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The Kitchen Cabinet

Scales Carry More Than Their Weight

August 21, 1986|MINNIE BERNARDINO | Times Staff Writer

Accuracy in cooking, particularly baking, demands the use of a kitchen scale. Although it is possible to have precise measurement with the use of liquid and dry measuring cups, weighing ingredients on a scale will cause fewer errors.

If you acquire the habit of using the scale as European cooks and professionals do, you can be assured of consistent amounts of ingredients subject to individual variations. Sugar, for example, whether it be granulated, brown or powdered, tends to pack unevenly in a measuring cup, so a scale ensures accurate amounts. Weighing flour on a scale eliminates the confusion in presifting and measuring; weighed flour will always be the same amount, whereas one cup of unsifted flour and one cup of sifted flour are two different amounts.

From Egg to Egg

The scale is also useful for eggs. Egg size varies from egg to egg, and while it may not make a difference in many recipes, some genoise or spongecakes may demand an exact amount for success.

Now that diet consciousness is in fashion, a scale belongs not only in the bathroom but in the kitchen as well. Figuring calories, sodium and other nutrient levels often requires weighing various food items, which can be measured on the kitchen scale.

Two Different Types

Scales come in two different types: wall scales, which can be hung at a convenient height, and counter-top scales, which work on the spring balance principle. Braun offers the Multipractic Kitchen Scale (model UKW 1), a round compact counter-top scale of sleek white durable plastic. The scale features a sliding adjustable dial with an easily readable clear plastic indicator. It weighs ingredients ranging from one ounce to four pounds and eight ounces (and the equivalent weight in grams up to 2 kilograms). The unit comes with a round bowl that acts as both a holding container and a well-fitted storage cover for the scale, protecting against dust when not in use.

The scale, measuring 3 3/8 x 5 5/8 inches, is a lightweight gadget that can be carried anywhere. For a simple test of scale accuracy, use the water test. One pint of water weighs one pound. Therefore, water measuring eight ounces by volume (half a pint) in a glass measuring cup should weigh eight ounces (half a pound) on your scale.

The Braun Multipractic Kitchen Scale has a suggested retail price of $14.95 and is available at most major department stores.

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