HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

In praise of the kitchen scale. Do you find it so useful?

This NY Times article suggests that a kitchen scale is a must have. Overly hyped, or do you concur?
Do you recommend the brand you own?

"Tipping the Balance for Kitchen Scales"
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/din...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. yes, especially if one bakes, does modernist cuisine, or is simply into portion control. I have a Salter for larger measures and a Tanita for powders.

    1. I use a kitchen scale only when being extremely careful with portions for myself, as when dieting strictly. I know Alton Brown favors using a scale for measurements when baking.

      1. I'd throw out my measuring spoons and cups before giving up my kitchen scale!

        1. Measuring by weight is infinitely more accurate than measuring by volume. All recipes etc should be giving measurements in grams by now.

          1. Yup, I use my kitchen scale all the time. It's especially handy for gluten-free baking, since all the flours have different densities. Measuring by weight, you can substitute different grains and starches for one another very easily.

            1. It changed my baking for the better.

              People always seem to have difficulty replicating my cookies. Measuring by weight, not volume, has a lot to do with they way they turn out for me.

              That, and using a cookie scoop to portion them out.

              1. In my opinion they are UNDERrated. Mine gets used many times each week.

                1. I don't think I would have ever gotten successful macarons without the kitchen scale. I agree -- underrated.

                  1. Love mine, much easier to measure by weight than washing dirty measuring spoons & cups! And there's no way I could cook those recipes from French Cookbooks without, as quite often they only have measurement by weight.

                    I have a digital from Salter.

                    1. Big fan of the scale; baked goods were generally far less reliably successful before I got a Salter digital.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: WCchopper

                        Btw, I think that the "grandmother's non-measuring" way of baking was less about not measuring and more about their using a mental scale calibrated by years of experience.

                      2. I've used a scale for many years now. Not just for baking. I use it to weigh my pasta, instead of eyeballing it. If a recipe gives a weight for produce, such as 1 large eggplant, about 500g, I go by the weight. Very helpful, especially as I cook from some European and Australian books, and you can't assume that "small", "medium", and "large" mean the same thing as they do here.

                        I went through two Salters, and now have one branded from The Sharper Image, which I actually bought for < $10 at Tuesday Morning. The Salter scales were fine - I just had each one for a very long time and eventually the LCD display gave out, and I couldn't tell a 5 from a 3 from an 8. Current scale is newer, smaller, has pretty much the same features, with a little more precision (not to be confused with accuracy) in the weights, and a much smaller footprint. You don't need to spend a lot on a scale, even cheap ones these days will have the important features you need for cooking.

                        1. I am American, learned to cook using Imperial measures (cups, tablespoons, pounds, ounces.) I moved six years ago to Spain, where ingredients and recipes come in the metric form. Thankfully I have a kitchen scale that shifts between kilos/grams and pounds/ounces, so at least some of my recipes and proportions have found parity.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rebrites

                            Ditto for me in France - I still have my US measuring implements, but I use my scale when I'm following a European recipe. I also end up converting a LOT of my recipes for my French friends, so a scale is a must. It's SO much easier to measure ingredients when you have a "tare" button!

                            I'm currently lusting after a digital measuring spoon (WMF makes a great one) but I'm balking at coughing up 30 Euros for a measuring spoon.

                          2. The only times I use my scale are when making bread or when I put myself on a strict diet. That said, I don't do much baking, and the recipes I follow are usually written in vol. measurements. I would love to see them written in weight measurements as it's so much easier that way.

                            Also, even when using a scale, I find myself using some vol. measurements. When making the aforementioned bread for example, I use the scale to measure out the flour and the water, but the yeast and salt are done by volume - so little is used it doesn't get an accurate measurement on the scale.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: TdotNerd

                              I actually use 2 scales. a small one that is accurate to a tenth of a gram, and then a big one for measurements of stuff over 50 grams.

                              1. re: twyst

                                How much more accurate would a scale with a precision of 0.1g be than using various volume based measures? How much can one 1/4 tsp of cinnamon vary from the next?

                                I don't think using a second more precise scale is worth the extra bother, clutter and expense of getting one. But as I've already said, I don't do much baking.

