A Baking Tip: How to Weigh Ingredients (& Why You Should)

When it comes to cooking, using a “pinch” of this or a “dash” of that is not only acceptable, it’s actually admired – kind of like the calling card of a confident and experienced cook.

In baking, however, it’s all about precision. While there is always some room for error – and improvisation – attention to detail is key. This can be off-putting to many, who (wrongly) assume that they “can’t bake”.

But if you learn what I call “the basics”, then you can bake almost any recipe you desire. And you’ll quickly start to appreciate the consistency of the results you get.

And one of the most important “basics” is  the proper measuring of ingredients.

Many years ago I learned how to weigh my ingredients when baking, versus using measuring cups. It was a game-changer for me and I’ve never looked back.

weighing ingredients using a kitchen scale

Weighing ingredients saves time, utensils and clean-up. It is also more precise and consistent – particularly important when baking. In time you’ll automatically know that 1 cup of sugar = 200 grams or 1 cup of cake flour (before and after you sift it)  = 100 grams – each and every time. Although I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed baking, this technique has made the process even more pleasurable.

A growing number of books and web sites now include both types of measurements, but for the most part you’ll find that you need to do the conversions yourself. This is easy to do. Turn on your scale, place your bowl on it and reset it to zero. Measure your ingredient and pour it into the bowl;  note the weight (in grams or ounces) for future reference.

To add more ingredients, simply keep “zero-ing” out and making note of each new measurement.

So what kind of scale do you need?

weighing ingredients using a kitchen scale

Like every other kitchen gadget, scales come in a wide range of price points and options. The two most important features for me are a digital display and measurements in both ounce and grams. I have this scale and love it – in addition to the aforementioned functions it has a backlight and a pull-out display (both great if you’re using a large bowl that casts a shadow or covers the scale completely).  It cleans up easily and is moderately priced too.

Does baking intimidate you? What would you like to learn? Share it here!