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Feb 8, 2009 03:26 AM
Discussion

### What is "tablespoon" in grams?

I want to make this
http://www.chow.com/recipes/14104
But it doesn't give proper measurements. Is a 'stick' of butter 500 grams? Seems like a lot for 1 1/4 cups of flour. Can someone convert for me?

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look at the butter converter :

2 Replies
1. re: Maximilien

Thanks - don't have the pan, so I can't make it anyway T___T

1. re: Maximilien

In the US, butter is usually sold by the pound, divided into 4 sticks. Hence the stick is about 1/8 of a kilogram.

2. one pound of butter is 454 grams so a 1/4 lb stick (8 tablespoons) is approx 113 grams.
you can make this in a glass pie plate if you don't have the tart pan, just cut the slices with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and you should be fine.

1. Strictly speaking a tablespoon is a measure of volume while grams are a measure of weight so you can't convert one to another. One tablespoon = 15 cubic centimeters. Fortunately, in the metric system volume and weight are easily interchanged assuming the liquid you are measuring is water, i.e. 1 gram=1cc of water. If you make the assumption that butter weighs about the same as water (which it does not but is not far off) and that there are 30cc's per oz, 500 grams of butter would be 500/30cc=16 2/3 oz of butter or a shade over a pound.

10 Replies
1. re: LRunkle

The wrapper of US sticks of butter are marked with 'tablespoons' - so no one worries about the fine points of density. If the recipe calls for a tablespoon of butter, just cut off the relevant portion of a stick; it does not expect you to pack it into a measuring spoon.

And with a recipe like this varying the butter amount by a tablespoon either direction shouldn't make much difference.

1. re: LRunkle

Strictly speaking grams are a measure of mass. This is the first time I have made use of this knowledge since junior high. And what a useful use it was.

1. re: LRunkle

Yes you can convert volume to weight (technically mass) if you're talking about a consistent known entity, in this case butter. Assuming all butter has the same density (mass / volume), you can always convert volume to mass using a standard ratio.

Obviously variations on butter like whipped butter have a different density.

As has been mentioned, a tablespoon of butter weighs 1/2 ounce or 14 grams.

By the way, butter does not have the same density as water. Water is more dense.

1. re: taos

Could you tell the difference in density by weighing a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of water? In theory yes; in practice probably not.

A quart is .946L, and with the 1g=1cc water, then 1 qt of water has a mass of 946g, 118g for 1/2 cup (1/8 qt). Compare that with the nominal 113g for 1/4 of a 454g 'pound' of butter.

I attempted to weigh 1/2 c of water on my digital scale. On the first try I got 110g. To get close to 118 g I had to carefully make sure that the bottom of the meniscus was right at the 1/2c mark (using a 1cup glass measuring cup).

If you try to pack butter into a half cup measuring cup you could easily end up with voids, especially if it is hard. You could melt the butter and then measure that, but the foam on top of the butter could mess you up just like the meniscus. Does melted butter have a concave meniscus like water?

Another way of measuring butter (or other solid fats) is to put 1/2 c of water in a cup measure, and add butter until the water rises to the 1c mark. But this, I think, measures the butter by weight, not volume (it displaces its own weight of water). The fact that the butter floats on top of the water does prove that it is less dense.

May be we should say that the recipe is in error for equating 1 stick (1/4 lb) with 8 tbls. But - just what is the definition of a tablespoon of butter? Butter that can be squeezed into a tablespoon, or 1/8 of a stick?

How is butter sold in the UK? By 500g blocks? 125g sticks? Are the sticks marked? How is it usually measured? With a scale to the nearest gram?

Further complication: according to the wiki article on butter, in the US
"The stick's wrapper is usually marked off as eight tablespoons (120 ml/4.2 imp fl oz; 4.1 US fl oz); the actual volume of one stick is approximately nine tablespoons (130 ml/4.6 imp fl oz; 4.4 US fl oz)."

1. re: paulj

It appears that Kerrygold butter is sold in 250g packets in the UK, and 227g packets in the USA.

1. re: paulj

Here's a chart comparing the specific gravity of many different substances:

http://www.simetric.co.uk/si_material...

just so you don't have to guess,

2. re: taos

as does the difference between american butter(80%fat) and french butter(86-92%butter). tiny differences to be sure, but thats why its best to leave the volume measurments and mass measurements seperate.

1. re: nkeane

I don't see how the choice of mass v. volume measurements makes it any easier to deal with the difference in butterfat content. If you do try to compensate for butterfat %, you need to first verify whether those %s are based on mass or volume. For example, if you melted butter, and let the butterfat separate from the water, would you have 20% water by volume or 20% by weight?

I think it was the wiki article on butter that said that home or farm made butter is more like 60% butterfat. The fresher butter is, in a sense, wetter.

1. re: paulj

My uneducated guess would be that homemade butter has a lower fat content because a home churn isnt able to exert the forces on the cream nescessary to squeeze the excess water out. Just a guess.....

as far as the butter fat content question goes, I was only pointing out that all butter is not equal so you cant assess a standar specific gravity to it as far as the difference goes when baking things, in my experience it only makes a quantifiable difference when either making a very butter laiden recipe(shortbreads, etc) or when making an extremely large batch of something(like 2000 sugar cookies at once, minute variations get amplified when the recipe is expanded by orders of magnitude).

1. re: nkeane

The tart that the OP asked about is a shortbread. It depends entirely on the butter for its liquid content. The butter brings about 20% water to the party. Substituting a lower water content butter (e.g. 90% butterfat) would cut the amount of water in half (by about 12g, close to a tablespoon). Considering that crust recipes that do add water, do so by the tablesppon, the difference might be significant.

Note to Soop: it might be worth your while comparing this crust recipe with shortbread recipes using your British butter.

2. Out of curiousity I went and weighed the 2 tablespoons of butter that remain from a stick I used earlier today and it weighed just under 30g. I expect then 1 tablespoon to equal 14.8(15)g.

2 Replies
1. re: maplesugar

The 4 sticks in my pack (in freezer) weigh between 112 and 116 g (with paper), for a package marked as 454g.

1. re: paulj

To equal the total 454g each stick would have to weigh 113.5g...mine are never right spot on, and neither are the marks indicating tablespoon measures. Lately I find the wrapper is often askew...so I usually weigh it and if it registers about 14-15g I'm happy.

2. Here is a nice site for conversions:

http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/recipes/...

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