When it comes to baked goods and other recipes, weighing ingredients is a useful practice.
Credit: Randy Mayor

In recent issues, you may have noticed a small change in our recipe style. We’ve started calling for flours by weight, followed by an approximate cup measure. A kitchen scale is a smart tool to ensure you measure accurately and achieve the same great results we enjoy in our Test Kitchens.

Every so often, we field questions from readers who prepare one of our baking recipes and their results don’t match ours. The culprit is often the flour. For years we’ve called to lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup and level it with a knife before adding it to a recipe. But people often don’t spoon the flour lightly or they use the measuring cup to scoop it, which can result in adding too much flour. With light baking, there is even less margin for error than with conventional baking, and even a couple of tablespoons too much flour may yield a dry cookie or cake. This can be prevented by using a scale to measure accurately.

A couple of years ago, Food Editor Ann Taylor Pittman sang the praises of kitchen scales so convincingly, I bought one that day. I’m not a finicky or precise cook, but I do love to bake, and the idea of simply pouring flour into a mixing bowl set on a kit­chen scale was appealing. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed consistently good results. And I often use my scale for other kitchen tasks, from measuring dry pasta to weighing meat, which helps manage portions. I guess you could say my kitchen scale has made me a better cook, and a more healthful eater.