Girly Thoughts

July 10, 2008

kitchen scale, anyone?

Filed under: cooking,fat,Science — judgesnineteen @ 2:16 am

So besides being a strong believer in human rights, I’m a cooking enthusiast, of the Alton Brown/ variety.  Both of these recommend using a scale to measure ingredients instead of measuring cups.  This combined with the fact that European recipes are often given in weight ( makes metric to US no problem; it’s so cool it can also do weight to volume, but you know the accuracy of that is just not perfect) and that I HATE digging in the flour or sugar bag trying to fill a cup measure and that pouring till I get the right weight, taring, and repeating with the next ingredient all in one bowl sound super easy, have convinced me to invest in one.  Digital, to be precise (actually, accurate, but who’s counting). 

The problem is, there are a lot of choices out there and I have some idea of what matters but the descriptions don’t always explain everything.  So if anyone out there happens to have a digital kitchen scale, let me know how it works, which things you like or don’t like about it.  For instance, does it really work when they measure liquid in volume units?  I assume they assume that the liquid is water-based and calculate the volume based on the density of water, but that seems likely to be really inaccurate.  But I can’t figure out how else they’d do it without having a catalogue of liquids and densities, which they don’t seem to (and which I don’t care to mess with).  Following Alton Brown’s advice, I plan to measure liquids in medicine droppers and turkey basters as soon as I find graduated ones. 

I really want MyWeigh’s Uber Deluxe 6000, mostly because I can’t believe it’s really called that.  It looks like a fantastic scale though, although it has some extra stuff that I don’t need (I’m ok with actually touching buttons) and costs too much (I wouldn’t pay more than $60 for a scale, and the only reason that figure isn’t $50 is that Alton Brown recommends a $60 Salter one in his book Gear for Your Kitchen).  But still…Uber Deluxe 6000, guys!

Anyway, if I’ve convinced you to get one, here’s a page on why and how to buy.  But watch out, especially if you’re struggling with/recovering from an eating disorder; scales can be used for dieting and the people selling them know that, talk about it, and try to convince you how great it would be to have a pocket-sized dieting scale so you could check the serving size and caloric content of everything you eat no matter where you are.  If that sounds like a great idea to you, I recommend Shapely Prose as an antidote.



  1. Commenting to myself so I can keep things straight: I think I’m going to go for a MyWeigh, because they have:
    1. a 30 year warranty – reviews (of other brands) show that lots of people are happy and then somebody got a dud, so this could come in handy
    2. a way to turn off the automatic shut-off so it doesn’t turn off while you want it on – a problem for some brands
    3. AA batteries and a plug, making it easy to replace batteries and easy for me to still use it when my batteries go dead (I can just see myself having to run to CVS mid-dough)

    The downside is that they’re not so pretty. And this is destined to live on my countertop. Darn. But to get a pretty one you have to spring for the Uber Deluxe 6000 (damn you, UD6000!).

    It doesn’t have this suspicious Aquatronic thing, but I’m not a fan of that since it’s never explained clearly and I doubt it works very well, and after all, you can just measure in metric and then mL and grams are the same for water. I’m not going to pay to have a machine tell me that.

    Comment by judgesnineteen — July 10, 2008 @ 4:38 am | Reply

  2. Hello! I came over here from Feministing, and just happened to see this post… I’m a chef with some background in pastry, and this past winter I finally got myself a digital scale to use at home. I rely a lot on Cook’s Illustrated, and they recommended the Soehnle 65055. I ordered from Amazon, but since they were out of stock at the time, it took about 5 weeks for it to come. It looks like it’s now in stock, for $34.95, with free shipping. I very highly recommend it. It has easy buttons for taring and US-metric conversion, and auto-off. When you turn it back on, it has the saved info already. Which is good for me, because I have very bad karma when it comes to getting phone calls, etc, when I’m baking. I’m not totally sure about the liquid measurement issues, mostly because in pastry absolutely everything is done by weight.

    One thing I can’t say for sure is the reliability on the max end, which is supposed to be up to a little over 9lbs. At the lower end, it’s very accurate. I just haven’t made anything in a large enough batch to be able to tell.

    I hesitated in buying it for a long time because of the glass. I was terrified that it would break under the slightest pressure. It’s pretty, and I like pretty, but not in exchange for practicality. I have been very impressed with its durability, plus, pretty! 🙂 Absolutely worth every penny (and I probably would have been happy if it were twice that). Let me know if you have any other questions about it!

    P.S. I love Alton Brown, too! Sadly, my budget no longer allows for the cable package with the Food Network included.

    Comment by RedPersephone — July 14, 2008 @ 4:59 am | Reply

  3. Thanks RedPersephone! I’ve pretty much settled on the My Weigh 7001DX, because it has a high max load (not that I need that, but I figured that means less chance I’ll accidentally overload it), lots of special features to avoid the problems that people come across with scales, and it costs less than the scales I was originally considering (about the same as yours), despite being better than them in those ways. I think what makes it less expensive is that it’s plastic, and I did kind of get excited about all the really pretty scales I saw, but it’s not too bad looking. But now that you bring up that one, I’ll have to reconsider, because it is sooo pretty. I heard that it didn’t let you switch from metric to US while you were weighing though, is that right? It’s probably not a big deal, I’d actually like to wean myself off of US altogether for cooking, but that was the complaint I saw.

    I’d like to say I’m not usually this anal about something that will work just fine no matter which model I get, but actually this is pretty much how I am ;).

    By the way, I think Alton Brown is coming out with a Good Eats book sometime soon, so maybe you can get your fix without the cable.

    Comment by judgesnineteen — July 14, 2008 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

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