Gear: Why Weight?


Kitchen Scale

There’s a predictable course to all conversations that begin with, “would you share your recipe for <dessert thing> with me?”

I savor the precious few moments of smiles when I agree. They often are brief.

There’s the obligatory first stop at, “it’s all in grams? Metric?”

Then we arrive quickly at, “so how many cups in a gram?”

And finish with, “oh, a scale. That seems like an awful lot of work. Let me know if you convert it to cups.”

No doubt many of you, my dear readers, feel the same. But hear me out! A digital kitchen scale is the best thing that can happen to a baker.

Louis-Camille Maillard rolls in his grave when I write it, but it’s easy enough to pretend that there’s no science involved in everyday food preparation. Not so baking and dessert making. This reminder of high school chemistry class is what scares a lot of people off of the endeavor. But it shouldn’t, because embracing a little bit of nerdy precision will save you both time and angry tears.

Consider the following:

1) How I scoop my flour and how you scoop yours isn’t the same. A gram is always a gram, no matter who measures it.

2) What’s easier to add? 720 g. plus 1219 g. or 1 lb. 9.4 oz. plus 2 lb. 11 oz.? (If you answered 3 lbs. 20.4 oz., grams are for you!)

3) Because the math is easy, you can use ratios to quickly formulate the recipes of your dreams or scale them up and down to suit your needs.

4) Three bowls (at most) and the “tare” or “zero” button on your scale are all you will ever need. No fumbling with and then washing up a squad of spoons and cups.

The type of scale you use matters. Digital is a the way to go, and you want one that has a capacity of at least 4.5 kg. (10 lb.). The OXO 11lb Food Scale with Pullout Display is currently my favorite. The truly devoted will also want to pick up a smaller scale from a maker like AWS for when fractions of grams are required (like yeast in bread recipes).