Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cooking Ratios: table and charts

Ratio - the simple code behind the craft of everyday cooking is a book that will change the life of anyone interested in cooking. The idea behind it is the classic egg of Columbus: super simple, and yet I hadn't thought of it. Rather than giving you another book of recipes, author Michael Ruhlman gives you the ratios behind a whole list of them: for bread, you need 5 parts of flour for every 3 parts of liquids; for cookies, you need 3 parts of flour for 2 parts of liquids and 1 part of fat... 

The idea behind this book is that when you know the basic ratio (in weight), you have a working basis from which the sky (and your capabilities) is the limit : you can add whatever variation you fancy. Still, the basic ratio will remain the same.

Ruhlman is candid about not having invented anything. In the introduction, he explains that the idea of this book came to him when Uwe Hestnar, a chef at the Culinary Institute of America, gave him a piece of paper with a list of basic ratios, telling him that "this is all one truly needs". No fancy books. No detailed explanations. Just ratios. Because - Mr. Hestnar says -  the fundamentals of cooking don't change.

The book is really fantastic, and I really recommend you buy it. It is simple, and super usable: on top of the basic ratios, he explains how to obtain several variations from the same ratios, and gives you also a list of quick to try recipes. Alas, it has a big flow: it doesn't have charts. Actually, it does have a couple of charts, but they are small and unusable. And this is a pity, because I think everybody should have a summary table of this stuff hanging in their kitchen. After all, even Ruhlman admits that he made a chart and framed it...so why not his readers?
Ratios summary table with notes - inspired by Ruhlman's book - click to access a high-def image
Ruhlman used to sell a pdf on his site, but now it is not available. He actually has an iPhone app which he charges $4.99 for it. (Not bad: charging $4.99 for something you haven't invented, and that was given to you for free by another chef. Hat off to you).

So I made my own table (above) and my own charts (below). I don't think I am infringing on anyone's copyright in passing them to you: after all, Ruhlman has NOT invented these ratios, which are well known among professional chefs. So consider this my valentine to you.

For downloading, you have two options:
  • You can click on the photos that I have inserted in this post (the table above and the charts below), and access high definition images of the pie charts I made. (The three photos with the pie charts are the same in content, but with a different layout, so you can choose which one you like best. 
  • Or you can click here, and download a presentation with these four slides. Up to you. 
And yes, you are welcome.
Ratios for doughs and batters - inspired by Ruhlman's book - click for a high-def image






6 comments:

Anonymous said...

How coincidental. I was just thinking this evening about how I would love to find something exactly like this. You are awesome. Thank you!

A Tuscan foodie in America said...

Anonymous, you are welcome!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! I just finished reading "Ratio" and went a-googlin' to see if anyone made any infographics based on the ratio in the book. You rock!

A Tuscan foodie in America said...

You are welcome!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen any ratio cooking for everyday meals? I know the sky is the limit there, but some generalities. Meat to veggie to seasoning amount.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the above information. Could you tell me the ratios for a chiffon cake and a devils food cake. Any help would be appreciated.

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