will be far more consistent. And once you're comfortable using the scale, convert everything to the metric system. Makes the math much easier.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 2:32PM
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I agree, "get a good scale". Heck, get a cheap scale - just get a scale and eliminate the conversion math quiz. You'll soon be sorry you didn't get a scale a long time ago. There are all kinds of things a scale makes easier in the kitchen.

-Divide bread dough into equal amounts so the loaves, rolls, buns, etc. are all the same size and will bake evenly.

-When you make layer cakes you can scale the batter in the pans to equal weights so the layers are the same size.

-It's a lot easier weighing sticky things than scooping them into cups (although you'd have a hard time getting my Wonder Cup from me ;-). already mentioned. If you have 3 people measure 1-cup of flour, they will all be a different weight because of how they fill them. They may be as little as 3.75 oz. to as much as 5 or 6 oz. BTW - There are not any "standards" for how much a cup of flour weighs. Even the "experts" can't decide this one.

-Dry measuring cups and spoons sold in the U.S. are not manufactured to a standardized volume, so each set you have may be slightly different in volume. Measuring cups/spoons in the U.K. and Australia are larger than the ones from the U.S.

About the only reason measuring cups work at all is because most recipes are based on a ration of ingredients. For instance, a plain cake has, by measure, one-third as much fat as sugar; two-thirds as much milk as sugar; and about three times as much flour as liquid. So you can use measuring cups, grandma's coffee or tea cup, canning jars, or buckets for measuring, as long as you maintain the ration of ingredients. The exact measurement isn't as critical as the ratio of one ingredient to another.

-With a scale, when you need 4 oz. of shredded cheese you can weigh it and not try to figure out how many cups that will be, and whether the cup is loose-packed or tightly-packed. It's 4-oz. by weight and you don't have to worry if you've over-stuffed the cup or not put enough in it.

-However, accuracy of measurement goes out the window when it comes to flour for bread making - also already mentioned.... Due to the amount of moisture in flour (more in humid weather and less in the dry winter months), if will alter the weight of the flour. You have to go by the "feel" of the dough rather than an exact measurement. Each bag of flour will also vary in protein/gluten content, as well as moisture. The higher the protein level in the flour, the more hydration it will absorb. Protein content of flour can't be weighed with a scale.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 4:25PM
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I have asked for a scale for a Christmas present (noted in my first post). Hopefully I will get it.

cloudy_christine - Interesting how they are all different. And regarding weight and volume, not the same I know. I often go by feel and look when making bread but can't really do that with a cake. LOL

arley, Grainlady - Thanks for the detailed explanation. I have several measuring cups and for fun once I measured sugar in one than dumped it in the others, none of them were exactly the same. LOL


    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 5:52PM
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For what it's worth, a pint is NOT a pound the world around. An Imperial pint which I grew up using, is 20 fl ounces.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 6:28PM
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The fact that they're not manufactured to a standardized volume doesn't mean that there are no standards, and as such I wouldn't hesitate to return any measuring cups or spoons that were not reasonably accurate. Just like I'd return an inaccurate scale.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 6:39PM
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