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For titles of quantity recipes on this site for cooking and OAMC, check Getting Out the Big Pots and The Pantry.

Tips for scaling or adapting family recipes for quantity cooking

The simplest recipe for large scale cooking is one that is already developed. Food service, catering, and quantity cooking sources and cookbooks have many choices.

To produce a large amount of food using a family-style recipe, some recipes are "batched": a regular or doubled recipe is made several times, until there is enough for the expected group. Other recipes are "scaled" or multiplied with some adaptation, and the entire recipe is made at once.

Whether batching or scaling recipes, there are some strategies for getting good results:

  • Baking powder and soda, spices and salt increase less than other ingredients. Try increasing only 1 1/2 when a recipe is doubled and increase times 2 when a recipe is quadrupled.
  • Maintain the proportions of depth to height on pots, pans and baking pans. Especially important with baking pans!
  • Limit the depth of food in baked dishes to 2 inches to make sure that the food heats rapidly and evenly, keeping the ingredients to the same depth as the pan originally called for. For a half or double recipe, use a pan that has half or double the volume of the one called for in the original recipe.
  • If you cannot keep the pan contents to the original depth, then adjust the time, temperature and amount of liquid accordingly. If the enlarged recipe has a lot of liquid and contents are deeper than the original, increase the time and slightly decrease the liquid.
  • When the pan is filled shallower for dishes that have a lot of liquid, you will probably need to shorten the cooking time and add a little more liquid. If the baking pan is shallower, shorten the time and raise the temperature a bit.
  • When baking an increased recipe in a double size (13"x20") baking pan, drop the oven temperature 15-25 degrees and increase baking time, to allow center to cook without burning edges.
  • When cooking more than one dish in the oven at the same time, allow for more cooking time and raise the oven temperature by about 25 degrees. If baking half a recipe of cake, bread or pie, the cooking time will be more than half- about two-thirds to three-quarters of the original.
  • Preheat the oven fully, so the bottom of the baking pan is not burned by the heat rising from the heating element at the beginning of the cooking time.
  • Cold or chilled ingredients increase baking time up to double. Do not turn up the oven heat. Preheating liquids- a microwave is handy here, if you use one- will cut baking time back toward normal.
  • Use an instant thermometer to make sure that the center of the dish reaches a safe 165 degrees.

Scaling recipes: limits and tips

It is safest to increase or decrease a recipe by multiplying or dividing by any number under 4. If unfamiliar with a recipe, stay strictly within a factor of 2. Food chemistry prevents scaling recipes of foods leavened with egg whites (delicate foods such as soufflés), baked items requiring yeast such as breads, and recipes that prepare a single large item to divide into smaller portions such as cakes, pies, quick breads and whole turkey.

For recipes that do not scale well, you can multiply the ingredients to prepare the shopping list but you should still prepare the recipe in separate batches according to the original directions.

Crockpot- when using the 5-6 quart model, always cook on high for at least 1 hour before turning to low.