Any type of recipe will have some kind of measurements involved. There are many types but overall I prefer imperial. Here's why...

At school, which was '80s & '90s, I was of course taught metric weights and measures. I guess this is because the UK is linked to Europe and these are widely used. It wasn't until my first shift at a bakery that I had to use imperial measurements.

The scales they used are the old style with metal weights one side of a balance and a scale plate the other. Initially I thought they can't be serious, we have digital these days. However, after seeing them measuring the same weights over and over again at speed I realised that the old style scales are actually faster.

Say for instance you're weighing dough for a large loaf of bread. You have the weight set on one side, add dough until it tips, remove dough then repeat with the next chunk. There's no resetting of the scale, waiting for it to zero. This is were the speed happens, technology can sometimes slow you down!

Since then I have bought my own old style scales for the kitchen which I use to measure in pounds and ounces as I did at the bakery. I convert all metric recipes back to imperial and keep them in that form. I said 'convert back' there, a lot of recipes were written in imperial so when you covert back to imperial you end up with round numbers which I find is a lot easier to remember.

For instance, the recipe I use for crème pâtissière is: 4 eggs, 4 oz sugar, 12 fl oz milk, dash of vanilla and 1 oz flour. If this were in grams it would be 4 eggs, 113g sugar, 28.4g flour, dash of vanilla & 341ml milk. Which would you prefer to try and remember?

Call me old fashioned if you will, but the above example shows that it's a bit silly to use metric all the time. It's good to know about both types of measurements and it's a shame it took until my thirties to learn imperial. Maybe they should have taught me at school? I'm glad I can use both these days and the kids enjoy using the old scales and weights when I'm cooking at home.

I'm not saying rush out and buy old style scales but if you're someone that 'only' uses metric because it's what you know why not try using the old system a bit to see if it works for you too? You can easily switch digital scales to imperial. Let's not venture in my thoughts on cup measures at this stage, a future article may be required for that.


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