Sick And Tired Of Doing Food Calculations The Old Way? Read This

Table of Contents

Recipe Calculations

Often you will need to modify a recipe conversion. Sometimes a recipe must be increased or decreased. You may be adapting a recipe calculations from another source into a standardized format, or you may be adjusting a standardized recipe for a special event, such as a banquet or a reception. You may need to convert from volume measures to weight or from metric measurements to the U.S. system. You will also need to be able to trans- late between purchase units and recipe measurements. In some circumstances, you may be called upon to increase or decrease the suggested portion size for a recipe. Or you may want to determine how much the food in a particular recipe.

Using a Recipe Conversion Factor (RCF) to Convert Recipe Yields

To adjust the yield of a recipe to make either more or less, you need to determine the recipe conversion factor. Once you know that factor, you first multiply all the ingredient amounts by it. Then you convert the new measurements into appropriate recipe units for your kitchen. This may require converting items listed originally as a count into a weight or a volume, or rounding measurements into reasonable quantities. In some cases you will have to make a judgment Cali about those ingredients that do not scale up or down exactly, such as spices, salt, and thickeners.

Desired yield/Original yield = Recipe conversion factor (RCF)

NOTE: The desired yield and the original yield must be expressed In the same way before you can use the formula. If your original recipe conversion says that it makes five portions, for example, and does not list the amount of each portion, you may need to test the recipe to determine what size portion it actually makes. Similarly, if the original recipe lists the yield in fluid ounces and you want to make 3 quarts of the soup, you need to convert quarts into fluid ounces before you can determine the recipe conversion factor.

The new ingredient amounts usually need some additional fine-tuning. You may need to round the result or convert it to the most logical unit of measure. For some ingredients, a straightforward increase or decrease is all that is needed. For example, to increase a recipe conversion for chicken breasts from five servings to fifty, you would simply multiply 5 chicken breasts by 10; no further adjustments are necessary other ingredients, such as thickeners, aromatics, seasonings, and leavenings, may not multiply as simply, however. If a soup to serve four requires 2 tablespoons of flour to make a roux, it is not necessarily true that you will need 20 tablespoons (or 1% cups) of flour to thicken the same soup when you prepare it for forty. The only way to be sure is to test the new recipe and adjust it until you are satisfied with the result—and then be sure to record the measure!

Other considerations when converting recipe conversion yields include the equipment you have to work with, the production issues you face, and the skill level of your staff. Rewrite the steps to suit your establishment at this point It is important to do this now, so you can uncover any further changes to the ingredients or methods that the new yield might force. For instance, a soup to serve four would be made in a small pot, but a soup for forty quires a larger cooking vessel. However, using a larger vessel might result in a higher rate of evaporation, so you may find that you need to cover the soup as it cooks 0r increase the liquid to offset the evaporation.

Converting Portion Sizes

Sometimes it will happen that you also need to modify the portion size of a recipe. For instance, say you have a soup recipe that makes four 8-ounce portions, but you need to make enough to have forty 6-ounce portions. To make the recipe conversion:

1. Determine the total original yield and the total desired yield of the recipe.

Number of portions x Portion size = Total yield Example: 4 x 8 fl oz = 32 fl oz (total original yield)

40 x 6 fl oz = 240 fl oz (total desired yield)

2. Determine the recipe conversion factor and modify the recipe as described above.

Example: 240 fl oz/32 fl oz = 7.5 (recipe conversion factor)

Confusion often arises between weight and volume measures, when ounces are the unit of measure. It is important to remember that weight is measured in ounces, but volume is measured in fluid ounces. A standard volume measuring cup is equal to 8 fluid ounces, but the contents of the cup may not always weigh 8 ounces. One cup (8 fluid ounces) of cornflakes weighs only 1 ounce, but one cup (8 fluid ounces) of peanut butter weighs 9 ounces. Water is the only sub- stance for which it can be safely assumed that 1 fluid ounce equals 1 ounce. For all other ingredients, when the amount is expressed in ounces, weigh it; when the amount is expressed in fluid ounces, measure it with an accurate liquid (or volume) measuring tool.

