Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How to scale a recipe and how to read a scaled recipe

Scaling is a new technique I've been practicing with molecular gastronomy. It is a more precise way to make a recipe and it makes converting the recipe into different sizes a breeze. The only thing it requires is a kitchen scale.

To scale a recipe, first you need an "index weight." Basically, you keep the weight of an ingredient or the total weight of all the ingredients constant. From there, you "scale" the weights of all your other ingredients by dividing the desired amount of the ingredient in the recipe by the amount you kept constant. Essentially what we're doing is listing the relative ratio of ingredients to some constant determined by you or the recipe. (In theory, you could actually use any arbitrary amount as long as you kept it constant.) Here are the two examples of how scaling works.
Keeping an ingredient weight constant:
Assume we want to make a recipe with 1 pounds of water, 8 ounces of oil and 4 ounces of garlic. We keep the amount of water constant. Here is what the recipe looks like:

Index weight = 1 pound = 100%

Water     100%
Oil          50% (8 ounces is one half of a pound, which is 50% of a pound.)
Garlic      25% (4 ounces is one quarter of a pound, which is 25% of a pound.)


Keeping the total weight constant:
Assume we want to make a recipe with 1 pounds of water, 8 ounces of oil and 4 ounces of garlic. We will keep the total weight of all the ingredients constant here, which is 1 pound and 12 ounces which is 1.75 pounds. Here is what this recipe looks like:

Index weight = 1.75 pounds = 100%

Water     57% (1 pound divided by 1.75 pounds gives us 57%)
Oil          28% (8 ounces is .5 pounds, .5 divided by 1.75 gives us 28%)
Garlic     15% (4 ounces is .25 pounds, .25 divided by 1.75 gives us 15%)

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