Black Friday had come and gone, and so perhaps many of you already have your Christmas shopping complete. For those of you who don’t, let me recommend an item for those who love to hang out in the kitchen. In my thinking, right up there with ‘oven’ and ‘refrigerator’ in the pantheon of indispensable kitchen things is the digital kitchen scale.
First, accuracy. It is notoriously difficult to measure flour with consistent accuracy. Various methods are used, but only one is consistent: weighing the flour. One cup of flour weighs 120 grams. If you try to scoop the flour, you compress it. If the flour has been sifted, it is fluffy and full of air. One cup of compressed flour does not equal one cup of fluffy flour. But 120 grams is always 120 grams. With a scale, there is no guesswork.
Secondly, it is so much easier and cleaner to measure ingredients by weight. We make our own sloppy joes. The sauce is composed of a cup of this and three tablespoons of that. When done, the counter is littered with a variety of measuring tools all of which need to be cleaned. With the scale, I put a bowl on the scale, and proceed to add the ketchup, the mustard, the vinegar, the sugar, and so on, by weight to the single bowl. I need not dirty a single measuring tool. When all the ingredients are added, I mix them in the bowl and add them to the fried hamburger. Simple and made so much simpler by the scale.
Third, for the borderline OCD like myself, I love knowing that ALL my hamburger patties are within a fraction of a precise 5 ounces. It’s a beautiful thing.
And finally, conversion. I have my own pancake recipe which the family is fond of. I mix the dry ingredients ahead of time and store them so that when we want pancakes, all I need to do is to mix the liquid ingredients, drop in the right amount of dry ingredients, mix, and fry. One day I was preparing to make a batch of the dry mix only to discover that instead of the necessary 960 grams of flour (i.e. 8 cups) I only had 690 grams. That is, I only had 72% of what I needed.
Now, if one was measuring in cups and tablespoons, how quickly could you calculate and then measure 72% of the necessary 6 teaspoons of baking soda? With a scale, all it takes is a calculator. 35 grams instead of 48 grams. Piece of (pan)cake.
We’ve had a couple scales over the years, but the one which has served us well is the Escali. Accurate, easy to use, durable, and cheap. And the pink one made my daughter-in-law especially happy.
So, I’m happy here to pass your way a very good and very special pancake recipe. But, alas, as you will see, there is a catch.
Flour – 135g
Baking Soda – 7g
Sugar – 29g
Salt – 2g
Oil (or butter) – 28g
Buttermilk – 240g
Makes about 8 decent sized pancakes.