This post contains information on how I go about recipe developing and writing. This is the method that works for me. I hope it provides you with some working tools.
I think that there are various things that make a recipe work. First and foremost is the time spent before publishing. Recipe development can take a lot of time. At the moment I am developing a recipe and already I am on my third attempt at getting the flavour combination perfect so that when someone makes the dish at home they think it is divine.
The first aspect of recipe development is thinking of a set of ingredients you imagine will work together. Once you have listed your ingredients you then need to set about the method. When I am developing a recipe I have a book and pen next to me in the kitchen. I write down the ingredients as I go along, making a note of the measurements. I write the steps as I complete them. That way, when I capture the recipe everything is in the right order. I print out a copy of my recipe and work from that.
The next aspect is testing the recipe. Does it work a second time around? If not, I write down the tweaks, capture the changes and test again! So, by the time you read a recipe here on my blog, I know it works. Of course, errors creep in when you least expect them to, which is why feedback is so good. I love to hear when a recipe works of course, but more importantly I want to hear if it doesn’t.
The third aspect of recipe writing, and the one I need to pay more attention to, is consistency of measurement units. I want to start working in grams and mls. This may pose a challenge for my imperial readers but I do have a great conversion page on my blog. Also, I have a very ‘clever’ scale and I can change from metric to imperial measurements at the click of a button. I would recommend this type of a scale if you don’t already have one. Mine can also be reset after each ingredient which is very helpful.
I have started a word document and it has all my standardized wording, links and phrases on it. This way when I write a recipe, I use the same phraseology all the time. I also have a big note on the top: REMEMBER TO USE GRAMS AND MLS! This note to myself is really a very good reminder. I am going to start a standardized sheet and if anyone is interested in receiving it, or adding to it please let me know by sending me an email!
It may sound odd to not do a recipe in cups and teaspoons but did you know in Australia a tablespoon is 20mls? If I had not purchased a bread maker that was made in Australia I would not have known that. In South Africa a tablespoon is 15mls. And I have three sets of measuring cups – one of the 1 cup measures is 218 mls and the other two are 250mls. I have set aside the ‘odd’ one and now I am using what I consider standard measuring cups. But maybe somewhere in the world 218mls is the standard cup measure.
I am slowly working my way through my archived recipes to make the changes but I hope from now on to be more consistent with the way I present my recipes to you.
How do you measure your ingredients?
What I blogged:
- two years ago – How To Sterilize Glass Jars
- three years ago – Balachaung
37 thoughts on “Recipe Developing And Writing”
Great post Tandy. Very useful 🙂 xx
Thank you Tami!
Great work Tandy!! Love the new lavender background too, just gorgeous x
Thank you Lisa – I am still deciding on it 🙂
My recipes process is very similar, I write it down and then add to it until it tastes good. …and then start again to test. The family get a little tired of eaing my trials 🙂
Thankfully Dave does not mind eating the same thing over and over again, and sometimes it takes me months before I try something for the second time 🙂
Never heard of a cup being 218mls. Would be interesting to know where that came from.
Enjoy your developing, converting and updating Tandy.
🙂 Mandy xo
Reading Tanya’s comment I think that my cups may be from Europe 🙂
Recipe writing is definitely as much of an art as recipe developing! Great post. I tend measure using grams when I bake, but by volume when I cook.
That is interesting to know Joanne 🙂
I think the US cup measure is smaller than the UK and SA one, so maybe that is what yours is.
I try to use both metric and imperial in my recipes so that my US readers can also follow my recipes, but sometimes I forget. And other times I use cups. But now I have a fancy new scales I can be more accurate – they switch between g and oz too, which is a great boon.
You are going to love using your new scale!
Great post and I too recently discovered the discrepancy in cup sizes as I have one set here in Spain (220mls) and one in the UK (250mls) – weird eh?!
Ah, so my 218mls cup must be from Europe!
This was a spot on post, Tandy!
Thanks Squishy 🙂
Tandy, our tablespoon measure is a quirk – I don’t know how it came about, as even the UK use 15ml spoons! I always specify 1 tablespoon (4 teaspoons), as a teaspoon is universally 5ml, but wherever possible, I use weight measures as well. It gives a much better result!
I was amazed when I read about the tablespoon measure in my Breville book – I would really not have known that!
Tandy, nice post, you sure have many valid points…we all should standardized…yes, gets very complicated…
Hope you are having a great day my dear 😀
Thank you Juliana for taking the time to read this post 🙂
I had no idea that standard measurements varied so much from country to country! That is so good to know. 🙂 Your recipe development process is very similar to mine. It’s so good to make something a few times so we KNOW that it works. 🙂
It helps me a lot to make things a few times!
Great little post Tandy. I know exactly what you mean about measurements. They do vary country to country. I have a simple cooking converter on my site if you want to check it out. Oven temperatures is another thing some people state their temperature in C and some in F and some on gas marks and this can be confusing as well.
I always write what I use and then direct people to my conversion page 🙂
Fantastic post Tandy. This is what separates the kitchen comber from the chef. You and a number of bloggers have my enormous respect for the precision and time that you put into your recipes. I am of the former group who simply asks; what do I have to work with? who will be here for dinner? and then I go to work to get it on the table within the hour. Thank you for your leadership in this area and for all of the conversions.
Thank you for the amazing words! I am inspired by your blog Tammy 🙂
Great Post, deveoping and testing a recipe is no easy task.
No, it isn’t Usha 🙂
Thanks Tandy for generously sharing this information! May it inspire many would-be recipe writers xx
Thank you for taking the time to read this xxx