Why you need a kitchen scale

December 6, 2018

Hearty Whole Wheat Walnut Bread / JillHough.com

I’m not a gadget-aholic. Maybe I would be if I had more room in my kitchen—I’m not sure. But as it is, something has to be truly special and important and worthwhile for me to be willing to devote the space.

One such thing is a kitchen scale (which I use to make this Hearty Whole Wheat Walnut Bread that I eat almost every day).

Why? Two reasons.

With a kitchen scale, measuring is more accurate.

I know accuracy isn’t something that thrills the rest of the world as much as it thrills a recipe developer like me. But do you want your homemade breads to be springy, your cakes to be light, and your cookies to be tender? Then, my friend, you want to be accurate.

See, many ingredients can vary in volume depending on how you measure them. Flour. Powdered sugar. Anything chopped, diced, shredded, or grated, depending on how fine or coarse you chop, dice, shred, or grate. And anything “packed” into the measuring cup—from brown sugar to spinach leaves. To name just a few.

Flour is a good example, and it’s something that most cooks use pretty regularly. Depending on how you fill your measuring cup, and even what kind of measuring cup you use, your “cup” can vary by about 2 tablespoons.

On the other hand, 120 grams of flour is 120 grams of flour every time.

(That’s the weight of a cup of all-purpose flour using the volume measurement method most pros recommend—stir the flour to lighten it, spoon it gently into a measuring cup, then level it off with a straight edge, like the back of a knife.)

The bottom line is if you want your recipes to turn out right—as the recipe developer intended and the same way every time—it pays to be accurate. A kitchen scale helps you do that, because weight measurements are more consistently accurate than volume measurements.

Hearty Whole Wheat Walnut Bread / JillHough.com

With a kitchen scale, measuring is fast.

If you’re like me, you enjoy delicious food and are happy to take the time to make it. But the less time it takes, the better, right? And a kitchen scale can make things fast.

For example, with a kitchen scale, if I need 4 cups of flour, I don’t have to carefully stir, spoon, and level four times. I just have to put my bowl on a scale and pour the flour in until it measures 480 grams. Once.

Perhaps even better, if I’m making something where several ingredients are combined in the same bowl, once I’ve weighed out my first ingredient, I can hit a button on the scale and return the count to zero. Then I can add my second ingredient, weighing it out perfectly. Then I can hit zero and add the next. And the next. All into the same bowl, with no measuring cups in various sizes to deal with, no spooning and leveling, no fuss, no muss!

This is a huge time saver for recipes I make regularly. Like granola, Maple Oat Pecan Scones, and Hearty Whole Wheat Walnut Bread. I write the total weight for each ingredient in the margin of the recipe, making each recipe super-fast to throw together.

And if you have a kitchen scale, you can similarly make your favorite recipes super-fast, too.

What kind of scale?

I recommend a digital scale, for accuracy—which you know I love and hopefully you now love, too—and one that measures in both ounces and grams. To quickly measure successive ingredients into the same vessel, you need a “tare” or “zero” button. And it’s useful if the scale has a decent weight capacity, maybe 10 pounds or more.

Here’s the scale that I currently use, and I love it. It has all of the above, plus the display part can move away from the scale part, which is handy if I’m measuring something in a baking pan, say, that would otherwise block my view of the display. It also has a meter that shows how close I’m getting to the scale’s total capacity—which can be handy if I’m measuring a lot of things or a particularly large batch of something.

Put it on your Christmas list. And if Santa doesn’t bring it, buy it for yourself. Then treat yourself to some homemade bread. You’ve been good, right?

Here’s to a delicious holiday season.

Hearty Whole Wheat Walnut Bread / JillHough.com


One thought on “Why you need a kitchen scale

  1. Rosemary Mark

    I use my digital scale ALL the time, esp for breads! I definitely will try your bread with all the flax meal, I’ve never used that amount and it sounds scrumptious.
    Tip — I keep a stash of hotel style shower caps for covering the bread bowl/basket (bought way more than I need on Amazon – can give you some!)

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