Monday, 7 December 2015

Getting to grips with inter-country weights and descriptions...

First of all, congratulations to Kyle Edmund, for winning the Tie Break Tens Title at the Albert Hall. Bet that feels good! Shame a lot of us couldn't get to watch any of it:(

One of the very good things about the internet, is the readily available recipes for us all to try out. I hadn't really paid much attention to inter-country measurements. I have a set of American measuring cups which are in constant use, scales that are Imperial, electronic scales which can be changed into metric.

What I don't seem to have, is patience with all the so called conversions, telling me various weights of individual ingredients, measured in a cup, that I can easily convert to what I need in either Imperial or grams.

Weights - yesterday, I tried and just about failed, to convert the weight of ground almonds in a cup to either Imperial or metric, so I could use them to replace the flour in the recipe! The weight of 1 cup of ground almonds , ranged from = 75g right up to 375g - say what!

In the end, I guessed. The normally thick batter mixture, resembled unwhisked double cream, the resulting cakes (decided not to make a whole cake but individual muffins), rose, then fell, then sunk in the middle. The first twelve tasted fine but you needed a spoon to scrape them from the paper muffin cases as opposed to being able to peel it away.

They were also completely the wrong texture. Enough of the mixture was left to make another 4 so I added a tablespoon of GF flour and a tiny pinch of Xanthum Gum, they rose, stayed put but the texture was different. Still tasted fine. You can see the difference below, the pale ones had the flour and gum added:

I'll tackle the recipe another day!

Descriptions - now there is a can of worms. Quite a few recipes that I am trying for GF bread, are American, and say to use corn flour. Being British and not really thinking about it, I used our Cornflour. As I eventually found out, they are not the same. Our cornflour is what they, for the most part, appear to call corn starch (pure white, silky in appearance and used as a thickener).

Finding out what corn flour was, opened up more investigation as some say it is finely ground maize flour, others say finely ground maize meal, some just say corn flour or something different. Anyhow, eventually I settled on finely ground corn meal:
 Natco Corn Meal Fine 1.5Kg 
White rice flour varies as well. A lot of recipes call for this, but there is also sweet white rice flour, so called because it is ground from the rice that is glutenous rice but actually has no gluten in it, and it isn't sweet. White rice flour, is ground from long grain rice and is not glutenous!  Are you still with me!

Finally, some recipes instruct you to weigh all flours used in GF cooking as substitutes for wheat flour. Turns out they are all different weights. Others just say, scoop up and shake level a cupful of this, or scoop and level with a knife. Yet finding a chart of what substitute flours weigh, there are huge differences between them.

Phew! I'm just tired reading that little lot, let alone tackling it to bake with!


  1. Hi

    Love your blog. How about coconut flour? Just needs more eggs/ fluid in recipes and doesn't make everything taste like coconut. I love everything coconut from flour to sugar to oil and everything in between. Best wishes Wendy

    1. Thank you.
      Haven't got any but might give it a go when I do.

  2. Corn flour is what we call corn starch in the U.S. Corn meal is maize ground to varying degrees of finest and we use it primarily to make yeast-free cornbread with baking powder and baking soda and eggs.
    The price of nuts in the u.s. is sky-high - I certainly would nt use ground almonds as a flour substitute except in ounce increments for something very special but then I dont do GF cooking.

    1. Thanks Lizzie. Nuts are expensive here as well!

  3. It certainly is a tricky subject isn't it! xx

  4. This is pretty late, but only stumbled on your blog today while researching the point system for wartime rationing. The "corn flour" the recipe wants is a bit different from corn meal. Not only a finer grind, but has also been treated with lime. The names we find it under in the USA is normally masa de harina or Maseca (brand name). It is the same flour used for making corn tortilla chips!

    1. Thank you for that. Hope you got the information you wanted regarding points rationing.


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