DIGITAL KITCHEN SCALE
Purchasing a quality scale always seemed like an expense I could live without. Now it ranks as one of my most valued kitchen tools. Since the price range on these varies, I assume they do not all have the same, reliable features. As pictured here, I can switch from kg to lb, and from ml to fl. oz.
A feature of my scale is called "add & weigh 'zero' function - allows for measurement of multiple ingredients in the same bowl". This is indeed great. I turn it on and it reads zero, then I place the bowl I am using for dry ingredients on the scale (and it will weigh whatever), then I can press a button to reset the scale to zero. I can add the flour (let's say 10 ounces), then reset to zero, then add the sugar (e.g. 3.5 ounces) and so on.
One may have to experience this to love it. Let's say a cake requires 2 1/4 cups flour. If I am using measuring scoops and the dip-and-sweep method, I will either need to dirty the 1 cup measure and the 1/4 cup measure (or use the 1/4 cup measure x 5). So much easier to place the bowl on the scale, and keep adding the flour to 11.25 ounces. Some dry ingredients can be "messy", for example icing sugar - again, tidier measuring by weight.
In baking especially, measuring by weight is de rigeur in professional / commercial kitchens. While European home cooks have also used this approach, it has been slower to catch on in North America. Mind you, it is worth noting that few cookbooks list ingredients by volume and weight. Ok... so we have the Internet, we can look this up, but... even the briefest research reveals that not all websites agree on the volume to weight equivalencies of various ingredients.
As has already become apparent in this blog / site, I frequently use recipes from America's Test Kitchen (ATK) and they always list both. Serious Eats lists equivalencies that correspond exactly to the ATK conversions. In fact, their article "The Best and Most Accurate Way to Measure Wet and Dry Ingredients for Baking" is worth a read - for example, demonstrating two different weights linked to how the baker does the dip-and-sweep.
Tip: When I use the "add & weigh zero function" prepping dry ingredients, maybe even the day before - I always add a wee note to the bowl to remind me of all that was added to that/each bowl.