                                1. re: TdotNerd

                                  for 1/4 tsp, the difference is pretty insignificant.

                                  But for flour -- what kind of flour? How finely was it milled? Has it been sitting for a while since it was last used (gravity and compression)? Did you scoop and sweep, or spoon and sprinkle?

                                  Dry ingredients can vary ENORMOUSLY when measured by volume...it's far more accurate to measure by weight, and results in better baked goods.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    delayed reaction..

                                    I used to be a teacher-chef in a nationally-franchised cooking school for kids.

                                    When we would do the test runs of upcoming recipes, mine continually came out strangely...we finally realized that the school teaches the scoop and sweep method, which compresses the flour into the cup -- and I had been taught to spoon and sprinkle, which aerates the flour as it's measured.

                                    We weighed the cups measured by the teaching method and by my method and frequently found a difference of an ounce or more in weight -- which is a difference that ends up in the ballpark of 20%....that's a huge difference, and it makes a huge difference in the recipes.

                                    It drove me bonkers -- but I sucked it up and did it according to the Company Way -- right up until I left -- then I went back to the spoon and sprinkle method, which gives me consistently better and more consistent results....and now I've largely migrated over to measuring it all by volume.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      Yeah, my whole point was that while a scale is great for measures of larger things (like cups), you'll still be using volume based measures for baking for things used in smaller quantities (tsp, maybe tbsp). Unless you use two scales, one for large measures & one for small measures, which I would think would be too much of a hassle and probably isn't worth it for the payoff you get - after all, packed or aerated, unless your scale is very precise, I don't think you'll be better able to accurately measuring off an ingredient by weight when the volume is roughly equal to a 1/4 tsp.

                                      That being said, I don't do a lot of baking, and I don't have euro-style cookbooks where everything is measured by weight. How do they deal with small measures? I just checked on my scale and a 1/4 tsp (of ginger) didn't even register, while a tbsp measured around 8g (I tried both scraping level and spooning it in to see if it would make a difference, nope, not on my scale). So while I can see a cook book asking for 2/3 of a gram of something, taking practicality into account, 1/4 tsp would be a much more practical measure to use, even if the rest of the recipe is given by weight, unit standardization not withstanding.

                                      1. re: TdotNerd

                                        I honestly don't think that anyone is talking about scales to measure teaspoons of ingredients.

                                            1. re: Mother of four

                                              huh?

                                              European recipes use spoon measurements for small quantities.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                I'm saying that it would be a bit much to measure one teaspoon of anything on a scale.

                                                1. re: Mother of four

                                                  O.o

                                                  That's why I said that we don't weigh those little amounts; we use a spoon.

                                    2. re: TdotNerd

                                      You use a scale with fine precision (0.1g or 0.01g) if you're doing anything with molecular powders and/or small volumes.

                                      Here's something simple to do: make a gelée from oyster liquor obtained after shucking one dozen oysters. 1 pouch Knox powder is about 8 g and sets about 500 mL liquid. A dozen oysters makes about 30-50 mL depending on type and size.

                                      1. re: wattacetti

                                        super late to answer replies to my post but yes, this is the reason I use 2 scales as well. A lot of the molecular powders require an extreme amount of precision.

                                2. Certainly necessary if you do much baking from European recipes, or otherwise need to be precise about quantities (only really dependable way to measure flour), and I like to freeze things in known quantities. Produce is frequently much easier to judge by weight, especially if things are irregular sizes and shapes. I have two that I'm fond of: an old fashioned balance, the only accurate kind outside of modern electronic marvels, and a spring scale made by Soehnle. The main advantage of that one is that the top flips over to use as a container, but you can also put anything else on top for a container, and zero it by just turning the scale. This is great for weighing ungainly loads, and you can do stuff like take something in a bowl, zero it for that bowl (if you have a duplicate) and weigh it without changing containers. I could get by without one, but I'd really miss it.

                                  1. I use mine all the time - not only for baking, but for checking portion size for meat, etc. I don't leave it on the counter (too much clutter) but if I did, I would use it every single day. I keep trying to figure how to leave it out.

