I'm a bit confused with how much saffron to use in a paella recipe. I've seen numerous recipes that state to use 1gram. However I have a 1gram jar and that seems like a lot of saffron to me. I've spotted some recipes that say to use 1/2 a teaspoon and they state that this is about equal to 1gram. But my jar of saffron is a lot more than 1/2 a teaspoon.
I agree with the others that 1 gram is way too much saffron. Unless you're making one of those huge outdoor pans of paella which feeds 20 people.
Exact quantities depend on how much paella you're making, and the freshness of the saffron involved. I tend to use a hefty pinch, which would be around 12-20 threads, for a paella for 6 (2-3 liters). I'll adjust that downwards for very fresh saffron, and upwards for old stale saffron. You can tell how fresh your saffron is by (a) smelling it, and (b) soaking it in a small amount of warm water. Fresh saffron will smell strongly floral/spicy, and will turn the water bright yellow very quickly.
I like saffron a lot though, and also tend to err on the side of more rather than less.
A gram is an awful lot. Most recipes I'm familiar with call for a pinch or sometimes a specific (small) number of threads.
Crush the threads first; don't add them whole or you won't get as much out of them.
If your goal is the bright yellow color, soaking the crushed saffron threads in a little wine or vinegar for 10 minutes or so helps quite a bit. I don't know if this makes a difference on how much saffron flavor you get. (And obviously this has to be in a dish that won't mind a couple tablespoons of wine or vinegar.)
I add saffron sparingly, starting with a medium pinch of the threads as I'm cooking, and adding slowly as I go, with pauses for steeping of the flavor. Have occasionally used the powdered (really expensive) saffron and warn you to be extremely careful with that product - once ruined a beautiful seafood stew trying to 'tap' the powder out of the bottle.
Start with small amounts and taste. It is an extremely powerful spice (used a lot by medicine manufacturers) and can end up making your dish taste like vitamin pills if you aren't careful. Experience will guide you as you use it more.
Take it from an old burned-out hotel chef of 40 years...You are going to have to use trial and error until you have mastered this spice or any other spice.
Heat the liquid you are using, add an average pinch for three cups of rice and go from there. If it works, good. If not, add more (or less) next time.
Add garlic powder, if there's too much saffron, to compensate. If not enough, add paprika and cumin to cover your mistake until next time you make the dish.
Eventually you will master the spice, just endure patiently...
One gram does seem like too much saffron. From what I've seen, most recipes call for 1 pinch to 1/2 teaspoon of saffron.
To make a pound of saffron, over two hundred thousand stigmas from crocus sativus flowers must be harvested by hand. That's why saffron is the world's most expensive spice, and also why so there are so many fakes on the market. Fortunately, a little of the good stuff goes a long way--it only takes a few threads to add saffron's distinct yellow color and earthy aroma to a family meal of paella or bouillabaisse.
I have read that 2 to 3 strands per person is as much as you need to use when it comes to Saffron. Its not just overpowering to the dish but is also toxic in high amounts.
One medical site states that a medical overdose of saffron, whether used in a dish or medicinally (caps), is five grams and the symptoms range from vertigo, jaundice, vomitting, nosebleeds, bloody evacuations as well as death. Yes I know. Death. LOL.
On the lighter side just use very little saffron. The two to three strands per person seems like the best "rule of thumb" until u are more accustomed to the spice.
I'm going to disagree with the other answers a bit, and say you can have a recipe, a good recipe, that asks for a lot of saffron. Whether that's a recipe (or a flavor) you like is a different story, it is just not an automatic fail to ask for a larger amount.
I have a bread recipe that asks for a gram and a half of saffron (it does make two loaves)(oh, but it's so, so good). I use the whole amount, and do not regret it because I really like the flavor and color it gives. I have a few other recipes, a saffron and garlic mayo dip, and a risotto recipe, that I use saffron pretty generously for - starting with a heavy pinch (thumb-to-side-of-finger pinch) and occasionally adding a bit more to taste. I do make the most of the saffron I add with grinding, hot steeping, and rinsing spice dust into the dish, and I do admit I make these dishes very rarely, since saffron is dear, but that's how it goes.
And again, it isn't wrong to be sparing or prefer less, it's just also not wrong to be generous or prefer more. Mama would use a scant pinch, or a few threads, to give her (usually sweet)(often large quantities) dishes a bit of a saffron scent and that's enough for her. Plenty of people like it like that. But there's my brother, who has said that saffron "only gives a bit of color, right, there's no flavor to it" (based on history with mama's very light usage), and might benefit from a stronger-saffron'd dish if he was here to taste it. Along the same lines if I would get three dishes out of the same amount that gives her ten dishes, I like my three dishes enough more to go seven dishes without, so it's worth it to me.
So, to bring the whole thing back to your paella, I'd suggest finding a recipe that looks good (pictures, instructions, and reviews all appeal) and trusting it whether it asks for threads, tsp(s), or gr(s). And if in the end, the flavor of the saffron is a bit light or elusive, next time you make it you can add a bit more, and if it's a bit strong or feels out of balance, next time add less.