One of the reasons I chose a degree in baking and pastry arts rather than a culinary degree — besides the cake, obviously — is that I enjoy the exacting science of weighing sugar and flour, and then watching as a few simple ingredients become a cake or cookies. Baking, to me, is equal parts science and magic.
But maybe you’re not quite as obsessed with home baking as I am and so you’ve eschewed the advice that every kitchen should have a scale. Digital scales can actually make you a better baker instantly, but did you know that they can also help you brew a better cup of coffee or make a juicier burger?
Here’s why bakers are so snobby about owning a digital scale and why you should be too.
1. Brew better coffee every morning.
No, weighing your coffee doesn’t make you a coffee snob, it makes you a realist — you know how challenging it can be to make an excellent cup of coffee when you’re groggy first thing in the morning. Weighing out your beans is the single most effective way to get a consistent cuppa to start your day, every day, whether you’re making a single cup of pour over or a pot for a whole crowd.
2. Make pancakes, waffles, and muffins with less mess.
I’ll preach the better-cake-with-a-scale gospel later, but right now I’m here to tell you that measuring your pancake (or waffle or biscuit) ingredients right into the mixing bowl is about to eliminate 27 (or, like, five) dishes from your morning routine. Fewer dishes should be your number-one reason to get a scale right now.
3. Measure lumpy, nutty, wonky ingredients with ease.
Confession: I never weigh produce at the grocery store. If I need snap peas for a recipe, I grab a few handfuls and worry about measuring them later. Ditto for nuts, dried beans, and whole grains. Nuts are almost never the same size twice, and a cup of cashews is both inconsistent and annoying to measure, but four ounces of cashews is exactly the same by weight every single time. Weighing wonky-shaped ingredients will make those recipes better each time you make them — no matter the shape of the bulk item in question.
For reference at the store: Here’s What 1 Pound of Vegetables Looks Like
4. Juicer burgers for everyone.
For perfectly portioned burgers, sensationally seasoned pork chops, and better beef stews, a digital scale is your BFF. Professional kitchens make their burger patties by weighing out the ground beef for each burger before shaping, which ensures that every diner gets the same quarter-pounder. This is especially helpful for cooking a bunch of burgers at once and ensuring that each burger is juicy. Ditto on brines for pork chops and beef for stew.
5. Okay, okay, perfect cakes.
Do you ever wonder how bakeries get perfectly even cake layers and frosting? They are using digital scales at every step of the way! Yes, the batter ingredients are weighed out for better cake, but the batter is also weighed into the pan to make sure every layer is the same, and the frosting for each layer is weighed out to make each layer consistent, even, and perfect.
My favorite scale is also Alton Brown’s: Alton Brown’s Favorite Food Scale Is on Sale Right Now
How do you use a scale in the kitchen?