This post will probably sound as a sonnet or a praising song for my precious electronic kitchen scales. It is not new, we’ve had it for some time now, but my appreciation towards it is rising day by day.
For years I cooked without taking into consideration the precise measurement of ingredients – I didn’t think I need it to. The recipes I followed came from my family and my friends, from books and some, of course, were pure improvisations. The food blogging wasn’t playing such a role, as it does now, at least not for me.
And then, on one sunny day, we (me and Sergi) decided from then on we’ll be baking our own bread. So we bought a bread making machine and so my difficult journey into the world of baking began. The kitchen scales came naturally with the baking machine. There were a lot’s of disappointments in the beginning (and few tasty successes), than slowly, by taking the time and showing stubbornness we finally “got there”.
When we started this blog, we wanted to be totally accurate and as precise as possible in our recipes. The exact ingredients’ quantities and time a recipe takes to cook are still one of the most important things about each dish we write. But to say the truth, this was a hard start (and embarrassing also). I had to constantly remind myself to measure every ingredient before cooking (or during the process), and to take notes about the timing for every process. Or, (and that’s the embarrassing part), I had to cook the exact same thing few days later, just to be able to measure weights, quantities and time. At such times my kitchen scales was already so important, I kept it on the counter top.
But my appreciation for it came thru the bread, again. The bread recipes I knew were not enough anymore. To satisfy our appetite for new tastes I’ve visited hundreds of food blogs, searching new bread and pastry recipes, new ingredients or unusual combinations. It is an interesting and truly inspiring journey (which it’s not over, and honestly, I think it never will be). I think I will never satisfy my cravings for all that amazingly looking focaccias, bagels and Kaiser rolls.
Good ideas come from all parts of the world – Europe, America, Asia or Australia – but of course, with units of measurement their authors are used to.
My love towards the kitchen scales is primarily related to the fact that I’m used to quantities being measured in grams and milliliters. I suspect that these measurements for some of you are so unusual and uncomfortable, as are “a cup of, a teaspoon or a dash” for me (not to mention the ounces, pounds, quarts and so on). I guess that’s why the measurement converters are so popular.
But really terrifying for me are “a pack of…”, or “a stick of” (butter), or “package of quick-acting dry yeast”. What happens is, you need to search what kind of package they are talking about – American, Canadian, Australian, Russian, etc., and then search again forums to inform yourself what’s the most probable size or weight of the package quoted (or just guess it).
Coming back to bakery, I must say that this field of culinary is where every gram has the power to change the results. Add to this the availability of thousands of types of flour (all with their different qualities), and crucial factors such as yeast freshness, humidity and temperature, and the picture gets just too complex. With so many factors to take into consideration you want to be able to control at least one of them, and that is the exact quantities of this and that you add in to your creation. And as our experience shows, measuring things is the easiest part of it.
So, if you are carbohydrate lover as me, and you stumble upon a recipe that shows quantities in unusual for you way, don’t give up! Write the blog’s author a mail, asking them to measure the quantity of the ingredient in question, or see what’s written on the package, and then bake. The direct communication in combination with kitchen scales has done miracles for us.