Friday, August 12, 2016

Taking Bakers Math One Step Further

Something Adam said the other day reminded me of a recipe I read many, many years ago.  It did not list standard measurements.  Instead, it used parts such as  3 parts flour or 2 parts liquid.  This is a different way of looking at the measurements in cooking.

For instance, if you have a recipe for a spice mix calling for 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp nutmeg, and 2 tsp chili powder and you decide you want to create a recipe for a larger amount, you can use the parts method.

First I know there are three teaspoons in each tablespoon, so my basic part is equal to one teaspoon.  So the ratio is 3 parts cinnamon, 3 parts ginger, 3 parts nutmeg and 2 parts chili powder.  This is great because I can then decide that the part is the same as a cup and I can make up a huge amount using the same ratios.

I could also start with a Pie Crust recipe calling for 10 cups flour, 5 1/2 cups of cold butter, 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp of salt.  This type of recipe the base part is equal to 1/2 cup.  I'd ignore the salt because its often just for the taste.  So my flour is 20 parts flour, 11 parts cold butter, and 1 part water.  So if I wanted to make the crust for a very small pie, the part is now equal to a tbsp or 20 tbsp flour, 11 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp water.

This is just a different way of enlarging or reducing recipes but did you realize the same type of idea is used in calculating the oil - gas ratios for 2 stroke engines?  If you refer to a chart, you might see a 32: 1 ratio which means if you are using 32 ounces of gas you need one ounce of oil.  It could also be for every 32 quarts of gas, you need one quart of oil

Something you need to know if you have a snow machine, ATV,  Chain saw, or any other type of machine that is a two stroke.  Some machinery is a 50:1 ratio or 50 ounces of gas mixed with one ounce of oil.  As long as you know what the base unit is, you know how to mix things.

In construction, there is the 1:3 ratio for lime to sand mortar mixture.  You could use 1 bag lime to 3 bags sand of the same weight.  What about concrete which is 1 part water, 2 parts cement, and 3 parts sand so you could do 1 lb water, 2 lbs cement, and 3 lbs sand or it might be 100 lbs water, 200 lbs cement and 300 lbs sand.

It is so cool that ratios are used all over the place from baking to building.  Have fun with this one.

This method keeps the ratios the same without having to mess as often with fractions and it shows