Having previously lived in two countries, England and Sweden, moving recently to my third, the Netherlands, I well appreciate that the commonly utilised units of measurement differ between countries and provide, therefore, considerable consternation when it comes to cooking in general, and baking in particular. I recently posted a recipe for a Swedish kladdkaka – a sticky chocolate cake – which asked for ‘dl’s of certain ingredients. I have of course been inundated with messages ever since, some frantic and desperate, some mailed and covered in butter or cocoa powder, thankfully none threatening, all asking me – just what is a dl?
Well, dl stands for decilitre. One decilitre, as the name duly indicates, is equivalent to one tenth of a litre, or one hundred millilitres, ml. So we can already construct a sort of chart:
1 litre = 10 dl = 1000 ml
A litre is a measurement of volume; therefore the units litre, dl and ml ought – so you might think – to indicate quantities of liquids. However, in my kladdkaka recipe, I used dl as a measurement of solids, calling for 3 dl sugar, and 1.5 dl plain flour. In Sweden, the decilitre is the standard by which all ingredients are measured. All recipes use decilitres, and the predominant measuring implement is a stack of spoons or cups, ranging from a teaspoon, through a tablespoon, to a half decilitre and then a full decilitre. Packets of flour and sugar in Sweden indicate on them how much a decilitre of the contained substance translates to in grams.
When I use the measurement ‘dl’ in my recipes, take this for granted:
1 dl flour = 60g flour
1 dl sugar = 80g sugar
Finally, for additional clarification in American:
1 cup = 2.37 dl
1 dl = 0.423 of a cup
1 cup flour = 142.2g flour
1 cup sugar = 189.6g sugar
You are to refer to this note whenever you seek to make one of my recipes yet strike upon confusion over the quantities and measurements provided; or else when you simply endeavour to engage in the humane, intellectual act of reading.