                                    1. Meh....I have ZERO cookbooks that give quantities in, either in English units or SI, so it would be an enormous waste unless I have stuff to mail. Just another GD item to clutter the counter. If I did a lot of baking, perhaps.

                                      1. I use my scale all the time. For baking, it is much easier to put a bowl on the scale, zero it, and measure the ingredients by weight, than to fool with all that scooping and leveling of measuring cups. I also use it in other cooking - for pasta, vegetables and other ingredients. I never have been very good a eyeballing.

                                        1. One of the most useful things in my kitchen. Mine is a My Weight scale which is the best one I have ever had.

                                          1. I use my scale when i feel like it and use standard measuring cups when I'm in that mood. No less a baking authority than Nick Malgieri says that you will get just as good results at home with standard measures if you use them properly. We home bakers aren't under the same constraint to get the exact same results every time after all. And I'm NOT a believer in that oft repeated warning that baking requires precise measurements. When you've baked enough you get a good feel for what's close enough and can skip the unnecessary anxiety.

                                            All that said, nothing makes switching back and forth between American- and European-style recipes as effortless and measuring cups will NOT calculate your postage now matter how "properly" you use them. ;>

                                            I use a slim Salter that fits in the drawer right below my baking counter. Sometimes.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: rainey

                                              I would agree with you as far as known recipes, volume measures are fine if done right. However, when dealing with a recipe where you don't know exactly how it will come out, or that uses totally unfamiliar methods, it's much better to eliminate uncontrolled variables- a 1tsp/cup difference in flour can sometimes make a lot of difference. If you know the recipe well, you can deal with judging amounts by the feel, and using stuff like "scant" cups

                                              1. re: oldunc

                                                Exactly the sort of unnecessary anxiety about baking that I simply don't subscribe to.

                                                But, more to the point, why instill that sort of insecurity in someone who hasn't got it down and isn't confident they'll get results good enough to give a recipe a whirl? It's a couple bucks worth of flour, sugar, eggs and butter and we *eat* the results so they don't hang around embarrassing us. Even if something doesn't "work" how bad could it be? Ever heard of molten cakes and tuiles? Those are *not* things people intended to bake.

                                                1. re: rainey

                                                  It's not a matter of anxiety, it's a matter of not knowing exactly what you're going for on a new recipe. I mean, you can tell someone to make a "soft but not sticky" dough , and if they've done a lot of similar recipes, they'll know what you mean. If they haven't, they're better off being given measurements, so next time they'll know what you mean by "soft but not sticky". The notion that it's somehow shameful to measure ingredients is preposterous; with experience you don't usually need it, but if you're not at least sometimes inexperienced, you've given up learning. I really don't see how it's going to help a learner to have a recipe not come out, and have no way of guessing where they may have gone wrong- if you want to instill insecurity in someone, that seems an excellent way to go about it.

                                                  1. re: oldunc

                                                    I thought we were talking about the adequacy of standard measures in established recipes as opposed to weighing.

                                                    Stick to your scale if that's what makes your cooking experience good but no less an authority than Nick Malgieri says that you'll get fine results with measuring cups. I agree with him even though I have and enjoy using a scale as well.

                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                      I very seldom use a scale for baking ingredients, but if that's how the recipe is written, that's what I use- the first time through, anyway. There've been times when I was really dubious about outcome- I remember my first adventures with wet bread doughs- when I was very glad to be able to know that I was doing exactly what the author intended, because it sounded pretty crazy to me at the time.I really don't measure much when I cook, but I don't see anything wrong with doing it. Scales aren't perfect, either- the moisture content of flour will vary the weight, and the "ideal" proportions for some things (like pie crust).

                                            2. I would never in a million years go back to baking without a scale. And it's darn nice for cooking, too. It's always been my A number 1 cooking goal to learn to cook like my great grandma, totally by feel, and it's a terrific way to get there. This year I made my first gluten free sourdough, totally by feel. I got there by learning by using the scale. I'm eyeballing so much better now. The scale reminds me to use some moderation. It has also really freed me up to try more "ethnic" recipes - something about the concrete grams makes easing in to something new seem much less nerve wracking.

