It sits, unassuming,
on my kitchen counter-top.
Its stainless steel gleaming,
as I mix and bake and chop.
This recipe: perfection, indeed,
with delight my guests will wail.
I place the bowl and tare and read.
Foolproof measuring from my kitchen scale.
Have you ever loved a kitchen appliance so much that you needed to write a poem to celebrate its greatness? No? Well, all fun aside, we here at Daily Mom think that a kitchen scale is one small appliance that you should not be without in your kitchen. In fact, it deserves a prominent place on your counter-top for every day use. (You can put that KitchenAid Stand Mixer away instead — you know you don’t use THAT every day.)
Using a Kitchen Scale
Using a kitchen scale is easy. Most scales have these 3 features:
- Power Button (on/off)
- Tare or Zero Button (may be the same as the power button)
- Unit toggle (this may be on top of or underneath the scale and allows you to toggle between grams/kilograms and ounces/pounds)
To use a kitchen scale, you will usually place the food to weigh into or onto a receptacle like a bowl or plate. (Raw, whole produce like carrots or potatoes can be weighed directly on the scale.) Let’s pretend we want to make a cake, and we need to measure the flour…
- First, turn on your scale and place your mixing bowl on top (it can be empty or contain other ingredients already).
- Next, tare or zero out the scale. This means that the scale which read 400g or so with your bowl on it will now read zero on the display.
- Then, determine how much weight of flour is needed for the recipe. For example, usually flour is listed on the package as 28g-30g per quarter cup. So, if you need 2 cups, just multiply by 8 (224g-240g). Write this number on your recipe so that you don’t have to calculate it again.
- Finally, scoop the right amount of flour into your mixing bowl. You can use a large kitchen spoon or other scooping device of your choice. Watch the display as the numbers jump up with each spoonful addition. Slow down when you get near your target weight so that you don’t go over! Stop when you’ve reached your target number (within a few grams or an eighth of an ounce on either side should be good enough).
Need to add the sugar now? Simply tare the scale again, and measure in the appropriate weight of sugar (using a bit more multiplication).
Here are four reasons your kitchen needs a kitchen scale, in reverse order of fabulous-ness.
4. Perfect Quantity
Have you ever poured too much dressing on your salad, or accidentally “eyeballed” too much oil into your frying pan? Instead, use your kitchen scale to measure perfectly appropriate amounts.
3. Dividing Amounts
If you have more than one child, using your kitchen scale makes dividing treats easy. Is everyone eating ice cream? There will be no more screams of “he got more” or “her scoop is bigger than mine” when they know it was the same weight that was put into the bowls.
Dividing is also perfect for bulk cooking or freezer meal operations. Simply weigh the food you want divided, use a little arithmetic and perfectly portion out the recipe for future use.
2. Accurate Measurements
Some ingredients are not easy to measure with volume. For example, flour is compressible, so when you measure “1 cup” sometimes there is too much or too little, depending on the conditions in the flour container before scooping. When you start measuring by weight, the accuracy and precision of your measurements increase exponentially.
Another great use is for those “sticky” ingredients like peanut butter or shortening. Sure, you measured in that half-cup measuring cup, but that’s probably not one-half of a cup that made it into your recipe with all that’s left sticking to the sides of the cup. (This situation can also be remedied with a plunger style measuring cup like the OXO Good Grips Measuring Cup for Sticky Stuff.)
1. Less Dishes
The best reason to use a kitchen scale is that it reduces the number of dishes used! If you are making a typical peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe, you would normally need a measuring cup for the peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, flour, and chocolate chips. Using your kitchen scale and measuring directly into your mixing bowl saves up to 5 measuring cups! That’s five dishes you don’t have to wash or find room for in your dishwasher. We call that a kitchen success!
Need some kitchen scale recommendations?
Need some more tips for kitchen goods? Check out Kitchen Appliances for Busy Families.
Photo Credit: Stefani and her well-loved and battle-hardened kitchen scale