Converting Volume Measures to Weight

You can convert a volume measure into a weight if you know how much 1 cup of an ingredient (prepared as re- quired by the recipe) weighs. This information is avail- able in a number of charts or ingredient databases.

You can also calculate and record the information yourself as follows:

Prepare the ingredient as directed by the recipe—sift flour, chop nuts, mince garlic, grate cheeses, and so forth.  Set the measuring device on the scale and reset the scale to zero (known as tare).

Fill the measuring device correctly. For liquids, use graduated measuring cups or pitchers and fill to the desired level. To be sure that you have measured accurately, bend down until the level mark on the measure is at your eye level. The measuring utensil must be sitting on a level surface for an accurate measurement. Use nested measuring tools for dry ingredients measured by volume. Overfill the measure, then scrape away the excess as you level off the measure.

Return the filled measuring tool to the scale and record the weight in either grams or ounces on your standardized recipe.

Converting between U.S. and Metric Measurement Systems

The metric system, used throughout most of the world, is a decimal system, meaning that it is based on multiples of 10. The gram is the basic unit of weight, the liter is the basic unit of volume, and the meter is the basic unit of length. Prefixes added to the basic units indicate larger or smaller units. For instance, a kilogram is 1, OOO grams, a milliliter is 1/1, 000th of a liter, and a centimeter is 11100th of a meter.

The U.S. system, familiar to most Americans, uses ounces and pounds to measure weight, and tea- spoons, tablespoons, fluid ounces, cups, pints, quarts, and gallons to measure volume. Unlike the metric sys- tem, the U.S. system is not based on multiples of a particular number, so it is not as simple to increase or decrease quantities. Instead, either the equivalencies of the different units of measure must be memorized or a chart must be kept handy.

Most modern measuring equipment is capable of measuring in both U.S. and metric units. If, however,  a recipe is written in a system of measurement for which you do not have the proper measuring equipment you will need to convert to the other system.

Calculating As-Purchased Cost (APC)

Most food items purchased from suppliers are packed and priced by wholesale bulk sizes, such as by the crate, case, bag, carton, and so on. Yet in kitchen production, the packed amount is not always used for the same purpose and may often be broken down and used for several items. Therefore, in order to allocate the proper prices to each recipe, it is necessary to convert purchase pack prices to unit prices, which are expressed as price per pound, each, by the dozen, by the quart, and the like.

If you know the cost of a pack with many units, calculate the cost per unit by dividing the as-purchased cost of the pack by the number of units in the pack.

APC total/Number of units= APC per unit

You know the unit price of an item, you can determine the total cost by multiplying the as purchased cost IAPO) per unit by the number of units

APC per unit x Number of units Total APC

Calculating the Yield of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables and Determining Yield Percent

For many food items, trimming is required before the Hems are actually used. In order to determine an accurate cost for these items, the trim loss must be taken into account. From this information, the yield percent will be important in determining the quantity that you need to order

First, record the as purchased quantity (APO) from the invoice, or weigh the item before trimming or cutting

Example:  APO = 5 lb for 20 oz) carrots

Trim the item and out as desired saving trim and edible portion quantity in separate containers. Weigh each separately and record their weights on a costing for

As purchased quantity (APO) – trim loss = Edible portion quantity (EPO) Example: 80 oz carrots (APO) – 8.8 oz carrot trim = 712 oz sliced carrots

Next, divide the EPQ by the APQ:

Edible portion quantity /As-purchased quantity = Yield percent

Example: 71.2 oz sliced carrots (EPQ) / 80 oz carrots (APO) = 0.89

To convert the decimal to a percent,

Multiply by 100: Yield percent = 89%

Calculating the As-Purchased Quantity (APO) Using Yield Percent

Because many recipes assume the ingredients listed are ready to cook, it is necessary to consider the trim loss when purchasing items. In this case, the edible portion quantity must be converted to the as-purchased quantity, which, when trimmed, will give the desired edible portion quantity. The yield percent is used as a tool when ordering.

EPQ/ Yield percent = APO

Example: A recipe requires 20 pounds of cleaned shredded cabbage. The yield percent for cabbage is 79 percent. When the 20 pounds is divided by 79 percent (0.79), the result = 25.3 pounds, which will be the minimum amount to purchase.