                                              And it's absolutely MANDATORY for gluten free baking. My flours all weigh different amounts. Cups mean nothing - it doesn't matter if I spoon in and level off properly.

                                              1. I read the article and some threads on the board with interest.. I have had an old school somewhat unreliable mechanical scale for years.. but would like to get an fairly inexpensive digital scale (for a casual home baker.. I don't produce large quantities of items, and I have limited storage space). There are some previous threads on this issue, but they are a bit scattered and some are fairly old.. thoughts??

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: rstuart

                                                  This is the one I use: http://www.amazon.com/Salter-3003-Aqu... It's tiny, reliable and affordable. It's got a tare feature, a toggle lb/kg, a liquid setting and it comes with a pretty decent table of conversions from standard measures to weight.

                                                  The *only* downsides I've experienced in years of use are the glass can get pretty grimed up with flour and fats and cleaning the underside takes commitment and a good microfiber towel that you can run between the glass and the shallow supports on the bottom and if you're weighing a *big" or a very wide bowl of produce, for example, it can be tough to see the read out.

                                                  1. re: rstuart

                                                    I too am stressed for space. But I really wanted a scale and I got this one - http://www.amazon.com/Ozeri-Professio... . I love it. And it's so compact that I store it upright with the books on the kitchen shelf. It's perfect for me and it's inexpensive too.

                                                    In response to the OP: I got a scale about 1-2 years ago. I would not go back. I originally got it because I was trying to cook from a British Indian cookbook and the converting was driving me nuts. Now I use it for everything from baking (though I don't do all that much of that) to pasta (I used to always make too much for just DH and me) to legumes, etc. And I do have an Ozeri, though not the one the article mentions.

                                                    1. re: LNG212

                                                      Great idea to store it vertically supported by books!

                                                      The only caveat I'd have about the scale you reference is that the readout points upward in the same plane as whatever is being weighed. IF, and it probably only occurs in large quantities or with a wide bowl, the item being weighed obscures the readout it's gonna be a b****. That's why a readout that's oriented forward is preferable.

                                                      1. re: rainey

                                                        Very true about the large bowl - I would never have thought of that. But I'm usually only cooking for the two of us so I guess I've not (yet) had that issue arise.

                                                    2. re: rstuart

                                                      I have a Salter that I paid about $40 for. I works great, but my only complaint is that if I put too large a bowl on it, it is kind of hard to see the display. It has a tare feature, switches easily between grams/ounces, is made of stainless steel and so is easy to clean. It takes up very little space. I've tested it with known weights, and it is very accurate.

                                                      1. re: lawhound05

                                                        I have a Salter Aquatronic and put bowls that obscure the readout on top of a small takeout container inverted on the weighing platform. I also always put a sheet of plastic wrap over the whole shebang to shield it from flour etc.

                                                        I'm with Rainey on the absolute need for precision in baking being overtouted, if it's something I've made a million times I'm a bit loosey-goosey. I use volume and weight measurements as the mood strikes me, but enjoy using the scale. It makes me feel British. Watch out Elizabeth David.

                                                      2. re: rstuart

                                                        I started using a scale a few years ago and would be lost without it. It really makes many tasks easier. And makes recipes more repeatable.

                                                        Check out scales for home cooking use at myweigh.com, especially the KD7000 and KD8000 (I use the latter). Run on batteries or optional AC adapter. Batteries will last a long time. Well designed, easy to clean, good value, excellent warranty. Precise enough to use for everything down to 1gram/ or oz equivalent quantities of things.

                                                        1. re: pericolosa

                                                          Plus there are guaranteed for a very long time, love mine. The batteries are either double or triple A's which you can find anywhere.

                                                          1. re: pericolosa

                                                            I got a My Weigh KD7000 after reading lots of reviews here and elsewhere (best price seems to still be on Amazon). I use it much more than I ever expected, most recently this morning when I made braided marble rye and could divide the dough evenly and weigh the strands rather than guessing. I'm generally pretty - um - relaxed with measuring, but sometimes the precision of a scale is nice to have. It's also been very useful with Ottolenghi recipes from his first cookbook and on line in the Guardian.

