Among the most hopeful signs in cookbook publishing is Artisan's agreeing to lead all recipes in the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook, due out next fall, with metric weights (they will include volume measurements second). It's a baking book after all, and no other culinary craft is more dependent on accuracy of measurement than baking. Another hopeful sign was seeing something similar in The New York Times not too long ago, a recipe for chocolate ganache bars that also lead with grams, not cups or ounces. Scribner published my book Ratio, which which really only works if you have a scale.
So when I was hanging out with Todd and Diane talking about great kitchen tools and stupid kitchen tools, I of course had to address the scale. I have four of them at home, two basic kinds, a scale of measuring large quantities and a scale for measuring small quantities. Here's the one I use most for all-purpose measuring, a MyWeigh KD8000; and here's a nifty little scale, which I sell over at opensky, for recipes in the Bouchon book that ask for, say, 5.5 grams of baking powder. Regardless of brand, only buy digital scales.
It's not only that scales offer a more accurate and consistent form of measuring, they make the cooking easier and faster. You just pour the ingredients into the same bowl, zeroing it out each time. The KD8000 even has a percentage button so I can measure that way, pour in the flour, and then hit the percent button which makes the flour equal to 100% and I can pour in 60% water for bread. You don't even need quantities if you have a baker's percentage.
Can't be said enough: scales are one of the most important tools in the kitchen. If you watch the video, you can hear the voice of reason herself.
If you liked this post on Had Something to Say: Kitchen Tools, check out these other links:
- My post on baking a multigrain bread.
- Culinate's Kelly Stewart shares her article on the science of baking.
- Learn about the history of scales.
- Bake something different, try making orange vanilla caneles.
© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved