Friday, September 6, 2019

Ratios in Cooking

Woman, Kitchen, Man, Everyday LifeIt seems as if most recipes have measurements in fractions such as 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup or 1 1/2 cups but not always.  It is said one way for people to become a great cook is to use ratios rather than standard recipes.

Many types of food are set up so that only the main ingredients are counted in the ratio set up.  Smaller things like salt, pepper, etc are not counted.  For cooking the ratios are preset proportions of ingredients so the results are always consistent.

Furthermore, since the basic ratios make up the recipe it is still possible to adjust them to individualize them by adding a bit of spice, flavoring, etc.  There is even a cookbook dedicated to teaching people about every major ratio used in cooking.

Some of the standard ratios used cover everything from bread, to vinaigrette, to crepes, to cookies. The ratios are general but they hold consistent as long as the units are the same.  If you have a 3 to 1 ratio, it will be the same using cups - 3 cups to 1 cup, or 3 cans to 1 can, or 3 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon.  It all depends on how much you want to make.

 1. Vinaigrette or salad dressing uses a ratio of 3:1 or three parts oil to one part water.  Then you add any flavorings you want such as herbs, mustard, or even spices to individualize it.

2. Brines are 20:1 or 20 parts water to one part salt.  This brine can be used for meat, poultry, or pork.  It's when they add herbs, etc that it makes it more personalized.

3. Basic soup stock is 3:1 or 3 parts water to one part bone.  Throw the bone in the water, add your onion, carrots, etc and cook.  One word of advice, weigh the bone so you can get the correct amount of water.  3 ounces of water to one ounce of bone.

4. Pie Crust is a 3:2:1 or three parts flour to two parts fat to one part water to make the perfect pie crust.  Always make sure the fat is super cold so it blends properly with the flour.

5. Bread is 5:3 or five parts flour to three parts liquid with a bit of yeast or baking powder to make it rise.  They don't count the salt used for flavoring or the bit of sugar to feed the yeast.  It also doesn't count the herbs, spices, raisins, or nuts used to add character to the recipe.

6. Pasta uses a 3:2 ratio or three parts flour to two parts eggs so this ratio requires both the flour and eggs be weighed to get the proper ratio.

7. Crepes require a 1:1:0.5 ratio or one part egg, one part liquid and half a part of flour.  The type of flour can change but the ratios remain the same.

8 Pancakes use a 2:2:1:0.5 ratio or two parts flour, two parts liquid, one part egg and half a part fat.  So the ratio are a bit different than the one used in crepes.

9. Biscuits are a 3:1:2 ratio or three parts flour, one part fat, and two parts liquid. This will give you those wonderful flakey biscuits. Again, they do not count the salt or flavorings to personalize these.

These are just a few basic ratios for making everyday things.  A quick search of the internet will pull up additional ratios used for cooking.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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