Ingredients

Conversions

As most of us know by know, Americans usually measure ingredients by volume, while most of the rest of the world measures by weight. (We just LOVE to be different, don’t we?) While I grew up using cups and tablespoons, I’ve grown more comfortable measuring by weight. It’s a more precise calculation, especially when it comes to the exacting science of baking involving tricky ingredients like flour that seem change volume at will. I’ve gotten quite good at converting recipes back and forth between weight/ volume or metric/English, over the years, so I’d like to share with you some of my learnings.

General Measurements

U.S. MEASUREMENT EQUIVALENTS
1 cup 16 Tablespoons 236 mL
1 Tablespoon 3 teaspoons 15 mL
1 teaspoon 5 mL
1 quart 4 cups 0.95 liters
1 ounce 28 g
1 pound 16 ounces 454 g

Flour

European and American flours are different, and can cause some confusion in the kitchen. The weight of flour varies greatly depending on the kind, and using flour with the wrong gluten content can have disastrous results. I put together this handy chart to save you all the stress I’ve suffered over collapsed cookies!

Francese Italiana Americana Grammi per cup
t 45 farina 00 Cake/Pastry flour 115 g / cup
t 55 farina 0 all-purpose 125 g / cup
t 65 farina 1 high gluten 140 g / cup
t 150 integrale whole wheat 120 g / cup
de grau manitoba bread flour 130 g / cup
epeautre farro spelt 100 g / cup
seigle segale rye Light: 100 g / cup
Dark: 125 g / cup
sarrasin saraceno buckweat 120 g / cup

Other Ingredients

INGREDIENT USA EQUIVALENT
Water 1 cup 236 g
Butter 1 cup 230 g
1 Tablespoon 14.5 g
1 stick = 1/2 cup
= 8 Tablespoons
115 g
Milk, Yogurt, Cream, Buttermilk 1 cup 245 g
1 liter 1030 g
Baking powder and soda 1 Tablespoon 15 g
1 teaspoon 5 g
White Sugar 1 cup 200 g
Brown Sugar 1 cup 220 g
Powdered Sugar 1 cup 120 g

Substitutions

Sour cream: Whip 1 cup fresh cream to form soft peaks, fold in 1 tsp of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Buttermilk: Stir together 1/2 cup skim milk with 1/2 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes at room temperature before using.

Brown sugar: Beat together 1 cup white sugar with 1 Tbsp of molasses. If you can’t find molasses, you can use honey and a bit of water.

Where to shop:

A lot of American ingredients can be hard to find in Italy, which is why I’m compiling a list of my favorite places to shop, mostly in and around Milan. Please send on your suggestions for stores in other parts of Italy as well!

Esselunga: Supermarket where you can find maple syrup, sour cream, tortillas, and peanut butter.

Superpolo: Carries a large variety of foodstuffs from around the world with many american and English specialties. Here you can find just about anything, molasses, sour cream, maple syrup, peanut butter, pancake and cookie mixes, cranberry juice, etc, etc.

Kathay International Foodstores: A large International foods market specializing in Asian goods, but which also carries some North American and English foods, this is my favorite place to shop in Milan, I could spend hours browsing the shelves.

Plaza Latina: Specializes in Latin American products, you can also order items directly from the website.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Paola December 20, 2010 at 10:04 pm

May I just say “I love you”? I’ve been going crazy over all of the ingredients in the recipes for the past three years, making a mess of every single cookie and piece of brownie!! So…thank you!

Laurel December 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Thank you Paola, that’s so sweet! I’m so glad I could help!!

rick March 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Hi Laurel,
just found your blog, and I’ve already found lots of info I needed. I still have a quesiton though: what’s the italian name for baking soda? I could only find baking powder ( I assume it’s “lievito in polvere”, like Bartolini’s; it has a slight vanilla-ish scent to it, but I don’t mind at all). But I can’t find anyuthing that resembles bakig soda! Any pointers?

