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What does it mean when an ingredient is “divided”?

Flour measuring cup
When you read through recipes, there are often modifiers listed after the ingredients that tell you how they are supposed to be used. For instance, onions might be listed as “onions, diced” or apples might be listed as “apples, peeled and cored.” Ingredients are also frequently listed as “divided,” especially in baking recipes. When an ingredient is listed as being “divided,” the recipe is giving you the total amount of an ingredient needed for your dish while also indicating that it will not be used all at once.

At first glance, it seems like this is a confusing way to write a recipe. However, it is just as confusing to see an ingredient listed multiple times in a recipe with a different amount given each time. Since ingredients are typically only used once in each recipe, seeing it pop up a second time can also throw off a cook or baker easily.

When the word “divided” shows up, it means that you need to measure out the total amount you need, then read through the recipe to determine how to subdivide it. If you make a habit of reading all the way through the recipe before you start, you won’t be surprised when you start to measure ingredients and you’ll end up putting the correct amounts in at the right times. And for the times when you might forget to read ahead before we measure and you encounter it as you are working, just consider that the word “divided” is a reminder to stop and read the whole recipe before you add in too much or too little of whatever ingredient you’re working with.

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4 Comments
  • Holiday Baker Man
    March 21, 2013

    Tough call… i would prefer the ingredients divided in the recipe…. usually too busy to fully comprehend a receipe.

  • Mellisa W
    March 21, 2013

    Don’t care, so long as it is noted. Can’t count how many times I have dumped it all in and then realized it was supposed to be divided. My fault, but if it had been noted “divided” or had been separated it would have been nice.

  • rainey
    March 22, 2013

    I prefer when ingredients are grouped together as they’ll be used — for example the dry ingredients of muffins or all the ingredients for a topping — even if it means listing the same ingredient multiple times for the complete recipe.
    .
    In fact, I keep my recipes in a data base and rewrite them so for each stage of preparation I have a separate mise en place.
    .
    They’re *my* recipes. I should know them well enough to divide the flour. …especially if the published recipe says “divided”. But keeping each step or unit separate prevents many of the mistakes I’ve made over and over when I don’t.

  • Aqiyl Aniys
    March 16, 2014

    I didn’t realize how important it was to stick to the recipe and to get the measurements right and I tried to bake my first bread. that was a fail but I am doing better now.

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