                                                            1. re: janeh

                                                              Thanks to all for the suggestions.. good to have a number of options!

                                                        2. I really, really wish that north american cookbooks / recipes would list weights more often, especially for powdered goods. Volumetric is good for liquids, not much else.

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: AlexCV

                                                            Yes, definitely a consideration. I also wish the authors of recipe database software would include a second quantity field for weights. As far as that goes, they could include the calculations for converting standard measures to weight by ingredient. But they don't. I've suggested it to the author of MacGourmet a couple times over the years with no sign of interest. ::sigh::

                                                            1. re: AlexCV

                                                              Seriously!

                                                              When I want to bake something random, I'll often open up the Joy and pick out a cookie or quickbread recipe. They are all volumetric... someone upthread said that all recipes should be be weight by now, but they just aren't.

                                                              With all of that said, I would not want to be completely dependent on anything electronic to be able to produce a baked item. Steel measuring cups will not malfunction, don't require batteries and are multitaskers. The scale is a supplemental tool for me, one that I use when trying a completely foreign recipe.

                                                                1. re: rohirette

                                                                  *cough* mechanical spring-based scale....old-fashioned balance scale...use it to measure anything that needs measuring from chocolate chips to flour to dog food *cough*

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Yeah... I've got one of those. the problem is, it's a bit tempermental.. and I've noticed that it's often off by about 100grams, which is fairly significant!!!

                                                                    1. re: rstuart

                                                                      but it's possible to own one that is scientifically accurate.

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                        That is true! But I figure if I'm replacing it, I might as well get a digital one.. ;)

                                                                2. re: AlexCV

                                                                  This is actually why I pretty much stopped buying American cookbooks (hey, I'm Canadian, and where I live I can easily get European ones--all sorts of Asian ones too, actually, but not always in English, so...).

                                                                3. Forgot to say that nothing's better for those gooey or awkward ingredients like peanut butter and molasses. And when I buy meat in bulk from Costco I am able to weigh the parts that I break it down into and put an accurate measure on the new vacuum packs in my freezer.

                                                                  1. I popped for the Xox and it's the best $50 I've ever spent. Measures ounces/grams and has
                                                                    a dial that will release from the main body if your pan covers the readout. With Bed, Bath & Beyond's 20% off coupon, it was a deal for me. Couldn't bake without it. I just wish more
                                                                    magazines and cookbooks gave measurements in weight, as well as volume. King Arthur's recipe site lets you pick which measurement you want. A real plus for bakers.

                                                                    1. I love mine, but I wouldn't say it's a must have.

                                                                      I would use it more, but most recipes targeted at home cooks list quantities in volume only. Of course, you can keep track of how much a cup of each type of flour you use weighs (I try to do this), but unless the original measurements are by weight, it's really hard to get it totally right.

                                                                      1. i don't have and never had one; i agree with the article that it may be a recipe thing (volume measure given instead); but it's what i'm used to already and i rarely bake so it doesn't seem like a worthwhile investment ($ and kitchen space) at this juncture

                                                                        1. I was a huge skeptic until I began on Weight Watchers. Now I use it not only for flour & other dry ingredients in bread making (with the wonderful tare feature), but also to weigh other foods (especially meat)--realized I'm bad at eyeballing a "serving," so the scale is a great tool.

                                                                          1. I'm on my 3rd (or 4th?) digital scale. This one's an Oxo, with the slide out computer part so I can put wide-based things on the scale.

                                                                            I use the scale for pasta, rice, cheese, grains, baking ingredients, canning ingredients, etc. And it's great for accurately calculating calories. Plus the non-human-kitchen uses: weighing horse feed portions and the occasional guinea pig weigh-ins.

                                                                            1. If you bake it is absolutely a must-have. The first thing I do when I get a recipe is convert it to weight.

                                                                              Have you ever been in the situation where you need 6 cups of flour, get part-way through scooping them out and then lose count?

                                                                              That doesn't happen when you're dealing with one single total measurement. So even if my conversion is based on my inaccurate measuring cups and flour dispensing techniques, it still makes it way faster and easier to assemble the recipe.

