A myth in the chef profession is that ‘real chefs don’t measure’. The true representation is the opposite, as they weigh out almost everything they use.
If they no longer weigh, it is likely to be because they have many years of experience so feel extremely confident in the amounts they are putting in.
One chef has proclaimed, “You can make bad food taste better with more butter or salt, but it is better to just make great food with the right amount of ingredients.”
Weighing is one of the simplest tips for reducing calories and eating healthy. Here is what you need to know.
Drgourmet.com states: “If you are going to purchase only one piece of equipment for your kitchen, make it a scale.”
Using a scale is the only way to avoid discrepancies in your cooking. It may seem time-consuming at first, but the end result is fewer dirty dishes, less mess, a better yield and more consistent results.
Claire Saffitz, who previously worked for Bon Appétit, lists a scale as an essential item, that she could not work without.
Why Should You Weigh Your Ingredients?
To Cook Better Food
There's a reason that recipes have exact weights for their ingredients. When creating recipes, recipe developers have likely tried a number of different variations and this is their ideal result, so it's best to follow it.
Not following the recommended quantities can negatively impact your final product. Using too much flour can result in tough, hard and dry cookies, or cakes that aren't worth eating. Or by adding too much sugar, your cookies can turn into brittle and your cake could even collapse because it has no structural integrity!
Using jugs invites the capacity for human error, with lines which you have to be highly precise to hit. Not to mention that every household has a different cup or jug or even spoon that holds different quantities.
A weighing scale has a bright, clear reading on a digital display so the error risk is removed.
Weight vs Volume
There are certain items that just aren't convenient to measure by volume. A scale delivers a level of accuracy that using a measuring cups cannot offer.
Flour, sugar and other food stuff can be compacted to squeeze more into a space when filling a cup. So, despite using the same size of cup, you could actually use more than the recipe intends.
However, one gram of flour will always be one gram of flour, so weight is a much more accurate measurement.
Weighing scales enable you to perfectly portion out your recipes, whether that's for counting calories or for creating identical results.
If, for example, you're creating a multi-tiered cake, you can accurately split your mixture between all your layers to ensure that they are equal and uniform when put together for the final cake. It's so much more seamless and accurate than guesstimating the amounts for each layer.
If you want people to keep coming back to your restaurant, bakery, cake shop then it's no use having stock that tastes different every time.
Using precise measurements offers a consistency that using manual weighing tools just can't promise. If you want your customers to know that their favourite brownies are going to taste the same every time they come to purchase them, then choose a scale.
Less to Clean
Weighing is faster, easier, and more fun with scales, and results in less to clean up. By using a scale to weigh everything, you're not using a number of different measuring tools. Put away that teaspoon, tablespoon, cup and measuring jug. All you need is one tool that can be easily wiped down and put away after use.
Also, by accurately weighing your ingredients, you can ensure food waste is less, as you have precisely the amount of ingredients you need.
How to use your scale
Many cooks - particularly if you are the chef in your own home - own a weighing scale but do not know how they should be used.
To weigh, start by placing your measuring bowl onto the scale and press ‘Tare’. This will remove the weight of the bowl from the reading. Then weigh out your ingredients in this bowl.
Be wary when using a scale which has a millilitre function - as this assumes all liquids are the same density, which is not the case.
Scales to use
For weighing ingredients, the B-450 is ideal. It has a 3kg or 5kg capacity, 0.1g or 1g accuracy and is portable. The scale has IP67 rating, so it can be easily cleaned to keep it hygienic.
Alternatively, the B-100 is a popular choice for kitchens and bakeries. It features a removable stainless steel platter, is unit switchable and has a large, bright display. Plus it's 100% waterproof so there's no need to worry about cross-contamination.
The Tanita KD-200 has a choice of capacities and graduations, and a long battery life.