Quick Start Guide to The Kitchen Formula Calculator v4

There are four different calculating tables that are interlinked. The following describes each one, and how to start using it.

**Quick Start Guide: Step 1 - Using The Reverse Engineering Calculator**

Use the RE Calculator table to convert an existing recipe that’s written using volume (or ounce/pound) measures to gram weight measures. Refer to the *volume to weight conversions* table on a separate tab of this worksheet for a list of many common ingredients. Alternatively, you can use the RE calculator table to write new recipes using whatever units of measure you want (volume, ounces, or grams).

Only enter data in the white cells. The grey and color-filled cells have embedded formula for doing calculations. If you accidentally enter data in a colored cell, go to *Edit* in the spreadsheet menu bar, and click “undo” until it reverts.

The tables will show error signs until the first bit of data entry is made. Once a gram weight is entered for any ingredient, the error signs go away.

**Make a duplicate of the template first**. Leave the template blank*.*Do not enter data into the template. Open the dupe, and enter the recipe title by simply typing over the generic label, then enter the source for the recipe if you want.- In the first column, enter the ingredients given in the source recipe. In the next column titled “original formula” enter the quantities given in the source recipe. This becomes your record of the original recipe.
- In the “converted values” column, enter the converted values as grams. Just enter the number, not the word. The Cook’s % for each ingredient will be calculated as the ingredient gram weights are entered. The percentages keep changing until all the ingredient gram weights are entered, at which point, they are the final values for the Cook’s Percentages. The calculator will also display a value for Total Formula Weight. This is the formula yield.

If using this table to create a new recipe using volume or ounce/pound units of measure, then simply follow the process outlined above. If using ounces/pounds, there’s a separate tab, “grams to ounces conversions” to calculate all the conversions. If you are writing the recipe in grams, congratulations, it’s easy. Simply leave the “original formula” column blank, and enter the gram quantities in “converted values” column. The calculator will display ingredient Cook’s Percentages, and it will calculate the Total Formula Weight, i.e the formula yield.

All the relevant data from the RE table is auto-filled to the other tables of The Kitchen Formula Calculator.

**Quick Start Guide: Step 2 - Using The Re-Scaling Calculator**

Once Step 1 is completed, use this table to adjust the *Total Formula Weight* (recipe yield) as desired. Adjusting Total Formula Weight is the *only* thing you have to do here. This table allows you to rescale the size of the recipe yield according to changing needs. Before you begin, first you want to be sure that the values in this table match those in the RE table. Do so as follows:

- Begin by entering the
*same*value for Total Formula Weight as that displayed in the Reverse Engineering Calculator. - Once you’ve done that you will note that both tables are
*identical*. If not, check that you did not make some error in the RE data entry. Those will be easy to spot. - Having confirmed that both tables are identical, you can proceed to confidently change the Total Formula Weight (recipe yield) knowing that you have the exact same formula, the only change made is to formula yield, and of course, whenever you alter the yield all ingredient weights will change. The calculator will update these changes accordingly.

What’s important to note is that the ingredient Cook’s % values remain *identical* to the original formula. This is why ratios of ingredients are fundamental. They do not change unless you change them. The next table is where you can do that, and when you do, you have “reformulated” the original recipe, i.e. written a new formula. This is true even if the slightest change was made. Any change to ratios of ingredients is a fundamentally different formula. You haven’t just changed the formula yield, you have altered ratios, tantamount to writing a new formula. You do not alter anything but formula yield in The Kitchen Formula Calculator. To reformulate a recipe, you need to proceed to Step 3. All relevant data needed to reformulate a recipe, will auto-fill to The Reformulation Calculator.

**Quick Start Guide: Step 3 - The Reformulation Calculator**

Having completed Step 2, the data for ingredient gram weights (and ounces) will auto-fill to this table. Note that the column titled “Cook’s %” consists of non-color filled (white) cells. This indicates that these cells are for data entry.

The reason the gram weight values did not auto-fill to this table is because this table is designed for rewriting a formula based on changing needs, or updates, or whim. Rewrite the formula in this table. We rewrite a formula when we change either of two things, change ingredients, or change ingredient ratios. Ingredient ratios change whenever a new ingredient weight is entered for any ingredient. All the Cook’s Percentages in the formula adjust to reflect the change. Changing ingredients is really just altering a formula, but since it’s done in this table I casually lend it more mathematical significance than it deserves. You can delete an ingredient, add a new ingredient, or make slight changes to an existing ingredient.

What’s must absolutely occur to have a mathematical impact on a formula is to change the ratios. Changing formula yield only changes the weights. This is different from what it means to be a “formula”. Fundamentally, a formula is quite strictly the ratios of ingredients. Weights will vary depending on yield that is stipulated. Ratios do not change until we change them. We change them in The Reformulation Calculator.

