We have a digital scale!

summary: digital scale acquisition, checking measuring cups, wild yeast feeding schedule

salter scale Look what I got!!

Yes, it’s a digital scale! Are you amazed? I am. I didn’t think I’d ever break down and switch from occasionally using our rotten spring loaded scales to often using this shiny digital scale.

The lovely green cotton bag was made by my mom – but not for the scale. In fact, she didn’t even know I was getting the scale; the bag was the wrapping for a Christmas present a couple of years ago. But it fits the scale perfectly! How cool is that?

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

As soon as we took it out of the box, we tested it by putting a square of Baker’s chocolate on the scale: Whoohoo! 1 ounce, just as promised. We put a different square of Baker’s chocolate on the scale: Zowie!! 1 ounce again.

Then I switched the scale over to grams and started checking our measuring cups. Our pyrex cup measure, which is allegedly 250ml, actually measures about 230 ml (1gm H²O = 1ml of H²O) Each of the stainless steel measuring cups are considerably off as well.

But more disturbing (and not at all surprising) is the fact that 2Tbsp water, that supposed weighs roughly the same as 3Tbsp flour, doesn’t. Not the way I measure flour!

Why do I care about this? When I feed my starter, I have been using 2Tbsp water, 2Tbsp starter and 3Tbsp flour. In her book Piano Piano Pieno, Susan McKenna Grant writes that this is equivalent to 28gm water, 28 gm starter and 28gm flour.

Before getting the scale, one of the major struggles I’ve been having is that my starter has been turning to alcohol very quickly. And when I measured using the scale instead of our stainless steel tablespoons (good quality measuring spoons…), I found out why:

  1. I put an empty bowl on the scale, set the marker to zero and put 2 Tbsp water into the bowl:
    • The scale registered 25gm – good; not too far off….
  2. I set the marker to zero again and added 2 Tbsp starter to the bowl:
    • The scale registered 27gm – good; once again, not too far off….
    • I added 2 more gm of water.
  3. I set the marker to zero one more time and using the same Tbsp (I washed and dried it) added 3 Tbsp flour:
    • The scale registered 20gm!!

We’ve had the scale for a couple of weeks and I have fed the starter every three days since then. Each time, my tablespoons of flour register way less weight than they should. (Is it our flour? Do I really have that light a touch??)

As a result, the starter is much healthier and much more vigorous than it was. And the bread that I’ve made with it has been rather brilliant. Stay tuned for a report on a very successful BBBwB dark onion rye.

Feeding Wild yeast
based on the recipe for wild yeast in Piano Piano Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant

wild yeast starter . wild yeast feeding

  • 2 Tbsp (30gm) refrigerated wild yeast starter
  • 2 Tbsp (30gm) water*
  • 3 Tbsp (30gm) unbleached all-purpose flour


  1. Take 2 Tbsp (30gm) of refrigerated wild yeast starter – discard the extra (or add it to muffins or batter or…) – and stir in 2 Tbsp (30gm) water and 3 Tbsp (30gm) unbleached all-purpose flour.
  2. Cover and leave on counter for about an hour. Then refrigerate. Feed the starter every 3 days.

*Tap water is fine to use – just make sure that it has stood for at least 12 hours so that the chlorine has dissipated.

salter scale with bowl One difficulty with the new scale is that it can only handle 2kg. The mixing bowl I use for bread making is a large pyrex bowl. It’s way too heavy for the scale!

So a couple of days after getting the scale, we got this stainless steel bowl at a lawn sale. It’s the perfect size for measuring the flour for bread making.

The only thing I have to remember is that every time the bowl is lifted from the scale, it loses its memory of the bowl’s weight.

At first we wondered WHERE we were going to store these new things. But then we saw that the scale slips easily under a footed cutting board, where it’s completely safe from having anything too heavy drop on it. And the bowl fits upside down on top of the fondue pot that is on the cookbook shelves.

spring loaded scales I haven’t yet had the nerve to test the accuracy of our spring loaded scales. I just can’t do it. When not in use (which is often), these spring-loaded scales fit on the edge of the cookbook shelves; how pathetic am I that I can’t bring myself to throw out my old friends? Even though I hardly used them….

(click on image for larger view)



This entry was posted in baking, equipment and techniques, food & drink, sourdough and wild yeast on by .

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