Conversions

I never much thought about different ways of measuring things or different names for the same ingredient until we moved to Ireland. Although we all speak English, we certainly don’t always use the same words to mean the same thing. It took me several months and many questions to figure out equivalent ingredients. At first I had to figure these out to be able to cook for ourselves, then more questions came as I started sharing my American recipes with our Irish friends. The things I have learned are documented here so that hopefully others will have an easier time of it. 

While I have attempted to accurately convert my recipes into gram equivalents, not all are done (and I’ve found some mistakes :-)). For the often used ingredients there is a table of Food weights per cup for easier conversions. I’ve also added a table of ingredient substitutions for those occasions when you realize you don’t have the exact ingredient you need.

I’ve included a table for oven temperature conversion as well as pan sizes. I have tried to specify in each of my recipes both Fahrenheit and Celsius temperatures, as well as inches and centimeters for pan sizes, but in case I’ve missed a few, you can convert them here.

Ingredients:

American:
European equivalent:

flour or all-purpose flour

plain flour or cream flour

bread flour

strong white flour

whole wheat flour

whole meal flour

pastry or cake flour

cream flour

self-raising flour

If you so not have self raising flour, for each cup of regular flour, add 1 tsp baking powder and tsp salt.

sugar or granulated sugar

caster sugar in Ireland. In Germany, use “Feinster” sugar, not the coarser Raffinade.

brown sugar
(available in England)

demerara or raw sugar (though the flavor is milder - add molasses if available [see Substitutions, below])

corn syrup
(see Corn Syrup below to make your own)

golden syrup (for small quantities up to cup, you can use as is;
 for larger quantities such as a full cup, add 1 Tbs powdered glucose)
In Spain, I found Liquid Caramel which works, though not quite as well. In Germany, there’s a product called Karamell (made by Grafschafter) and it works very well.

molasses

treacle

raisins

sultanas

extract (e.g., vanilla)

essence

sour cream

creme fraiche (sour cream is available but is usually quite watery)

half & half

light cream

graham cracker crumbs

digestive biscuits, crushed

ground round

rib mince

ground sirloin

round mince

Ingredient Substitutions:

If you need:
For this amount:
You can use instead:

Baking Mix

2 cups

2 cups flour, 1 Tbs baking powder, 1 Tbs sugar, 1 tsp salt, cup vegetable shortening, well blended. Stores without refrigeration.

Baking Powder

1 Tbs

1 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp cream of tartar

Bread Crumbs

1 cup

cup cracker or cereal crumbs

Buttermilk

1 cup

2 Tbs vinegar or lemon juice, add milk to 1 cup. Let set for 5 min. OR 1 cup plain yogurt.

Cake flour

1 cup

cup all purpose flour

Cayenne

tsp

4 drops hot pepper sauce (e.g., Tobasco)

Chocolate (unsweetened)

1 ounce

cup cocoa + 2 tsp butter

Cocoa,
Non-alkalized 
(e.g., Hershey’s)

3 Tbs

3 Tbs Dutch-processed cocoa (e.g., Droste or other European   
     brand) 
PLUS ⅛ tsp cream of tartar OR lemon juice OR vinegar

Cocoa,
Dutch-processed
(e.g., Droste)

3 Tbs

3 Tbs Non-Alkanized cocoa (e.g., Hershey’s or other American
    brand)
PLUS ⅛ tsp baking soda

Cream cheese

1 cup

1 cup cottage cheese + cup butter, blended

Eggs

1 yolk

2 whites + 1-3 tsp oil

Fresh herbs

1 Tbs

1 tsp dried

Lemon juice

1 tsp

tsp vinegar (works for replacing the acid only, not the flavor)

Milk (whole)

1 cup

1 cup skim milk + 2 Tbs melted butter
OR cup evaporated milk with cup water

Mustard powder

1 tsp

2 tsp prepared mustard

Self-rising flour

1 cup

1 cup all purpose flour + 1 to 1 tsp baking powder + to tsp salt

Shortening

1 Tbs

2 tsp vegetable oil

Sour cream

1 cup

1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta with yogurt or buttermilk for desired consistency.
OR 1 cup cottage cheese + 2 Tbs milk + 1 Tbs lemon juice.

