Common Ingredient Substitutions

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Times Staff Writer

Question: Could you provide a listing of possible substitutions for common ingredients in a recipe? I’ve come across part of one, in an old newspaper clipping, and thought that such a list could be a good guide to use in emergency situations (when you discover you don’t have an ingredient and time is critical).

Answer: “Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker (Bobbs-Merrill: $16.95, 1986) has the most complete listing of equivalents and substitutions we have come across. The accompanying box is excerpted from the “Know Your Ingredients” section of that publication.

Q: I have an old, old recipe for pumpkin chiffon pie that calls for envelopes of Knox Gelatine rather than using teaspoon measures. I need to know if the company has changed the amount in each envelope over the past 20 years.


A: A representative of Thomas J. Lipton Inc., makers of Knox Gelatine, tells us that the amount of gelatin in the envelopes has changed over the years, but advises to still use the same number of envelopes since the modifications were due to the different strengths of the gelatin. The new amount has the same gelling strength as the old one.

Q: I add raisins or chocolate chips to my cake mixes and they always fall to the bottom of the baked cakes. Please advise what to do so the fruit or chips stay distributed throughout the cake.

A: Tossing the raisins or chips with about one tablespoon of the dry cake mix before they are incorporated into the batter should help them stay suspended as the cake bakes.

Q: I would like to know about English bangers--what are the ingredients in these sausages?

A: The traditional variety is made of pork and bread with very little seasoning, according to Times Staff Writer Paul Dean, a native of England. However, there are bangers made with beef being sold in Los Angeles, and the seasoning levels vary widely.

Q: I’ve been trying to bake yeast breads, rolls, etc. for several years without any luck, largely, I think, because I seem to be without any place to let the dough rise successfully. I have an all-electric kitchen, with no pilot light, and our heat registers are at ceiling level (I remember my mother getting her dough to rise by placing it on a stool over the floor register back in the Midwest). What do you suggest?

A: According to “Easy Basics for Good Cooking” by the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine (Lane Publishing: 1982), “The most convenient warm place in which dough can rise is the inside of a switched-off oven with the light on. If your oven feels cool, turn it to the lowest setting for a minute or two, then switch it off before putting the bread inside. You can also place a pan of hot water on the shelf below the bowl.”


Equivalents and Substitutions 1 teaspoon baking powder= teaspoon baking soda plus 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar cup dry bread crumbs= 1 slice bread 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs= 1 slice bread 1 cup buttermilk= 1 cup yogurt 1 cup sifted cake flour= 1 cup less 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate= 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or fat 3/4 cup cracker crumbs= 1 cup bread crumbs 2 egg yolks for thickening= 1 whole egg 1 tablespoon flour for thickening= 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot 1 small clove garlic= 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder -ounce envelope gelatin= about 1 tablespoon to 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs= 1 tablespoon fresh 1 cup honey= 1 cups sugar plus cup liquid 1 cup sour milk= 1 cup milk less 1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let stand 5 minutes. 1 cup whole milk= 1/2 cup evaporated milk plus 1/2 cup water 1 cup whole milk= cup dry whole milk plus 7/8 cup water 1 cup whole milk= 1 cup reconstituted nonfat dry milk plus 2 1/2 teaspoons butter or margarine 1 teaspoon dry mustard= 1 tablespoon prepared mustard 1 cup tomato juice= 1/2 cup tomato sauce plus 1/2 cup water 2 cups tomato sauce= 3/4 cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water 1 (3/5-ounce) cake compressed yeast= 1 package or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast Address questions on food preparation to You Asked About . . . , Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, Calif. 90053. Personal replies cannot be given.