Generally, the as-purchased quantity obtained by this method is rounded up, since the yield percent is an estimate. Some chefs increase the figure by an additional 10 percent to account for human error as well.

It should be kept in mind that not all foods have a loss. Many processed or refined foods have a 100 percent yield, such as sugar, flour, or dried spices. Other foods have a yield percent that depends on how they are served. If, for example, the ingredient is to be served by the piece (half a cantaloupe), or if a recipe calls for it by count (15 strawberries), the yield percent is not considered; the correct number of items must be purchased in order to create the correct number of servings. However, if you are making a fruit salad and you know you need 2 ounces of cubed melon and 1 ounce of sliced strawberries per serving, you must consider the yield percent when ordering.

Calculating Edible Portion Quantity (EPO) Using Yield Percent

Sometimes it is necessary for you to determine how many portions can be obtained from raw product. For example, if you have a case of fresh green beans that weighs 20 pounds and you need to know how many 4-ounce servings are in the case, what you need to do first is determine the yield percent for green beans, either by referring to a list of yield percent values or by performing a yield test. Once you know the yield percent, you can compute the weight of the green beans after trimming

APQ x Yield percent = EPQ

Example: 20 lb green beans (APQ) x 0.88 (yield percent) = 17.6 lb green beans (EPQ)

The edible portion quantity (EPQ) would be 17.6 pounds. The second step would be to compute how many 4-ounce servings are in 17.6 pounds. If necessary, convert the portion size (here, 4 ounces) to the same unit of measure as the edible portion quantity (here, 1 pound). There are 16 ounces in 1 pound; 1 portion is equal to 14 (or 0.25) pound.

EPQ/ Portion size = Number of servings

Example: 17.6 lb. green beans (EPQ)/ 0.25 lb. serving size = 70.4 servings

You would be able to obtain seventy full servings from the case of green beans. You should round down any partial number of portions since it would not be plausible to serve a partial portion to a guest.

Calculating Edible Portion Cost

As discussed earlier, recipes often assume ingredients are ready to cook, so when it comes to costing a recipe, the edible portion cost (EPC) per unit can be calculated from the as-purchased cost (APC) per unit, as long as the edible portion is expressed in the same unit of measure as the cost unit.

APC/ Yield percent = EPC

Example:  $0.106 oz carrots (APC) / 0.75 (yield % for tournéed carrots = $0.141/oz tournéed carrots (EPC)

EPQ X EPC = Total cost

Example: 4 oz tournéed carrots (EPQ) x $0.141/oz tournéed carrots (EPC) = $0.564 per serving (total cost)

Calculating the Value of Usable Trim

Often, some of the trimmings from a food may be used to prepare other foods. For example, if you have tournéed a carrot, rather than cutting it into dice or rounds, you can use the trim to prepare a soup, purée, or other dish. Using the information from your yield test, you can calculate the value of the trim. First, determine the use for the trim, then find the cost per unit and yield percent for that ingredient, as if you had to buy it to prepare the dish. For instance, if you use the trim from carrot tournées to prepare a soup, the food cost for the carrot trim is the same as for a carrot that has been trimmed and chopped.

Example: $0.106 (As-purchased cost of carrots per ounce) = $0.119 (value of usable carrot trim for soup per ounce) 0.89 (Yield percent for chopped carrots)

Some products produce trim that can be used in a variety of ways. For example, a strip loin produces trimmings that can be used in several recipes. The chef may use some of the trim to prepare a clarification that might otherwise require ground meat, and more of the trim to make a filling for fajitas. Finding additional uses for trim reduces costs and helps to eliminate waste.

Using Recipes Effectively

In the professional kitchen, a recipe can be used to improve efficiency and organization and to increase profits. When you know the approximate yield percent for onions and carrots, you can get the right amount for a recipe in a single visit to the walk-in. If you understand the difference between the price you paid per pound for whole beef tenderloin and how much you are actually paying per pound for the trimmed meat you serve, you can be more effective at reducing loss and decreasing the operation’s overall food costs. Learning to read recipes carefully and using them more productively is an important step in developing your professional skills.

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