Sugar

1 cup

cup honey and reduce the other liquids by cup

Sugar (brown)

1 cup

1 cup granulated sugar + cup light molasses

Thickeners

 

2 Tbs flour = 1 Tbs cornstarch OR arrowroot OR potato starch

Yeast

 

10 grams dried = 25 grams fresh (cake) yeast
1 pkg dry = 7 grams or ounce [use for 4 cups or 500 g flour]
1 pkg dry = 1 scant Tablespoon
1 pkg fresh = .06 oz compressed (US) [use for 4 cups or 500 g flour]
1 pkg fresh = 42 grams (Germany) [use for 1 kilo flour]

Measurements:

 

American Measure
Also equals
Metric Measure
Volume:

 

 

 

cup

8 fluid ounces 

 

about 250 ml

tsp

teaspoon

 

5 ml

Tbs 

tablespoon

3 teaspoons

15 ml

ounce

2 tablespoons

cup

30 ml

cube (butter)

4 ounces

pound

115 grams

 

 

 

 

Weight:

 

 

 

oz 

ounce

 

28.35 grams

lb

pound

16 ounces

455  grams

Food weight per cup:

Food:
1 cup equals (in ounces):
1 cup equals (in grams):

flour or all- purpose flour

4 ounces (sifted before measuring)
5 ounces (not sifted)

125 grams (sifted before measuring)
140 grams (not sifted)

sugar (granulated)

7 ounces

200 grams

brown sugar

8 ounces

220 grams

cocoa
 Non-alkalized
 Dutch processed

3 ounces
3.25 ounces

82 grams
92 grams

butter

8 ounces

230 grams

Temperatures:

Fahrenheit
Celsius/Centigrade
Description

0

-17

Freezer temperature

32

0

Water freezes

115

46

Water simmers

130

54

Water scalds

212

100

Water boils (at sea level)

234

112

Soft ball

244

117

Firm ball

250

121

Hard ball

250-275

121-133

Very low oven

300-325

149-163

Low oven

350-375

177-190

Moderate oven

400-425

204-218

Hot oven

450-475

232-246

Very hot oven

500-525

260-274

Extremely hot oven

To convert Fahrenheit to Centigrade, subtract 32, multiply by 5, then divide by 9.
To convert Centigrade to Fahrenheit, multiply by 9, divide by 5 then add 32.

If you are using an oven with a fan, lower the temperature of the oven by 25 degrees.

For pan sizes, see below:

Shape:
American Measurement
Metric Equivalent

Rectangle

7” x 11”

18 cm x 28 cm

 

8” x 11”

20 cm x 28 cm

 

9” x 13”

23 cm x 33 cm

 

10” x 15”

25 cm x 38 cm

 

10.5” x 15.5”

27 cm x 39 cm

Square or round

8”

20 cm

 

9”

23 cm

 

10”

25.5 cm

 

12”

30.5 cm

Corn Syrup: In Europe I often find it difficult to find corn syrup, although it is necessary in many of my recipes. I have found that you can make your own quite easily and it seems to do the trick nicely.  To make 1 cup [250 ml] of corn syrup, by boiling together 1 cups [265 grams] sugar and cup water [85 ml] until all the sugar is dissolved. This is most easily achieved by measuring the water in a glass measuring cup (500 ml) then heating it in the microwave until boiling. Add the sugar and stir well . Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 2 minutes on high power. Stir well with a wooden spoon then cover and heat again for another 2 minutes.  If not all the sugar is dissolved, repeat.

Ingredients:

As I learn specific information about special ingredients or general use of ingredients, I like to capture that information so that I have it handy when I need it. The following is my start and I expect it to grow over time.

Balsamic Vinegar: To get a real balsamic vinegar, find one that was bottled in Italy. They will be marked (usually on the cap seal) with API MO if it is from Modena, and API RE if from the Reggio area. If they do not have this mark, it may well be an imitation or bulk vinegar bottled in the US. 

The very best balsamic is made by an artisans consortium from Modena or Reggio. These undergo strict evaluation and control to ensure quality. The seal from Modena will say Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena. It will have been aged for a minimum of 12 years and cannot contain any caramel or wine vinegar. Reggio’s balsamic has a seal stating Consortium of Producers of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale de Reggio Emilia. There are 3 different levels of quality indicated by the color of the label: Gold is best, silver next, then red. Expect to pay from $40 to over $100 a bottle for these. Use them to drizzle over finished dishes, do not use for cooking as the heat would diminish the unique quality of these vinegars.

Corn Starch: Use varying proportions of cornstarch to liquid for sauces.
Fruit Syrup: 2 tsp cornstarch to 1 cup juice
Sauce for stir fry: 2 tsp cornstarch to 1/2 cup stock.
Fruit pies: 1 Tbs cornstarch for every 1 cup fruit

Honey: If your honey has crystalized (as it will do over time), heat it gently to 130F [55C]. You can do this in the microwave if you use very low power, or better yet, place the honey (in it’s own container) in a pan of barely simmering water until the honey reaches 130F [55C], If at all possible, avoid allowing the honey to boil.

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