On the importance of weighing
I have long been a proponent of the Kitchen Scale Manifesto. I am a firm believer in weighing whatever can be weighed: it’s the best way to ensure your recipes come out consistently every time, especially with ingredients like flour, whose volume can vary enormously depending on how compacted they are. Not to mention that weighing is often easier, since you can just put a bowl on your scale, add the first ingredient, tare, add the second ingredient, and so on. And in avant-garde recipes, the amount of a given hydrocolloid to use is often specified as a percentage of the weight of the other ingredients, making an accurate, precise scale a necessary piece of equipment.
Unfortunately, many traditional cookbooks don’t provide weights in their recipes, which means that some trial and error can be involved. This was the case with the sponge toffee I made recently. The recipe comes from Peter Greweling’s Chocolates and Confections at Home ; in it, he calls for 2 tablespoons or 1/2 ounce of baking soda. The first time I tried the recipe (working from a weight-free transcription) I measured it out by volume. When I added it to the hot syrup, this happened:
After I cleaned up the mess, I tried again, using the weights given in the book itself, even though ounces are much less precise than grams. Lo and behold, when I scaled out 1 tablespoon of baking soda, it was already more than half an ounce! I removed a little of it, to bring it to the weight called for, then proceeded with the recipe, with much greater success this time.
How often do you use a scale in your kitchen?