Are you tired of cooking by the book? Or even afraid to write your own recipes? Today I have tips to create your own recipes.
Have you ever written your own recipes? For the longest time, I thought I was a really good cook. Don’t get me wrong, I have always been proud of the fact that I am a good cook. I love to cook and I love trying new recipes. But here is the problem. I was a really good cook that cooked from recipes. That isn’t very impressive. Fortunately, that changed a few years ago thanks to the Ratio Cookbook. Today I am sharing how to create your own recipes.
The Simple Codes to Create Your Own Recipes
A few years ago I happened to come across a review for a book called Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.
Codes in cooking? What the heck is that?
The codes in the book are the ratios that exist in almost every recipe. These codes are the basic ratios of ingredients that exist for example, in bread recipes. Or sauces. Or salad dressigs.
For example, let’s take a look at a vinaigrette or salad dressing. As explained in the Ratio Cookbook, the simple ratio of the main ingredients is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. As long as you use that ratio, you can make any salad dressing with any type of olive oil, vinegar, and some fresh herbs. So rather than memorizing one recipe you just need to memorize the ratio to use to make your own vinaigrette.
Isn’t that the best way to create your own recipes?
As the author states, “When you know a culinary ratio, it’s not like knowing a single recipe, it’s instantly knowing a thousand.” How simple is that?
Maybe it’s time to stop cooking by the book.
Stop Cooking by the Book
Most of us cook without recipes when it comes to our favorite recipes. So why not expand that knowledge to include so much more?
Let’s talk about dough.
There are a lot of ratios for dough. Bread is 5 parts flour: 3 parts water (plus yeast and salt). Pizza dough is 3 parts flour: 2 parts egg. To make pizza dough use any type of flour and egg and then just add yeast. When I make pizza dough, I follow the ratio but use gluten-free or whole wheat flour and I always add basil and other herbs to my dough. You too can create your own recipes when you make dough.
Bread is my favorite ratio. As I mentioned it is 5 parts flour: 3 parts water. Plus a pinch of yeast and two pinches of salt. But this is where you get creative. Add rosemary and garlic. Or orange and cranberries. Or olives and walnuts and chocolates and pecans. As long as you use the ratio, you can create your own recipe and make any bread, muffins, or dough you want.
If we expand the bread ratios, biscuits are 3 parts flour: 2 parts fat: 2 parts liquid. Pie Dough is 3 parts flour: 2 parts fat: 1 part water. Isn’t this just short of amazing?
The book also has ratios for batters such as pound cake, sponge cake, and angel food cake. Muffins are 2 parts flour: 2 parts liquid: 1 part egg: 1 part butter. I have found that when I only have the ratio (instead of a recipe) it forces me to be creative. Sometimes not having all of the information for a recipe is a good thing.
So how do you measure “a part”? In the book, “parts” describe how much you need of each basic ingredient (like eggs, liquid, and flour) and they must all be measured in the same unit of measurement. The easiest way to measure for each part is by weight, so you can use your Digital Kitchen Scale since it is more accurate than using measuring cups.
It’s kind of mind-boggling when you realize that most recipes are made from the same ratio. You really don’t need to search online for recipes anymore, you just need to use the ratio. I love using my book
Start With Your Favorite Recipes
You can also pull out your favorite recipe and write down the ratio. Then make changes!
For example, the Cranberry Coffee Cake recipe I made as a kid has the following ratio.
2 eggs / 3 cup flour / 1 cup sugar / 1 cup fat / 1 cup liquid / 3 tsp baking powder/ plus berries and vanilla
If I wanted to make a blueberry coffee cake, using the ratio above, it would be easy to make my own recipe. I would use eggs, gluten-free flour, palm sugar, plant butter, coconut milk, baking powder, about two cups of blueberries, and 1 tsp of vanilla. I could also add nuts, replace the liquid with almond milk or even replace the fat with a combination of butter and coconut oil.
As long as the ratios are correct, you now know how to create your own recipe. No more cooking by the book!
Recipes are formulas and the parts are all mostly the same. Just use baking ratios to make the basics or use them as a starting point to create your own recipe from scratch.
The book Ratio has a chapter on all of the basic cooking ratios such as sauces, custards, meats, stocks, batters, and doughs. You really need to read the book once so that you understand how to use the ratios.
There is a great reference guide in the front of the book which lists all of the ratios you will need to know. I copied it and taped it to the inside of my recipe cupboard. It is a great reference that I use all of the time.
I love that using ratios also helps you understand cooking in general. Understanding the difference between bread and fresh pasta is important. (The answer is eggs.)
What’s the difference between bread dough and pie dough? Fat.
And a tip for remembering the pie dough ratio? 3-2-1. 3 parts flour, 2 parts fat, and 1 part water.
Where to Begin to Create Your Own Recipes
Once you have a ratio, then where do you begin?
I always start with my favorite ingredients. You might have noticed a lot of blueberry or banana recipes on my blog. Sometimes I will open my pantry and refrigerator and refrigerator and pull out items I want to cook with. Once I have a good idea of the ingredients I have at hand, I use a ratio and start baking!
I love sharing my personal cooking tips. This book changed the way I cook long before I became a blogger. When I looked up the ratio for biscuits the other day I realized I had never shared this concept. Let me know what you think!
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