Most of you know that I’m a kitchen gadget hater. I’m not talking about paring knives or a good pastry wheel – I’m talking about really useless crap that magazines try to convince you that you have to have.
After talking to some friends and readers, I’ve decided I’m going to be doing some gadget hate/love posts as a new feature for 2011. Think of it as my own little campaign to keep people from buying stuff that only serves to clutter up their kitchens (and, um, because I like to rant). I’ll also be highlighting stuff that I actually use, and find really helpful to have around a kitchen.
So I’m starting with an easy one – but it’s so basic and fundamental that I don’t care if it sounds trite. If there is one baking gadget you’re going to put on your list I absolutely recommend buying a scale. Scaling ingredients quickly, cleanly, and precisely is the hallmark of a good baker, and you’ll be amazed by how much more consistently your baked goods turn out when you weigh your ingredients. Some really tricky recipes – like macarons – can’t be made without scaling the ingredients (in grams, no less). It takes a little bit of practice to learn how to quickly convert recipes using volume measurement into weighed measurements, but once you get the hang of it it’s very quick and easy (and you can do most of the math in your head).
I use an Escali Digital Primo scale. I like it because it’s precise, dependable, doesn’t take up a ton of space in my kitchen, uses regular AAA batteries (not watch batteries), and easily changes between grams, pounds, and ounces. And unlike some scales, which represent ounces in fractions (for instance, it will read 4 ½ ounces, or 4 ⅛ ounces), the Escali uses decimal points (so, 4 ½ ounces reads 4.5 ounces). I find using decimal points much easier when converting recipes between pan sizes, and when doing math in my head. It weights up to 11 pounds, which is more than enough for most everyday baking needs. And the price ranges between $25-$30 at most stores, making it a choice anyone can afford.
No, it’s really not a fancy scale, but it’s affordable and it works, and that’s why it’s in my kitchen.
How many of you use kitchen scales? Do you love them? Hate them?