                                                                              If you just cook and don't bake much (or never bake from scratch) it's not as critical. It can be very useful if you like to freeze things. I also found it immensely helpful for making baby formula by the quart. But for other cooks they'll never touch it...if that's you, don't worry, you are not missing out on anything.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jzerocsk

                                                                                "Have you ever been in the situation where you need 6 cups of flour, get part-way through scooping them out and then lose count?"
                                                                                Oh yea! Been there, done it!! That's another reason why I love my scale!

                                                                                1. re: jzerocsk

                                                                                  The opposite can happen too. My scales automatically turn off some short time after being turned on, even if you're currently weighing something. So I have had it happen that I've been pouring flour into my bowl on the scale when it has suddenly turned off.

                                                                                  That said, I still love using scales for baking (I don't tent to measure at all when cooking) I just have to make sure I'm prepared (i.e. if the recipe might use up my bag of flour I make sure I have the next one out and open before I start weighing so that I don't take too long) and if the scale has been on for a while I wait for it to turn off before I weigh the next ingredient (turning it on again first of course).

                                                                                  1. re: ecclescake

                                                                                    Try a My Weight scale,they are wonderful. Only turns off when you haven't used it for a while.

                                                                                2. Speaking of scales and the convenience of converting to weight, I use a Salter and it calibrates by ounces up to 16oz and then goes to pounds + ounces. If I am making a conversion from cups (@ 5oz of all-purpose flour/cup) by the time I've gotten to 4 cups of flour I have to start making an annoying *second conversion* by dividing by 16oz. Most cakes work fine with under a pound of flour but I have a number of bread recipes that use up to 8 cups of flour. Grrrrr.

                                                                                  Is there a scale that calibrates solely in ounces?

                                                                                  1. Saying that baking--or cooking, for that matter--is not affected by small differences in the amounts of ingredients is a myth, and it can actually scare many people from cooking or baking. I know this because 1) I have had disasters result from new recipes both because a vague description of what it should look like was given as well as because it called for something like a "large" carrot, or three "medium" sized tomatoes, or "a potato about roughly the size of your fist" (yes, that was actually listed in one). or "a handful of blueberries" (that one's real, too); 2) I have friends who don't cook or bake because their first few tries turned out wrong, even though they followed the recipe; and 3) people use different modes of measuring volume, as has already been brought up. Yes, once you have the experience volume can be more comfortable to use, but that can take a LONG time to build. Escpecially when you have no one to actually show you how things should be done for that particular recipe.

                                                                                    As for me, the only thing I consistently measure by volume is pancakes. Why? Because I know what the batter should look like in order to get the result I want--I use Jamie Oliver's one-cup pancakes recipe (except I don't use self-raising flour; I just add some baking powder), and I really pack the flour into the mug I use. I know this because I make them very frequently, and I also know that my sister prefers the pancakes that result from a slightly thinner batter. Sometimes I make dishes where I just throw things together, like a soup or a stir-fry, but that's because I'm not looking to replicate a certain result like I would when making, say, bread or brownies. Even my friend who's part Italian, who doesn't use a recipe to make her pasta dishes, admits that sometimes her sauces don't come out as nice as she would've liked them to, and that it's often because something looked wrong with the sauce but she couldn't figure out what it needed more or less of. I'm not saying that if you know what your product is supposed to look like in the end and you get consistent--the keyword there being "consistent"--results that you should switch to using a scale, but seriously? Most people don't have the kind of experience needed to correct things by sight, smell and taste alone when they're following a recipe they've never made before, and sometimes even those they know well.

                                                                                    But then, I've always been able to pick out if an end result was drier/stickier/etc. than I like, both with my cooking and others'. I guess if you don't have that same sort of tongue you might not notice the differences in texture and flavour that can result, but I would think that pretty much everyone on these boards would, so...

                                                                                    1. Scales, like thermometers, can be good teaching devices -- but only if you use them. Weigh and probe everything you cook with for a while, and you'll get better at estimating weights and temperatures (and learn to associate them with other sensory cues -- color, aromas, sizzling, gurgling)

                                                                                      This is particularly worth considering if you're going to pay the price for top of the line versions: get the value out of the purchase by letting it help you become a better cook. Keep the thermometer on the counter and the scales in a shelf or drawer right at the prep area.

