If you caught Michael Ruhlman talking about his new book Ratio on Good Food this past week, you know that baking is all about weight ratios. Increase the sugar by more than a few grams without compensating the other ingredients and it can affect your end product, sometimes for the better...sometimes for the worse. If you use a scale, you know that you're spot on.
Weights have been standard in European cookbooks for years, and American cookbooks are finally starting to catch on. Once you're in the habit, we actually think it's easier and faster to weigh out our ingredients. We can simply scoop and weigh without needing to carefully level off measuring cups or question whether we've already added that third cup of flour.
There are lots and lots of scales out there and most are just fine for home-baking purposes. Look for ones that have buttons for on/off/tare and a way to toggle between grams and ounces. It's also good to make sure the bed of the scale will accommodate a large mixing bowl.
We've been happy with our basic $20 scale from Polder for several years now and would definitely recommend it. Cook's Illustrated also recently gave top points to Oxo's food scale.
Do you use a scale for baking?
Related: Five Essential Baking Tools: Pans
(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)