Earlier in the week, I tried to bake cookies. I searched for the simplest cookie recipe I could find and stumbled upon Mary Berry’s fork biscuits.
All I needed was;
I didn’t have the essential kit of two baking trays, but I didn't need to make the recommended 16 as I was only making it for myself so decided to half the recipe.
I weighed everything, mixed it all in and put it in the oven. I tasted the batter just before it went in and all was good. In fact, it was delicious. So what happened?
My biscuits merged into one
20 minutes later, I took out the baking tray and was firstly disappointed to find that they had merged together into one.
They smelt good
They smelt good though so while disappointed I was looking forward to eating them.
They tasted awful
The biggest disappointment came when I realised how horrible they tasted, I am not a fussy eater, food is very much sustenance but if even I thought they were bad then they must have been bad. How can one go so wrong with flour, sugar and butter?
I finally accepted cooking wasn't for me
After many years of cooking and trying, I finally accepted that maybe cooking isn’t my thing. Sure I could practice every day and become good one day, but I have no interest in it. It would have been just as easy to go to the supermarket than to combine the ingredients together in an attempt to bake.
I decided to disclose this not only to my instagam friends (because telling people on Instagram is what Instagram is built for), but also on my family WhatsApp group.
Did I measure it right?
My sister who was aware that I had recently moved in asked a very important question, “Do you have a measuring scale?” To which I replied I converted grams to litres and used my measuring blender.
As the story was unfolding, I posted the conversation on Instagram.
The amount of people that contacted me telling me “litres are for liquids and grams are for solids” was unbelievable!
My sister may not have agreed with the approach but did accept that you could convert from grams to litres, she just didn't agree that taking that approach was the best. However, I believe many genuinely believed you can't. So I thought I would write this article to correct some misconceptions.
You can convert grams to litre!
You can covert grams to litres however density is important. There are online calculators which let you pick which ingredient you are converting ie sugar, flour so that you can get the right conversion for litres. I found the calculatorsite.com helpful.
The science behind it all
Mass and Volume are the two key differences between solids and liquids.
Litre is a unit of Volume ie metre cubed
Gram is a unit of mass
What connects the two is density where;
Density = Mass / Volume
It’s intuitive that a cup of feathers will weigh less than a cup of oil so the substance we are using is important. Density can be thought of how compressed a substance is.
Applying maths to my ingredients
I needed to convert grams (mass) to litres (volume), so here goes;
Flour has a density of 529 kilogram per cubic meter
My recipe requires 150g or 0.15kg (I ended up using half but for now we will go with this).
Volume = Mass / Density
Volume = 0.15 / 529 cubic metre = 0.00028 cubic metre
1 cubic metre = 1,000 litres so multiply by 1,000 to get number of litres ie 0.28 litres.
Densities vary by brands, if in doubt use the calculator site.
Use an online calculator
Of course you could look up densities of different substances or just use an online calculator. As I said earlier, I find thecalculatorsite.com very helpful.
Ingredients are all proportional
The other very important thing to remember is that ingredients are relative and proportional. You can scale up or down your recipe so providing you are broadly right it will be ok.
Of course cooking isn't a science experiment, my mother cooks and I have never seen her measure anything. It is a combination of factors, I suspect the factor that let me down was probably cooking time, as they looked slightly burnt when I took them out and not at all like Mary Berry's version. Either that or I did in fact get the density factor wrong. However, for every problem I found a solution, so I believe I should get some brownie points for trying.
Maybe I won't be cooking Mary Berry's fork biscuits again or maybe I will give it one more go, who knows. For now, I am taking a break from baking biscuits.
If you have made cookies recently and would like to share your recipes please post them here and feel free to give it in litres as well as grams. Very happy to use either!