One challenge that many cooks have when they want to commercialize a recipe that they love is the scale up.
Think of the first time you tried to make a signature dish of yours for your entire family and tried to triple or quadruple the recipe. Did it work? What about the recipe didn’t work so well?
Most of the time, the issues are in the seasonings – if you take a recipe that calls for 1 tsp of salt and try to multiply it to four times that, you can’t just add 1 tbsp and 1 tsp of salt and call it good. The dish will probably be too salty. The same goes for most seasonings, and you would learn quickly that incorrect scaling of herbs and spices could result in some disastrous meals!
So, scale that up to hundreds of pounds. Yup, you can see where the issues could start.
If you’re interested in avoiding these issues, then consider this. Before you ever start to cook a recipe, especially at the large scale, convert it to a weight-based formula.
First, gather your ingredients for your original recipe. And get a kitchen scale, preferably one that does decimals instead of fractions. If you don’t know what scale to get, check out Chef Jacob’s Stella Culinary forum answers about the kitchen scales some of the members use.
Okay, measure out your ingredients for the recipe from start to finish, but don’t start cooking.
Set a lightweight bowl on the scale and tare the scale – bringing its weight measurement to zero. Then add your first ingredient to the bowl and get its weight. I recommend getting the gram measurement, because grams are able to quantify light weight ingredients, like 1/2 tsp of a dried herb
Clean out the bowl, tare it on the scale, and measure your second ingredient. And so forth. Measure each of the ingredients separately to be the most accurate.
Once you have all your weights, you can cook your recipe. Make sure you get the weight of the cooked food, too, because you always lose a little bit of weight of the food through steam and residual in the mixing bowls, measuring cups, and cooking pots.
Record all those weights in a spreadsheet with the ingredients in one column and the volume and weight measurements to the right. Tada! Formula.