Culinary Arts

How to Use a Digital Kitchen Scale: Benefits to Cooking and Baking With a Digital Scale

Written by MasterClass

Jun 14, 2019 • 3 min read

Whether you cook dinner every night or occasionally bake for fun, every home chef can benefit from having a digital kitchen scale. Not only does it make your measurements more precise, but it also cuts down on prep and cleanup time. Learn more about how to use a digital scale and how it can help you in the kitchen.

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What Is a Digital Scale?

A digital scale is a measuring device that reads and displays the weight of an object. Unlike an analog balance scale, a digital scale is a high-quality scale that gives a more correct weight reading. A chef uses a digital kitchen scale, also called a digital gram scale, to measure the weight or mass of an ingredient, expressed in pounds, grams, fluid ounces, or milliliters. Generally, digital kitchen scales are small, lightweight, and take up very little space on a kitchen counter. Some scales, like pocket digital scales, are small enough to use on the go.

How a Digital Scale Works

A digital scale works best on a flat surface. When an object is placed on a digital scale, its weight causes its internal strain gauge to deform. The scale converts that amount of deformation to an electrical signal, runs the signal through a digital converter, and shows the weight on the scale’s display.

6 Reasons to Use a Digital Scale in the Kitchen

A digital kitchen scale can improve your cooking and baking in the following ways:

  1. Maintain consistency and accuracy: Digital scales offer precise ingredient measurements. Precision is especially important for baking, which relies heavily on chemical reactions that require exact measurements of every ingredient in order to properly create the dish.
  2. Convert measurements: If a recipe calls for 100 grams of flour but you’re not familiar with the metric system, a digital scale can easily do the conversion math for you.
  3. Exercise portion control: Many people measure their portions before they eat as part of a healthy lifestyle. A digital scale makes it easy to measure and portion out food according to serving sizes.
  4. Measure nutritional information: In addition to weight, certain, more advanced digital kitchen scales also have the ability to display nutritional data, including the number of calories, sodium, protein, fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol, and/or fiber in a food.
  5. Mix beverages: From coffee to cocktails, a digital scale helps get the proportions of your drink just right. Mixing complex drinks requires a steady hand, a perfect pour, and bar equipment like a shot glass or jigger. Rather than estimating liquid ingredients, a digital scale ensures you’ll have the exact right proportions of each drink component so it will taste just right.
  6. Use fewer dishes. One of the most efficient benefits of using a digital scale is that you can measure all of your dry ingredients into one bowl. Just reset the scale back to 0.00 with every new ingredient and measure accordingly. Cleanup will go more quickly, as you won’t have to wash as many bowls, measuring cups, and measuring spoons.

Why You Should Ditch Your Measuring Cups for a Digital Scale

For the most accurate results, trade your measuring cups for a digital scale. It’s the most reliable and precise way to ensure your measurements are exactly as you need them. Digital scales accurately measure both wet and dry ingredients. While liquid ingredients measure at a consistent volume no matter what, dry ingredients do not; they’re easily compressible, meaning their volume can change depending on factors like how compact they are inside the measuring cup or even the humidity in the area. Thus, a digital scale ensures you get an accurate reading for both types of ingredients without the fuss of both dry measuring cups and liquid measuring cups.

5 Tips for Calibrating a Digital Scale

It’s important to calibrate your digital scale on a regular basis to ensure you’re getting accurate readings and precise measurements. Keep these tips about the calibration process in mind:

  1. Calibrate on a flat, level surface. This will result in a more accurate reading.
  2. Use a gripping pad. It will help absorb vibrations that could throw off your reading. A mouse pad also works.
  3. Check the owner’s manual. Refer to the owner’s manual for detailed instructions about how to calibrate your specific make and model.
  4. Use calibration weights. Alternatively, place calibration test weights or another object with a known weight on the scale to make sure it’s properly calibrated.
  5. Calibrate regularly. How often you need to calibrate your digital scale will depend on how frequently you use it. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to calibrate it before you start using it to make a recipe. Recommended calibration frequency may vary from model to model, so check the owner’s manual for a more specific recommendation.

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