A while back I received a great cookbook from a friend. Much to my horror, I discovered that to follow any recipe, I would need a kitchen scale! Not a single recipe had measurements in tablespoons or cups, everything was listed by weight. I had no idea that such cookbooks were printed, or that some cooks and bakers used weights instead of volume when adding ingredients to their mixes. Despite being a fairly experienced baker, I just had an eye opening moment and needed to do a little research on kitchen scales.
Why Is There A Scale In The Kitchen?
I tried to remember where I would have seen a scale being used outside of a doctor’s office or a bathroom. All I could come up with were scales in old westerns (measuring gold dust) or in a mad scientist’s lab. That was probably not a good starting point, so I started some online research to find out why a kitchen scale was even needed.
A recipe that calls for one cup of flour could also call for 125 grams. The amount is the same, the unit designation is different. Why the difference? Some cooks and bakers feel that weight is more accurate. 125 grams of flour will always be the same weight, but one cup of flour could vary some depending on how tightly packed the flour is in the measuring cup. It may not always make a difference, but baking is for more of a science than it is an art form, so being specific matter.
There also is the matter of convenience. Most of us have multiple sets of measuring cups for dry ingredients in our kitchens. You might have one set made from plastic, another made of stainless aluminum and maybe a silicone set. One set might be missing one of the cups and sometimes those cups get strewn all over the drawer that you keep them in.
A kitchen scale has two pieces. The base, which is usually battery operated and has a small footprint, and the weighing bowl. That’s all, no additional cups for different volumes. You simply clean out the bowl each time you use it, but those two pieces are all that are needed.
The original kitchen scales were mechanical and used balances to come up with measurements. Technology advanced and soon the scales were digital and amazingly accurate. Most of the kitchen scales on the market have readouts that will tell you exactly how much ingredient is in the bowl. You can set the read out for ounces or grams and you will always have the amount you need, exactly as called for in the recipe. Most of the scales work with dry or liquid ingredients, and the weight of the measuring bowl is factored into the weighing process.
So don’t panic if you find a recipe that calls for grams or ounces instead of cups of an ingredient. You will want to have both a kitchen scale and measuring cups on hand, the are both wonderful kitchen tools. Kitchen scales give you a bit more control over the quantity of an ingredient, and they are quite inexpensive. You can find a really good scale for less than $25 and it will last for many years.