Food Scale

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by gnnairda, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. gnnairda

    gnnairda

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    I'm looking for food scale that is accurate and precise to the tenth of a gram. I've heard of ones that go up to one thousandth of a gram , which seems highly unlikely , otherwise the school I go to must be pretty stupid paying thousands of dollars for high calibrated scales :lol:

    any brands that come to mind? I don't need any fancy features but just one that measures at least to a tenth gram(0.1).

    It's hard to judge the reviews on amazon because a lot of the 1 stars seem like a malfunction or they were just plain stupid like the oz to g button function being highly inconvenient:rolleyes:.
     
  2. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    I'm also in the market for a food scale. I happened upon a show from Cook's Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen) when they were giving the results of testing home scales. The OXO one that pulls out the display won for accuracy and convenience. To be honest, I don't know if it goes down to tenths of a gram. It sells for $50 or less. That'll be my choice when I get around to buying one.
     
  3. missyjean

    missyjean

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  4. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Tare is pretty much a universal feature of any electronic scale.
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    1/10 of a gram?! Really?! 1gm or 0.1oz is common. But off hand I can't think of anything I'd weigh in tenths of a gram -- which is 35/1000 of an ounce -- in order to follow a recipe.

    Anyway, you can certainly buy that kind of resolution; but it's not common in scales that are used to weigh more than a kilo; and when you find it, it tends to be expensive.

    For most cooking purposes you should be above to find something perfectly fine for less than $30 on ebay or at a digital scale specialty e-tailer. There are lots and lots of choices. Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about tiny inaccuracies. Almost all the digitals are pretty darn accurate; most metric (measuring) inaccuracies are the person and not the machine; it's unlikely you'll spoil a recipe for making an error of 0.1% (1 gram out of a kilogram) -- which isn't even that good by modern, scale standards.

    It's probably pretty hard to find a scale that doesn't tare nowadays. But it's worth making sure.

    Anyway, here's one site: Kitchen Scales Note that they sell Escali for less than Escali. The parent operation is AmericanWeigh. I've bought from them a couple of times. NP.

    Here's another: Kitchen Scales, Food Scales & Cooking Scales Will Knott is an excellent resource for this sort of stuff, and funny to boot. I should have listed it first. Also, personal experience and NPs.

    I've never actually with these people but they have a good rep for reliability and low prices: SaveOnScales.com - Electronic Digital Scales, Pocket Scales, Gram Scales and more!

    This place, ditto: Diet/Kitchen Scales - Cyberscale.net - Digital Scales & Pocket Scales Diet/Kitchen Scales

    And of course, there's Amazon.

    In addition to the usual suspects like Salter, I'd look at Taylor and My Weigh especially. IIRC, Michael Ruhlman was waxing very enthusiasitc about a My Weigh 5000 with an eco-friendly bowl (read "hemp-plastic") he liked for baking and charcuterie.

    There are a lot of memory features going far beyond zero and tare that let you add ingredients, remove and replace the bowl, and so forth. You want.

    You also want a scale that runs on batteries you can get anywhere, like AAA, AA or 9Vs.

    Here's a direct link to My Weigh; but it's info only, they don't e-tail: Home Front | My Weigh Digital Scales- Manufacturer of quality digital scales and digital scale accessories

    If I were buying a scale, I'd get a My Weigh 3001 (or a 7001 if I baked in serious quantities). No way (forgive me, I can't help myself) would I spend twice as much on an OXO.

    Good luck,
    BDL
     
  6. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    All good points, BDL, particularly the comments re: 1/10 gram. I can't imagine any culinary reason for needing that, and certainly couldn't justify the price of a scale that did measure that small.

    One thing to consider: Nowadays, thanks no doubt to the celebrity chefs and internet sites touting them so heavily, scales---good scales---are readily available in housewares stores and the housewares departments of department stores. I got my Salter, for instance, from Bed Bath & Beyond, and choose it from seven or eight different makes and models.

    From what I can tell from a cursery look, there isn't a significant cost savings buying on-line. And by shopping at a retail store you get the advantage of actually handling the scale (tells you if it has the features you want, configured in a way that makes you happy), and an easy return if it turns out to not be the one you want.
     
  7. duckfat

    duckfat

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    I have had a salter for years. If I had to replace it I'm sure I would buy another of the same brand.
     
  8. gnnairda

    gnnairda

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    found the perfect scale

    RightOnScales.ca - Digital Pocket Scales Canada!



    I plan on using it to weigh out L-cysteine . it makes the dough more extensible but It cannot be over 100ppm (or mg/kg flour) otherwise it becomes runny.

    I know I can do a serial dilution by weighing out 1 g but god knows how much percent error there is in that with the scale and uncalibrated glass wear probably at least 25% error right there. :lol:
     
  9. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Just be sure to get calibration weights to ensure accuracy at several measurements. My first Ohaus triple beam was 3 grams short after zeroing and placing a 10g standard weight on it. Without question it was then exchanged for a replacement.

    Calibration weights, you hear! :smokin
     
  10. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Oh you can buy scales @1/10 of a gram, and cheap too, think around US$18.00 at Lee Valley. Problem is, the capacity is only around 100 grams. Most scales with capacities of arond 5 kg are usualy accurate within 1 gram.