- To change elements of the ingredient list, even though the list has auto-filled from the previous table, you simply type over it. It will not affect data in the previous tables. Make any changes you want.
- To make changes to the ingredient gram weights, simply alter any value for any of the gram weights as desired, or alter all of them, it doesn’t matter.
- As you make
*any*change to*any*gram weight values, note that*all*the data for*all*cook’s percentages change accordingly. You might not see the change to the cook’s percentage values if the change to the gram weight was small, because you have to direct the cells to report data to more decimal places. Whether or not you do that it doesn’t matter to the calculator. It will calculate properly according to the change made to the gram weight values.

Keep in mind that if you desire to write a new recipe, you start that process in the RE calculator, and then after testing that recipe, you can use the Re-Scaling calculator table to adjust formula yield up or down if desired, and then use this table to make adjustments based on the cook test results.

What I would suggest to do after you reformulate a recipe here (the follow up cook test is satisfactory) is to duplicate this tab. Keep the original work done here, then using the dupe, change the recipe title, and the data in the RE calculator to match the ingredient lines, and gram weights that you ended up with in this table.

This way, you keep a record of the original recipe, plus you have the new recipe. There’s another way to do this without duplicating the tab, and I can discuss how to do that too. It’s the breadcrumb trail method……

**Summary**

The Kitchen Formula Calculator v4 is comprised of three formula calculating tables, and one table for performing recipe costing. The first table is used to write a new recipe, or to convert non-metric quantities to gram weights in order to derive the Cook’s % for all ingredients. It’s why it’s called the Reverse Engineering calculator. The second table is simply a way to re-scale the formula yield by changing the value for Total Formula Weight. That’s all we do in that table. Both the Reverse Engineering table and the Re-Scaling table will be identical if the Total Formula Yield value in the Re-Scaling table is made to be the same as the value for Total Formula Yield displayed in the Reverse Engineering table. We can re-scale a formula to any yield simply by changing the Total Formula Yield value in the Re-Scaling table. The third table is used if we want to change a formula. We change a formula by changing an ingredient, or most importantly by changing any ingredient gram weight value.

**Optional Step 4 - The Formula Cost Calculator**

This is not a normal step in writing, rescaling, or reformulating a recipe, but eventually, in professional kitchens, and even some home kitchens, it needs to be done. This table is a convenient place to record recipe cost, and also to easily update that cost as you modify a recipe, or the pack unit cost of an ingredient changes, which means cost per gram changes. There’s also a plate costing table below.

Note that all of the data that auto-fills to the color-filled cells in this table is linked to the data entered in the Reverse Engineering calculator. Specifically, the cost per gram (ounce) uses the grams (ounces) displayed in the RE calculator. The only data you enter in this table is your calculations for ingredient cost per gram.

I can redesign the costing calculator to use the values for grams/ounces that were entered in either the kitchen formula calculator or the reformulation calculator if either of those two options prove to be more useful, but as a starting point, it doesn’t matter. We need to use the tool a few times, then decide if it makes better sense to do it one way or the other.

- Calculate cost per gram for each ingredient by dividing the total unit pack weight (or piece count) into the total cost of the unit. A case of avocado costs $20, there are 20 pieces per case, each Avo costs $1 for example.
- Once you know that, you have to determine the weight of an avocado after removing the meat. When you know that you can determine cost per gram.
- Alternately, sometimes we have to cost a prepped ingredient, 2T of diced shallots e.g. Doing this requires we prep it according to recipe specs, then weigh it and then determine cost per gram vs cost per pack.

The issue with doing formula costing is how ambiguous things get. As always, the cost per pack is different from the cost per *usable portion* of the pack. When we write a recipe, and ingredient might specify different things like peeled, cored, diced tomatoes, or simply cored and diced. 2T of puree of peeled, cored tomatoes is far different from 2T made from cored. In these cases, the cost per gram of 2T of the tomatoes will vary according to the variance in the “usable” quantity of tomato.

In other words the cost for 1 case of tomatoes, peeled and cored will be higher than for the same case simply cored. This is the recipe costing “coefficient of misery”. If we consider all the ways we spec for prepping *all* the items on our inventory lists, it borders on nonsense. To properly do formula costing requires a dedicated space, lab assistants, and time, and even then it’s imprecise. Chef’s don’t have that, so costings are typically done without rigor.

Most Chefs performing a recipe costing use what is called SWAG accounting. Simple Wild Assed Guessing. But there’s a way to do it that gets us reasonably close to reality. Som

stuff is far easier to cost… meat, fish portions e.g.

Costing is a massive PITA, but at least this table makes it easy to do the accounting, and easy to update as pack unit costs, and costs per gram change. The Kitchen Formula Calculator

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