Understanding International Difference in Weights, Measurements & Temps + More

Introduction: Understanding International Difference in Weights, Measurements & Temps + More

About: I hand make jewelery using quality Swarovski crystal, semi-precious stone, glass and Silver. reFABulous items made from vintage materials and non-recyclable materials. I am 38, I have Multiple Sclerosis, and I…

In my quest to find new baking recipes, and exploring the world wide web's wondrous supply of international baking recipes, in my excitement  I had purchased a LOVELY set of Kitchen Aid measuring cups and spoons and that the measures on those were COMPLETELY different than all my other measuring cups purchased in Australia.
DING! Light dawns on me, and one thing dawned on me..not all countries are metricated!
So, after much fiddling, and head scratching, I eventually amalgamated a list of conversions of measurements, so that I can 'convert' recipes I find online to measurements that MY measuring tools are capable of.
Soo here is a list of conversions I put together, for measurements, temperatures etc..which makes 'Australianizing' recipes a sinch.
Of course, you can use this list to covert to whatever country of origin you like.
And just for good measure..(pun intended..) I've put a few tips I've compiled on conversion of ingredients which you may find helpful

Step 1: Measurement Equivalents for Cooking

1st step. Get out all your measuring cups and spoons. Check whether they are metric or imperial.

1 cup                            =       16 tablespoons
¾ cup                           =       12 tablespoons
½ cup                           =       8 tablespoons
¼ cup                           =       4 tablespoons
2 thirds cup                 =       10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
3 eighths cup              =       6 tablespoons
1 eighth cup                 =       2 tablespoons
1 sixth cup                    =       2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
1 sixteenth cup            =       1 tablespoon
2 cups                           =       1 pint
2 pints                           =       1 quart
1 quart                          =       4 cups
3 teaspoons                =       1 tablespoon
48 teaspoons               =       1 cup
1 pinch                           =       less than 1 eighth teaspoon
1 dash                            =       3 drops to ½ teaspoons
2 tablespoons               =       1 oz
1 cup (metric)                =       250mls
1 tablespoon (metric)  =       20mls
1 teaspoon (metric)     =       5mls
1 cup (USA)                   =       237mls
1 tablespoon (USA)      =       15mls
½ cup (USA)                   =       118mls
1 teaspoon (USA)         =       5mls
1 pound (USA)               =       454g
16oz                                 =       454 grams
1 kilo                                =       2.2 lbs
1oz                                   =       28.5 grams
3oz                                   =       85 grams
stick of butter                  =       113grams

Now, the biggest tip I can give you, is make sure your measuring method within a recipe is consistent. I was making a silly mistake in the beginning of using my metric Pyrex jug to measure some ingredients, and my Kitchen aid cups and spoons to measure others. This is a silly mistake to make..90% of the time it won't make that much of a difference, but its the 10% of the time that will be an epic fail, cos the measurements were out of whack.
So get yourself a set of metric measuring spoons to go with your Pyrex jug, and when using your Kitchen Aid cups, use the matching spoons, so that ALL your measuring equipment you use on a particular recipe is of the same 'understanding'.
(Yeah, I get that YOUR measuring cups are probably not going to be Kitchen Aid brand..but the theory is sound)

Step 2: Is It Hot Enough??

For the mathematically minded the formula for conversion of ° F to ° C is as follows:

formula  C° = 5/9(F° – 32)

But I don't know about you, but I'm not going to be able to remember that, and do it in my head every time, so I did a chart for that too. Some recipes I have come across have old school 'gas mark' references, or a 'Hot' oven which my Grandmother may have understood what it meant, but I had no clue. But thanks to 'The Margaret Fulton Cookbook', by Margaret Fulton (Australian Iconic chef listed as an Australian Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia) published in 1968, I have deciphered even THAT little conversion gem.

Celsius   Fahrenheit   Description   Gas Mark
110° C      225° F         Very Slow          1/4
125° C      250° F                                    1/2
140° C      275° F          Slow                  1
150° C      300° F                                      2
165° C      325° F          Moderate           3
175° C      350° F                                       4
190° C      375° F          Moderately Hot  5
200° C       400° F                                      6
220° C       425° F          Hot                      7
230° C       450° F                                       8
240° C       475° F           Very hot             9
250° C       480° F

Fan assisted ovens are usually set approximately 25° C (i.e. approximately 50° F) lower than others and cooking time is reduced by 10 minutes for every hour of cooking time. I have learned the hard way that when baking in a 90cm wide fan-forced oven, you should reduce the time by even more..check often!

Step 3: Fake It Til You Make It..or Just Make It

Some tips on making what you have, into what you actually need

How to make self-raising flour from plain

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch to ½ teaspoon salt

100 g flour
3 g baking powder
1 g or less salt

How to make cake flour (000 flour) from plain/all purpose flour

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)
¼ cup cornstarch 

To make two cups of cake flour (000 flour), combine 1 ¾ cups plain flour (all-purpose flour with ¼ cup cornstarch; proceed with your recipe. The easiest way to do this substitution is to put 2 tbsp of cornstarch in the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup, then fill the cup as usual with all-purpose flour and level top. Repeat process to get your two cups. If you only need ½ cup of cake flour, put 1 tbsp cornstarch in bottom of ½ cup measuring cup, then fill and level as above.

How to make buttermilk from Regular Milk

1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)

Pour your white vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Then, add enough milk to bring the mixture exactly up to the one-cup line. Give it a quick stir; then, let this stand for at least five minutes. Tada! Buttermilk

Thanks to http://video.about.com/frugalliving/How-to-Make-Homemade-Buttermilk-Substitute.htm for this tip.
Buttermilk is not readily available in Australia, so making your own is pretty much a required knowledge!

Step 4: Lost in Translation..

Ok, there are some differences country to country as to what ingredients are referred to, and some are just not available..here's a list of what I have compiled so far..feel free to let me know more, as, well, its bloody handy to know!

All-purpose flour AKA as plain flour

Confectioners sugar AKA Icing Sugar. There are two kinds.. Icing Mixture (has a bit of cornflour added to it) and Pure Icing Sugar (which, duh, is pure sugar).

Caster sugar (or Castor Sugar) AKA Superfine white sugar.

Crisco is crystallized cottonseed oil (vegetable shortening), and not widely available in Australia, but can be substituted for Copha, which is a vegetable (coconut) shortening. Which I am TOLD you can get over in the states at Wholefoods if you are lucky.
(Crisco can NOT be substituted for Copha in some recipes, like Australian iconic Chocolate Crackles, as it apparently tastes ridiculously horrible!)
Copha AKA Kremelta. AKA Végétaline AKA Palmin

Candy Melts AKA White Chocolate Melts, but only available in White, white and white!
Almond Bark AKA White Chocolate Melts (I think the differences here come down to what is considered Chocolate according to different country food standards, measured by the proportion of cacao butter. In Australia, if is looks like chocolate, smells like chocolate, and tastes like chocolate, its pretty much labelled chocolate! But Australian chocolate is really chocolate! REALLY!)

Canned Pumpkin AKA go buy one, or cut one out of the backyard veggie patch, cook it, and mash it!. A can of pumpkin as far as I can ascertain is 15oz..and referring to my handy dandy conversion list, is a 420g tin. Converting this, its an about 500g pumpkin, skinned, cooked and pureed.

Graham Crackers AKA Digestive Biscuits or alternatively you can use Milk Arrowroot biscuits

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    In your list you have "3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon". Is this an suppose to be an American tablespoon or a metric tablespoon?

    Australian tablespoons are 20mls which equals 4 teaspoons (5ml). American tablespoons are 15mls which equals 3 teaspoons.