Thursday, July 12, 2012

The benefits of a kitchen scale

To my knowledge, of all of the people I know, I am the only one who uses a kitchen scale and I'm not sure why. Anyone who knows me has heard me go on and on about how a kitchen scale will change cullinary experience and yet, no one has ever adopted my suggestion. I think they must not believe me, or they're underestimating the effect it will have. *shrug* Either way, I will lay out my arguments for you, and leave it to you to decide whether or not you will take my advice
Stolen from the internets.

Benefit #1: Accurate measurements.
Did you just transfer your flour from the bag into the container? Or has it been sitting for a few days/weeks/months? In either case, the standard scoop and sweep method will yield completely different results. This is magnified with things like cocoa powder and icing sugar. How much does each pantry staple weigh? I've listed some of the common ones below, and you can keep it on your fridge, but after a while, you'll have it memorized, and will only have to multiply or divide by 2 or 4 to figure out the value. (You may ask why I've listed the numbers in ounces, when I'm a Canadian girl and, therefore, normally operate with grams. It's because there are less significant digits in the ounce amount which makes it easier to memorize.)




Item"Weight" per cup
AP Flour5 oz.
Cake Flour4 oz.
Bread Flour6 oz.
Whole Wheat Flour5 oz.
Granulated Sugar7 oz.
Brown Sugar7 oz.
Icing Sugar4 oz.
Cocoa Powder3 oz.
Butter8 oz.
Crisco7 oz.


Benefit #1a: Consistent measurements.
Do you know how that recipe you have for banana bread calls for 3 ripe, heavily speckled bananas? The one that tasted AMAZING last time? Did you use 3 small bananas, 3 regular bananas, or 3 jumbo bananas? And what does that look like, anyway? Any recipe like this that I've developed will say "12 oz. ripe bananas (approx. 3 large)" and it always comes out tasting great. No guess work.

Benefit #2: Speed and cleanliness.
No matter who you are, whether you're Gordon Ramsey or someone who's never baked a day in your life, it's significantly faster to turn on your scale with the bowl on top (this will tare the amount) and dump your ingredients directly into the bowl than to measure it out and transfer it. It will also reduce the amount of ingredient that ends up on your counter top and yourself.

Benefit #3: Less dishes.
If nothing else, if you don't care about accuracy, or speed, or cleanliness, you should care about the clean-up afterward. Using a kitchen scale will GREATLY reduce the number of dishes you produce. You won't need your 1/4 cup, your 1/2 cup AND your 1 cup measuring cup. You won't need that knife you use to sweep off excess ingredients. And you also won't need that spoon to scoop the ingredient INTO the measuring cup because the measuring cup won't fit directly into the ingredient container. These things add up and I'm sure my husband (who is a 4th order black belt dishwasher) is grateful for my mess-reducing economy.

Disadvantage #1: N/A
There aren't any disadvantages.

So if I've succeeded in convincing you, which scale should you buy? I went looking for an online photo of the scale I have (a wedding present), but it's so old that they don't sell it anymore. But it works fine, so I'm not about to go out and buy a new one just because. But if I were? I'd buy the OXO Good Grips Stainless Food Scale with Pull-Out Display. I like the idea of a pull-out display for when you're working with large bowls. Whatever you buy, just make sure that it has, at minimum, a 1g or 1/8oz resolution and a 5 lb max.

Resources:
[1] Wolfram Alpha - Don't know how much your ingredient weighs? Start your search here.

Do you use a kitchen scale? Will you make the switch? Comment below!

1 comment:

  1. So true! Growing up in France, I've always used a scale for baking. Another benefit is being able to shift between grams and ounces - that opens up a world of recipes!

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