Laurel March 25, 2011 at 9:33 am

Hi! You’re right, baking powder is “lievito in polvere” or “lievito per dolci”, etc. Baking soda is called “bicarbonato di sodio”, but you’ll have to ask where they keep it because it’s nowhere near the baking aisle. Sometimes I’ve found it with the cleaning products, or with the vitamins, etc, as a “digestive aid”.
Good luck!
-L

rick March 25, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Yep, that’s what I thought, but it just didn’t seem right :) I found it next to the other digestive aid (good stuff, btw). I used it once, but somehow my pancakes came out tasting funny, maybe I used too much…I’ll try again balancing it with the lievito and se what happens.

Thanks! If you are ever around Lago Maggiore let me know and we’ll have a bbq :)

Josie July 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Searching internet for lievito substitutes I found your blog. I am in the US trying to make an Amaretto cake and had no idea what to substitute la bustina di lievito with…Now I know! Grazie mille.

Hannah April 5, 2012 at 9:56 am

This is fantastic…may I ask, “dove posso comprare” extracts (lemon, vanilla, etc) here in Milan?

Laurel April 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

Hi Hannah! I have found them at Kathay International in via Rosmini!

Katy April 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm

this is so wonderful, thank you!

can you recommend which flour to use for your banana pancake recipe?

Laurel April 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Ciao Katy! All-purpose flour if you’re in the states, or farina ’00′ if you are in Italy!

Jess Kaufman September 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for all the info.

I am tearing my hair out today because I decided to make a NY cheesecake for a dinner and there are no easy substitutes for Graham cracker crust. Any ideas? I will probably just use unes’s frollini cookie with some butter to make it easy. Also, i am going to try a yogurt substitute for the sour cream dressing … i tried to find greek yogurt which is thicker but could not at the local mart, so i will add some flour to thicken.

Giuliana October 12, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Hi Laurel,

I absolutely adore your blog. Very interesting to me and very helpful.
I have a question, though;
What can I substitute for brown sugar besides white sugar and molasses? Does demerara sugar substitute for brown sugar? Thank you !

Laurel October 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

Hi Giuliana! No, demerara sugar does not substitute for brown sugar. If you can’t find molasses you can try mixing white sugar with honey or maple syrup. Here is the post I dedicated to brown sugar that might be helpful!

rita October 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm

thanks for your interesting hints.i needed them in my recipes.thanks

Cristian October 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Hi Laurel..
I’m getting mad trying to find a place that sells shortening in Milan. Got some Whoopie Pies in mind and am stuck at square #1.

Thanks in advance.
Cristian

Laurel October 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Hi Cristian! I’ve never found shortening here, though I have to admit I haven’t tried that hard. I usually just substitute it with butter, since the stuff is so bad for you anyway. There’s a whoopie pie recipe in my new book that doesn’t use shortening if you’re interested. I did find this online store that sells it and a lot of other american treats though!

Teresa June 20, 2013 at 7:43 am

Paola, I’m having a difficult time trying to find an equivalent to “eti” for measuring flour. I’m making pizza dough and am also unsure which flour to use. Help!

Laurel June 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm

“Un etto” is equal to 100 grams, so “due etti” are 200 grams, etc. I’m not exactly sure what flour is the best to use for pizza, there seems to be a lot of disagreement about it online, and I’m not expert enough on the subject to judge!

Carla July 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm

The best sour cream found in Milan is German brand Demeter sold at Naturasì and Botanic (two separate health food chains found in different locations in Milan).
Anyone able to find proper American peanut butter anywhere? Like Skippy for instance, they used to sell it at IperCoop and Punto Sma, now I can only find an Italian brand at Esselunga which isn’t quite like American brands.

Denise August 10, 2013 at 11:32 pm

Great resource! I’ve saved it for 2 reasons. I love scaling ingredients in my kitchen in Seattle and grams make so much more sense than ounces and 2, I am renting a house in Umbria for a couple months next year and hoping to do alot of baking and cooking. Grazie Mille!

iLOVEbaking September 30, 2013 at 10:03 pm

thanks so much! You’re awesome!

Joya October 31, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Ciao Laurel!

I’m living in Milan and I wanted to make cinnamon rolls this weekend and I found a great American recipe. It call for “rapid-rise yeast”, what type of lievito should I use?

Grazie mille!

