From the blog January 30, 2013 Nathan

How to Scale a Recipe

The Mac and Cheese recipe makes five servings, but you’re throwing a dinner party for nine people. You’re in luck: We’ve made it easy to scale our recipes up to greater yields (or down if you have fewer mouths to feed) by using baker’s percentages. Just follow these simple steps.

 

  1. Look in the scaling column of the recipe, and find the ingredient having a scaling value of 100%. Note the weight given. The 100% ingredient is usually the one that has the biggest effect on the yield of the recipe.
    Example: The 100% ingredient in the Mac and Cheese recipe above is white cheddar cheese.
  2. Calculate the scaling factor by dividing the number of servings (or grams) you want to make by the recipe yield.
    Example: This recipe yields five servings. If you are making nine servings, the scaling factor is 9 ÷ 5 = 1.8. (You can use the weight of the yield rather than the servings to calculate the scaling factor: If you want to make 1,100 grams of mac and cheese from a recipe that yields 800 g as written, the scaling factor is 1,100 ÷ 800 = 1.4.)
  3. Calculate the scaled 100% value for the recipe by multiplying the weight of the 100% ingredient by the scaling factor from step 2.
    Example: This five-serving recipe calls for 285 g of white cheddar, which is the 100% ingredient. To make nine servings, you will thus need 285 g x 1.8 = 513.0 g of white cheddar cheese. The scaled 100% value for this recipe is 513.0.
  4. Calculate the scaled weight for every other ingredient in the recipe by multiplying its scaling percentage by the scaled 100% value from above. You can ignore the weights and volumes given in the recipe—just use the scaling percentages.
    Example: The scaling percentage given for dry macaroni is 84%. Multiplying this by the scaled 100% from step 3, you find that 0.84 x 513.0 = 430.9. Similarly, you need 0.93 x 513.0 = 477.1 g of water or milk and 0.04 x 513.0 = 20.5 g of sodium citrate.

Because volume measurements are often rounded to the nearest spoon or cup, you should not multiply or divide volumes when scaling a recipe up or down. Instead, scale the weights as described above, and then weigh the ingredients on a digital scale.

—Adapted from Modernist Cuisine at Home

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Discussion

  1. Nelson Piffer Jr January 30, 2013 Reply

    And less ( for example 3 persons ) ? Is it possible ?

  2. Richard January 30, 2013 Reply

    same process/ divide 3 by 5 = 0.60
    multiply 0.60 by other ingredients

  3. Nelson Piffer Jr January 30, 2013 Reply

    Richard ; Thank you very much !!! Nelson

  4. Tom January 31, 2013 Reply

    Hi
    Any chance of bringing out an iPhone app that does the scaling. Would be a great help at work …….

    Cheers

    Tom

  5. Hospital Administrator Mandelbrot Seahawk January 31, 2013 Reply

    Why is the percentage step necessary? Can’t one just multiply the grammes by 1.8?

    • Steve Kass October 31, 2013 Reply

      M. Seahawk: You’re right. The percentage step is unnecessary. To make 1.8 times as many servings, just multiply each recipe quantity by 1.8. The recipe’s scaling percentages are pointless, or at least redundant.

      A few other notes:

      If your sodium citrate is the fineness of table salt, 11g is two rounded teaspoonfuls. If you don’t have a gram scale, a measuring spoon will do fine.

      Four cups of grated cheese is probably more than 285g. Use 10 ounces (by weight) and don’t worry about how many cups it is. If you’ve only got a half-pound bag or brick, that should be enough.

      The cheese doesn’t have to be finely grated. Use the coarse side of a box grater, or use bagged grated cheese from the supermarket. Dump it into the liquid all at once if you want, even. I do, and it still blends up beautifully.

      This is a great recipe, and it’s even easier to whip up a batch of it than it is to prepare boxed mac ‘n’ cheese. The only down side is that cleanup is no fun. As soon as the sauce cools, it sticks, and it’s weirdly difficult to scrub off. Very hot water helps.

      • Jarrad November 21, 2013 Reply

        Their next book should be “Modernist Clean Up.”

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