                                                                                      Learning to ballpark the weights of small-med-lg onions, potatoes, cheese, etc. makes for faster and more confident cooking. If you get a scale with an upper limit above ten pounds, you can weigh your cookware to get a sense of your upper limits and preferences, so you can take those into account when upgrading / shopping.

                                                                                      At this point in the globalization of cooking resources, it seems natural to expect serious cookbooks to include weight measurements for all ingredients as well as the usual volumes, just as they're expected to include a good index.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: ellabee

                                                                                        Adding, since OP asked for it: have and love the OXO that goes to eleven pounds. It's skinny enough to store in the shallowest drawer, or on a shelf; stored on its side like a book, it's skinnier than most cookbooks. Easy to clean, easy to read, durable, and accurate (for my needs), simple to tare/zero out and to switch from grams to lbs/oz. OXO has another version that goes to five pounds, otherwise the same and significantly cheaper.

                                                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                                                          Good to know... thanks Ellabee! I'm hoping to find a scale under the Christmas tree this year..

                                                                                      2. I bought a kitchen scale for about 6 months. It is a good kitchen scale. Very reliable, easy to read, and easy to use. Nothing wrong to make me to dislike it.

                                                                                        However, I do not find it to be as useful as the NY Times has suggested. I think one of the most important reasons is that I use volume (cups, tablespoons...etc) for my baking recipes instead of weights. As for regular cooking, I rarely need exact portions. Even if I am to follow recipes, most of them again use the volume and not weight.

                                                                                        I find that I use the kitchen scale mostly for (don't laugh) weighing my kitchen knives for comparison, and also for making custom teabags, like this:

                                                                                        http://www.everythingtea.net/etcatalo...

                                                                                        I think this speaks volume as to how useful my kitchen scale has been for me -- when I use it to weigh knives more than food ingredients.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          I use scales for baking, regular meals not at all, but would be lost without it when baking. Use it for most doughs as well, including in restaurants

                                                                                          1. re: TeRReT

                                                                                            Yeah, I have to agree that most restaurants would definitely need one since professional recipes often use weights and not volume.

                                                                                        2. I bought a good kitchen scale some years ago. After using it a few times, and noticing no difference in my food (including baking), I put it in the cupboard, never got it out again, and now the battery has run down. I guess that's my answer.

                                                                                          1. I wouldn't dream of baking without a scale.

                                                                                            1. Now that I'm more seriously getting into making pizza dough, I bought an EatSmart kitchen scale from Amazon. It does grams, lbs, ounces, and kg I believe. It has a tare function and best of all, it's cheap. I have never made such elastic, perfect pizza dough. It's *especially* helpful now that I'm using a live yeast starter. I've only had it for two weeks so perhaps I am still in the "shiny new toy" stage but I really enjoy using mine and I do feel it has improved my cooking and portion control.

                                                                                              1. I couldn't make consistent and reliable pizza dough at home until I measured by weight with a kitchen scale. However, I don't have the same problem with bread as it may be a bit more forgiving or I never make the same bread twice. I prefer measuring in grams than ounces as it is more precise and the math is easier when doing baker's percentages.

                                                                                                1. Most of my baking is by weight, not volume, so my scales are important in my kitchen. I have 3 different scales depending on the accuracy I need and the amount to be weighed. I weigh vegetables and grains most of the time too.

                                                                                                  1. I love my scale. I use it all the time when baking and it's also very convenient for weighing small animals like when we took in a litter of foster kittens last year or to measure the growth of our rats.

                                                                                                    I'm using the My Weigh KD8000 with bakers percentage. They also have an AC adapter for it which I picked up.

                                                                                                    1. I have an Oxo with pull out display that goes to 11 lbs, and a jeweler's scale that measures under a gram. I love them so much. I couldn't live without them comfortably.

                                                                                                      Not only for baking or soap/lotion making, but just measuring out lbs of vegetables or meat. Plus, I use it twice daily while feeding my sourdough starter.