Why you need a scale: the salt story

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Seems that I’m always getting asked for advice on cookware,
what pots, what knives and like most things the answer depends on how much you
cook, how you cook, what’s your budget, etc. etc.  It’s all about defining what you need and what you want to
do with it.

But, if there is one thing that is crucial to my cooking
style, it’s a digital scale. I’m Low Tech Girl: no microwave, I have a rolling
pin not a pasta machine, and I knead my bread, but I cannot cook without my
scale.  Dish of Salt copy

 

Here’s the visual: a recipe calls for a tablespoon of salt.
Currently in my house I have three kinds of salt: Diamond Kosher, Maldon Salt
Crystals and some very fine grain Japanese sea salt (I’m not being esoteric, I
have a Japanese grocery store across the street and their sea salt is
cheap.)  I measured out one level
teaspoon of salt and then weighed them:

19 g sea salt

12.5 g salt crystals

9 g kosher salt

 

It's a little more than twice the volume of salt if I used sea salt
instead of kosher salt. Wonder why that chicken recipe you made came out so
salty?

 

Think about a brownie recipe that calls for 1 cup of
nuts: if there was such a variation with salt, imagine the variation with
roughly chopped v. whole v. finely chopped nuts.

 

And finally there is the clutter factor: all those measuring cups
you’ve acquired can be tossed, those single measuring spoons that get
disconnected from the ring and you can’t find the ¼ teaspoon spoon because it’s
buried under the clutter of random spoons and lobster forks that have
mysteriously accumulated in the junk drawer, can all be tossed and replaced by one
single, elegant scale.

 

Find a scale that tares, which means you put the bowl on the
scale, hit tare and the scale goes to zero so you aren’t factoring in the
weight of the bowl. Which would be a nice thing for the deli man to do so you
don’t have to pay $12.99/lb for that plastic container, but I digress.  Also find a scale that has ounces and
grams because it’s good to have an easier conversion. All of my cookbooks have
scribbles all over them where I’ve done the conversions, which sounds like a
royal pain, but once you get used to working with weights, you don’t go back.  I use the CJ-4000, it gets the job done,
and please don’t spring for the scale with the bowl, you already own bowls.

 

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