Tag Archives: tools

Digital Scales: Which Weigh To Go?

I’ve run into a few questions of late that involve the weighing of ingredients. Some of the writers mention that they don’t have a scale and I wanted to point them to a good choice when they do decide to make the upgrade to weighing their doughs so they too can benefit from the multiple advantages of scaling.

Sourdough on my Scale

I realized that although I’ve talked about weighing in passing in many posts, as well as a slight rant or two about the benefits of weight over volume measures, I’ve not put myself behind any specific scales people could consider when they do go out hunting for this most important baker’s tool. I’m going to fix that here.

There will be two levels of bakers to look at here: the hobby home baker and the professional (or expert home baker), both these levels having slightly different requirements. Primarily, the home baker will need something simpler, dependable and can do with an inexpensive model while the pros will (hopefully) have a bit more of a budget for this tool they depend on for their trade. This aside, there are aspects that both ends are in need of and even if a scale is in the lower price area, you will want to hit some points so your purchase will not become a frustration.

Let’s outline some of these “must haves”, in no specific order.

Scale Shopping: The Power Source

Look for a scale that uses normal batteries, such as AA or 9 volt. Avoid any scale that uses the flat disk lithium batteries as these are rather expensive and, as they also do not have a very long life, will begin to run up the bill over a short time. Although a lot of scales now use these small batteries because they allow for a “sleeker” design, it is really not a good trade-off. And the other batteries don’t necessarily make for bulkier scales. Yet, they will give your scale power for a very long time. Continue reading

How big is a cup? Flour volume vs flour weight

one cup of flourHow much does a cup of flour weigh?

Here’s a question that seems to pop up on a fairly regular basis in the bread forums. Someone sees a recipe that requires 3.5 cups of flour, or one that looks for 368g of flour. Either way, they’re used to the other method of measuring and they run into problems making the conversion from one to the other.

Why is it confusing? Because one is a volume measure and the other is a weight measure. As we all know a cup is not always a cup:  a cup of rocks and a cup of feathers will not weigh the same. Simply stated, volume and weight are not a consistent and easily interchangeable form of measure. Add in the confusion of liquid vs dry ounces and cups and you have a mess.

But there’s probably a set “standard” weight for flour, right? I mean, measuring flour is something people do ALL the time and have done for eons so someone, somewhere probably has The Definitive Weight for a “cup of flour”.

Continue reading

Step aside, Zorro!! A new slashing tool just got added!

I’d been trying to “make do” for a while with whatever seemed like an acceptable tool for slashing the dough loaves and using a small, very sharp but flat-bladed paring knife acceptable, though not exactly great. 

I knew that a “tomato knife” was a great tool to use because it has the large scallops in the blade which , as seen on Mark’ Back Home Bakery videos, did a very neat, clean cut in one go. But when I went out looking for such a knife, I was rather put off by the cost, about $20 – $25 at the local department stores’ kitchen/cutlery sections. Several stores in fact. Thanks, I think I’ll just save the $25 and buy flour.

However, I came across a display in our local grocery emporium (in my case, that’s Fortino’s, a part of the Loblaws/Superstore/President’s Choice conglomeration here in Canada) and there in the kitchen stuff section next to candles and pillows displays, was a box full of paring knives with flat blades… But my eye caught a knife in the corner that looked like… yes!! A serrated tomato knife! And they were an astounding $1.90!! Stuck in the back of the box (I dug) were a handful of these little beauties, with black or pale blue handles. Continue reading

Tools of the Baking Trade

What I’m about to list here is what I’ve managed to collect so far or feel I need to cobble together a useful bread making set up. It’s not necessarily ALL the toys and gadgets and must-haves one must have but it’s what seems to be a decent starting point. Anyone who cares to suggest/recommend other useful tools is welcome to add a comment below describing the item and why they feel it’s a good addition to the break maker’s toolbox.

You’ll also see some links to “Get this tool here” which will send you to your local Amazon site to purchase that item. Note that I am not specifically suggesting the items linked here; they are just examples of the tools in question. You can probably find most of these at your local retailer and perhaps at a better price than offered by Amazon. Plus, buying from your small, local kitchenware shop helps your neighbourhood economy. Continue reading