How To Measure Ingredients By Weight

When you collect old cookbooks you come across strange instructions like, “Place in a quick oven” … “Bank the coals and move the pot to the back” … “Split the hog’s head down the middle”. (Yes, I’ve seen all of those.)

But just recently I found a recipe that listed ingredients by weight. This is very unusual for an American cookbook. Listing ingredients by weight is much more common in most of the rest of the world. Even in England — the other major metric holdout — they use weight instead of volume.

Fortunately I have a postal scale. Yup, it’s exactly the same as a kitchen scale, except it’s not made to hold a bowl.

The other difference is mine only has a 3-pound capacity.


Still plenty of capacity for what I’m doing. If you’ve never used a digital scale, you probably haven’t heard of the “tare” button. The way it works is you place your empty bowl on the scale. You’ll see the weight of the bowl.


Then you just press “tare” and it zeros-out the weight.


Then you add whatever it is you’re weighing and you don’t have to do any math.


Just pour until it’s (in this case) exactly 12 ounces.


Dammit! Okay, fine … twelve point one ounces.

If this seems like a lot of effort to go to, and you’d rather just use your measuring cup, check out this video from Jenny, the Online Pastry Chef, about why you should always weigh your ingredients when baking.

I’ll be back shortly with the recipe that I was doing with the scale.