7:57 AM

The Weight of it All

Posted by Nicole |

Sorry for our lack of posts for a week or so... Between Heather and I our houses have been in remodel disorder and there have been visitors galore!
But, we have not stopped cooking and feeding our families so I wanted to share a couple thoughts with you today about something I have been using a lot lately - a scale.
I have always heard that chefs use scales in the kitchen and that their recipes tend to be in ounces/grams because the results are more reliable. However, none of my cookbooks are written this way and even my beloved Food &Wine magazine must convert many of their chef recipes to cups/tbsp. So why did I go buy a cute little digital scale?
When I first made my sourdough starter, I found a lot of recipes using cups, however in the instruction for feeding many stated the difference in the weight between flour and water. Therefore if you are feeding your starter the same amount of each, you would use less water than flour to account for this difference. Then I purchased my Camoldoli starter and began looking for information on how to use this unique sourdough. The only places I found it were some very involved pizza making sites. And by involved I mean scientific analysis of the water/flour/starter ratios and hydration percentages and fermentation scrutiny like I had never encountered before. And they all used weights to convey recipes (which are not really recipes but percentages). Anyway, I figured the only way to use any of the information I found online in a reliable manner would be to buy a scale. I had tried to convert the weights with an online converter, however the ingredients are hard to measure objectively and the results weren't great.
So off to the stores I went. I searched high and low, looking for a small, hopefully easy to use, reasonably priced scale that would work for bread making. I finally settled on this one from target (although mine is grey) and love it! It is small and fits perfectly in my small kitchen, is very easy to use and read. It can weigh up to 6 pounds which is plenty so far for my needs. And it has made a big difference in my baking. Using a recipe in weights is easier to do than measuring with cups and spoons and while it still takes a little experience to know if the dough looks wet enough, I feel like by measuring weights I am more confident in a recipe.
And I find I measure more than just flour and water for breads. I measure a half pound of asparagus for soup, or 2 pounds of potatoes for a salad, 12 ounces of cheese etc... I really love having the convenience of a scale to pull out and make what used to be a guess ("that looks about right") a little more accurate. Not everything needs to be measured, but some ingredients are best closest to what the author of a recipe intended.
Now I need to expand my cookbook collection to include some that measure in ounces or grams while being healthy and delicious!
Do any of you use a scale?


Hanna said...

I have been meaning to buy one. But it's one more thing in my tiiiiny kitchen

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