The Kitchen Tool Duff Goldman Says Every Beginner Baker Should Have

Although you may decide to take up baking after seeing a recipe online, there is an aspect of every beginner baker's journey that is less enticing — researching the necessary equipment. With advertisements for fondant modeling kits, palette knives, and sheet trays, it can be tedious sifting through which tools are actually necessary for a home baker. While a culinary blow torch shown on Food Network may look impressive, what are the chances you will need to caramelize crème brûlée every week?  

Fortunately, "Ace of Cakes" alum and "Holiday Baking Show" judge Duff Goldman recommends one tool for new bakers: a digital scale. With the capacity to measure quantities accurately to the ounce, a baking scale can help you avoid common cake-baking mistakes and other dessert mishaps. In a realm as finicky as baking, where even a slight change in grams can offset an entire recipe, having a device that ensures precision will make your life much easier.

When a digital scale matters

Many adjust their recipe when cooking, adding an extra pinch of pepper to taste or increasing the dish's number of garlic cloves. Some baking recipes also do not follow an exact formula; many bread and biscuit instructions, for example, suggest you add some extra flour if the dough becomes too sticky. The majority of baked items, however, require extreme accuracy lest your pastry not turn out. Duff Goldman's tip makes total sense. 

Although spooning flour into a measuring cup may still produce sufficient results, over-packing measuring cups occurs all too often. When making cakes, excess flour leaves the dessert dry and dense. A choux pastry with too much flour will not achieve the airiness and fillable center eclairs and cream puffs are known for. Too-floury chocolate chip cookies lack a pleasant crunch. Digital scales provide the same measurements each time and can follow a recipe without error — from goods like berry chantilly cakes to cream cheese brownies

Other benefits of a baking scale

Finding creativity in the kitchen is one of the best aspects of starting baking. One of the worst? The cleanup time. Suddenly, dishes fill your sink at a pace never experienced before, and a dusting of flour may be permanently stuck between your floorboards. Another advantage of using a digital scale is the way it expedites the cleanup process. Instead of dirtying an entire set of tablespoons and measuring cups, use only a couple of dishes when weighing ingredients. Plus, digital scales feature a button that makes it simpler to weigh multiple ingredients in the same bowl. Simply press "tare" and the previous weight will reset to zero. 

Want to make half the amount a recipe calls for? Need to double or triple the amount of cupcakes you bake? Kiss fractions goodbye. Now, you can easily measure out half (or triple!) what the original recipe calls for sans the math.

Weighing ingredients of course is not always the most efficient option. For measuring small quantities like salt or baking soda, using tablespoons is much more time-effective. But perhaps you can save some space in your kitchen by starting with just a small set of measuring tools and focusing on your digital scale.