Muddy’s Journal

ask a baker: weighing the pros & cons...

Here is an interesting question for you this week: "Do you use a scale to measure everything at Muddy's Bake Shop? Should I get a scale for my home kitchen?"

No, we do not use a scale for EVERYTHING in the kitchen here at Muddy's Bake Shop. But we do use it for ALMOST everything, and I wish we could use it for even more! Oh, how I love our digital scales! I loved them so much that the Christmas after I began working here at Muddy's, I put a digital scale at the top of my list. And I received one, and I use it alllllll the time in my home kitchen. 

Why are scales so wonderful? Well, one benefit that we run into more in a professional kitchen than you will at home is that it is much, much easier to consistently measure out 3200 grams of sugar than it is to measure out 16 cups! Though if you are anything like me, you have probably lost count of your cups of flour at home after just three -- or was it four?! Also with something like our rich, decadent Coconut Cloud Pie--Muddy's take on a coconut cream pie, topped with loads of whipped cream and toasted coconut--there is nothing quite like a scale to ensure that the correct amount of coconut goes into each and every pie. Coconut is one of those ingredients that is difficult to measure consistently by volume--as it can be packed very tightly or very loosely--so weighing it results in a far more consistent product.

 

An even more important factor in favor of a scale is that a gram is a gram, an ounce is an ounce, and a pound is a pound. But is a tablespoon always a tablespoon? A half cup, a half cup? Don't bet your life on it. If you have ever had more than one set (made by a different manufacturer) of measuring spoons or measuring cups in your house, you may have discovered this for yourself already. The fact is, there is no system in place regulating the size of measuring spoons or measuring cups! There are basic rules, and they will get you pretty close to what you are going for, but especially if you start mixing different sets of cups and spoons, you are liable to run into issues.


 

 

 

 

We all know three teaspoons equals a tablespoon, right? And four tablespoons equal a 1/4 cup. A 1/4 cup measuring cup made by Rubbermaid (for example), however, may very well hold six tablespoons when measured out with your Pampered Chef tablespoon. Once--many moons ago--upon realizing the drastic size difference between our two sets of measuring spoons at the bakery, we simply had to throw one away. The 1/2 teaspoon of one set would hold three 1/4 teaspoons of the other!

 

 

 

All that being said, we Muddy's bakers do occasionally use our teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups to measure our ingredients. Sometimes, even in our large kitchen, we need a tiny amount of an ingredient. A 1/4 teaspoon of ginger, for instance, weighs virtually nothing! We find that sticking to one manufacturer of measuring implements (and testing a recipe to ensure that it will work with that particular measurement) reinforces the trustworthiness of measuring in volume when it is necessary here in the Muddy's kitchen.

 

 

 

So would I recommend that you throw out your measuring cups and spoons? Certainly not. If you are sticking to a particular set, chances are your ratios are correct (or close enough) for your purposes. If you have consistent problems with acidic tasting cookies or cakes not rising and you have tried EVERYTHING, however, you may want to try a different measuring spoon or even a scale! If you're like me and love a reliable baked good AND fewer dishes to clean, you may just fall in love with your kitchen scale too!

 

 

 

Happy measuring!