    Never played around with hydrocolloids or test-tube cooking, but I know some of the stuff has to be measured quite accurately.

    A bit of topic here....
    Last year we had a booth at a gift show--the kind that all the corporate buyers attend. One of the about 200 booths there was an, um.."alternative lifestyle" shop (read: Head-shop). Among other things it uh, sold scales, lots of scales. Many of them accurate to 1/10th of a gram, and some even doubling as wrist-watches.... Most of them were quite cheap--under $40.00 and some pretty darn good kitchen scales too.

    So, I now have several scales, the main one, 10 kg capacity accurate to 2 grams, and the "dealer's" scale, capacity of 100 grams, accurate to 1/10 of a gram--which I use for my spice mixtures, gum arabic, and pectin for pate de fruits.

    So the moral of this off-topic is: If you don't like Lee Valley's version, check out/support your local head shop.....
     
  11. chefray

    chefray

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    I found a counting scale in an industrial supply store once. I needed some sheet aluminum to make a heat diffuser, if you wanted to know. Anyway, back on topic, the scale was for counting thousands of tiny parts in warehouses. It was accurate to .01g and had a capacity of 20kg. The down side, it was a $4,000 piece of equipment.

    The moral of the story, go small capacity and measure the ingredients that need to be precise and weigh out the rest at 1g accuracy and shoot for 1g over.
     
  12. missyjean

    missyjean

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    alton Brown recommends Salter too
     
  13. missyjean

    missyjean

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    Thank you for all the great sources.

    I am really psyched about getting a scale.

    I made a pumpkin quick bread using a King Arthur recipe. I have an old analog scale. The weight of the flour vs the volume measure was radically different. I went with the volume since I am new to baking. I think the bread is a drop dry. Does that mean I used too much flour?
     
  14. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    MissyJean stated: <<I made a pumpkin quick bread using a King Arthur recipe. I have an old analog scale. The weight of the flour vs the volume measure was radically different. I went with the volume since I am new to baking. I think the bread is a drop dry. Does that mean I used too much flour? >>

    To measure flour by volume instead of weight, use the FLUFF AND SCOOP METHOD. First, use a scoop to fluff up the flour thoroughly and I mean fluff it really good. Then scoop out some flour and dispense gently into your measuring cup(s). Repeat until the cups are overflowing. Then, take a wide 'blade' and wipe it along the lips of the cup to remove the excess; make the volume of flour flush with the lips of the measuring cup.

    NEVER SCOOP FLOUR OUT OF THE CONTAINER USING YOUR MEASURING CUP. If you do you'll end up with an excessive amount of flour due to compression and that's what you don't want. Compressed flour.
     
  15. missyjean

    missyjean

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    Thank you! That is the exact advise King Arthur's books give. I didn't know it was to be done with all flours, though. I won't scoop again.

    Was that the reason the pumpkin bread was a little dry? I used whole wheat flour for that bread.
     
  16. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Too much flour, too little moisture? Maybe. With pumpkin bread, more likely too little fat.

    More generally... Professional bakers use a weight and proportion system that gives a "percentage hydration," and a scale is an absolute necessity to work with that type of "formula" and those sorts of quantities. Some home/amateur bakers are really psyched about the control they feel that scales give them.

    Accurate and consistent measurement -- which really means weight instead of volume -- helps you get very close to what the author of a given bread recipe wanted.

    However, despite the conventional wisdome that baking is entirely formulaic, cups of flour must be measured just so, etc., most recipes don't really require very exact ratios. In my opinion -- just an opinion, and just one home/amateur baker -- "touch" is the ultimate metric, and precise weighting is not a substitute.

    So, by all means use and enjoy your scale. Not only to follow recipes but to help keep track of what you're doing and organize future modifications. But at the same time, keep your eyes open and your hands in the bowl.

    BDL
     
  17. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Yes, indeed. Compressed flour equals EXCESSIVE flour. Using a scoop, gently dispense flour into the measuring cups means there's less flour since the latter hasn't been compressed.
     
  18. duckfat

    duckfat

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    "In my opinion -- just an opinion, and just one home/amateur baker -- "touch" is the ultimate metric, and precise weighting is not a substitute"


    Well said BDL and in the end (IMO) the absolute truth. What a scale does allow is the ability to accuratly replicate positive results. When I experiement I always weigh/measure/take notes. If not and I wind up with some thing I really like and try to remember what it was a few days later I find out just how advanced my CRS really is. :lol:
     
  19. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    It's scales and weight that get you into the ballpark. As to the rest of the way, you must "feel it" for yourself and add a sprinkle of flour or liquid to get that final adjustment.
     
  20. mikelm

    mikelm

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    We've been happy with a Soehnle brand electronic scale, which comes in a variety of highly-stylized,, contmporary models. It has a capacity of 11 lbs; accurate to 1/10 ounce up to 5-1/2 pounds and 2/10 oz. from there to 11 pounds. It tares and all the other stuff.

    Only sour note is that it uses one of those flat batteries rather than the much-easier-to-find AA or 9V sizes.

    We rummaged around on the net a few years ago and found them for under $50. We gave one to each of our kids at a suitable holiday.

    When you've got a scale on the counter, you use it a LOT more than you thought you would! :thumb:

    Mike