Joya

Laurel November 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Hi Joya!
I use “lievito secco attivo” (also called “lievito di birra”, in the silver packets called “Maestro Fornaio” by PaneAngeli), it should work fine! If you want I have a great cinnamon roll recipe here: http://www.unamericanaincucina.com/en/2011/09/cinnamon-rolls/

diana bruno November 20, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Very helpful…

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rossella January 20, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Reading your reply to Katy you said farina 00 you find in Italy corresponds to All-purpose flour in Usa, instead in the chart above looks that farina 0 is the All-purpose flour…..I’m just confused…sorry!

Laurel January 21, 2014 at 10:07 am

Hi Rossella, good question!
Farina 0 is the equivalent to All-purpose flour, though I have found that some US recipes that call for All-purpose flour work beautifully with Farina 00, as is the case with the banana pancakes that katy was asking about :)

rossella January 21, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Thank you Laurel for clarifying :)

Kathryn January 23, 2014 at 1:37 am

Very useful site. I’m in the US and want to bake certain italian cookies and breads which call for different types of flour with which I was unfamiliar. Now I can happily try the recipes.

Tina February 8, 2014 at 2:22 am

Ho Lauren, to bake a cake the recipe says lievito di dolce
You said that I could substitute with baking Powder ?
And what about when it says una bustina di venillia.

Laurel February 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

Hi Tina! “Lievito per dolci” is the same thing as baking powder, so go ahead and substitute it. A “bustina di vanillina” is a powdered vanilla flavoring, which you could easily substitute with a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Tina February 10, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Lauren when receipe say 60 g mandorle how many is that ?

Rosa February 20, 2014 at 12:24 am

Tina, from the measurements up above I would say 1/2 cup = 60 gr almonds :)

Berma13 February 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Hi… I just want to know if a standard hand mixer can be also used in making a cinamon roll dough? Thanks a lot

Maria February 27, 2014 at 12:29 am

HI! How much baking powder do I need if the it says UN PANETTO DI LIEVITO? Thank you!

Laurel March 10, 2014 at 8:51 am

Ciao Maria! Panetto di lievito is fresh active yeast, not baking powder, so I would not substitute it. If you want, you can substitute one package of dry active yeast instead.

Roberta April 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I recently moved to Umbria and cannot tell you how helpful your information is. Yesterday my neighbor brought me about two dozen frozen persimmons to make “something”. My first hurdle was the baking soda required in the recipes I located. The very small market in the village close to me would not be the place to find obscure ingredients. Thank you.

Laurel April 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I’m happy to help Roberta!

Audie Gamra April 29, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Can you please help me – I need to make a substitute for Lieveto Bertolini sachets (16gms) as I have no way to get hold of them. Would you happen to know ?

Laurel April 30, 2014 at 10:05 am

16 g of Lievito Bertolini equals about a Tablespoon of baking powder

Audie Gamra May 1, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Doesn’t the satchet contain something else ? I will take your advice and add 1 Tablespoon of baking powder in lieu of the LB satchet. Thank you so much for your help

Laurel May 2, 2014 at 9:39 am

Sometimes it contains vanilla flavoring, which you can replace with 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.

toni May 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I’m a bit confused on what the equivalent is for “lievito di birra”. Is it active dry yeast ? How much is a “bustina” ? (in ounces or grams ) Thank you

Laurel May 13, 2014 at 8:17 am

1 “bustina” means one packet, which contains 7 grams of active dry yeast.

juliet June 18, 2014 at 7:30 pm

This exactly what we mean when we say we are highy educated killing people with this language called English. UK, is the mother of this languge but because we want to show others that we are the king we try change words. If we did not take time, we would kill many with this dame soda.
There are a lot of soda: for laundry, for hygene and the power you called baking which is just yeast. How could someone differenciate one from the other. I lke Italy for one thing. They specify things to avoid danger as soon as you say something like this to the ITKs, they will call you illiterate. No one is perfect. You will kill a lot of people trying to change green to yellow.

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Hi Grazia, i’m assume you live in Italy??? Where can i find Lamb chaps??
And i wold like to print same of the things (mostly weights) you do not seem to have a place to do that. You think you could help?
Thank you so very much.
sincerely Anna

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