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In The Family
Should I Buy a Digital Scale?

Ditch the measuring cups and spoons. It’s time to improve all your baking with one simple step.

Here’s an experiment to try at home: Scoop a cup of flour and put it in a bowl. Then do it again. And one more time. Now break out a kitchen scale and weigh each bowl—and see how different those weights can be. If you don’t have a scale, now’s the time to pick one up, because no matter how great your baking skills are, volumetric measurements are the biggest cause of sunken cakes and dry banana bread, and the easiest to fix.

Depending on how you scoop a cup of flour, the mass of that cup could vary as much as 50%—a deal-breaker for many precise dessert recipes. As professional baker Roxana Jullapat tells Daniela Galarza in our article, It’s About Time You Bought a Kitchen Scale, “using a scale is the only way to get consistent results.” It’s also shockingly easy to get used to. With a kitchen scale, which will run all of $25, you can skip the measuring cups entirely. Just spoon each ingredient into your mixing bowl, noting the weights as you go. That means fewer dishes to clean as well as a cake you can count on.

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Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz is a food and travel writer for The New York Times, Saveur, GQ, New York magazine’s Grub Street, and other outlets. He’s also the coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook with Helen You.