Bake

Dust Off That Scale: It's Time to Start Baking in Grams

January 18, 2018

If you already use a scale to measure baking ingredients, congratulations! Because it’s (finally) time to ditch pounds and ounces and go metric. Seriously.

Grams are much smaller measures than ounces—and that’s the beauty of them. You don’t have to know that there are almost 30 grams in ounce, or that 1000 of them equal a kilogram, or do any math whatever, to start using them. Just flip the switch on your scale from ounces to grams and start weighing.

Here’s why bakers love grams:

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1. You can instantly use recipes from (and share them too) the whole world. (Pounds and ounces are used mostly in the US, in case you didn’t know.) When you see an enticing recipe with gram measures, don’t even think of doing the math or using an app to convert to ounces, just flip the switch on your scale, and start weighing grams.

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Top Comment:
“Much more accurate, but there should be one caveat to remember: small volumes/amounts are hard to weigh out even in grams, unless your scale can measure out to 1 or 2 decimal places. And I'm pretty sure most kitchen scales are only accurate to the 1 gram (scales with greater accuracy are REALLY expensive). So for small amounts like 1/4 tsp, the kitchen scale would not be very accurate and you could be adding much more than you need. Same goes for ingredients that are light and fluffy. If you are measuring a small-ish amount of something light and fluffy, your scale can be off.”
— HalfPint
Comment

2. Grams are so tiny that there are never fractions (unless you are in a chemistry lab!) to round up or down. Wouldn’t it be easier to read and weigh out "530 grams" on a scale than "1 pound, 2.695 ounces"?

3. It’s easier to notice (and learn from) the ratios of ingredients in a recipe.

4. It’s easy to note down fine changes and recipes adjustments in grams. If you add 10 grams additional cocoa powder to a cake batter, it’s simply 10 grams rather than .352 ounces—which decimal most home baking scales can’t register.

5. Grams are always a measure of weight, never volume, so there is no confusion. Ounces can be a measure of weight or volume—a fact that confounds all new cooks and some old ones, not to mention the entire rest of the world!

Try grams, you’ll like them!

16 Comments

Smaug October 26, 2018
Scales do not equate with metric, don't know where that idea came from. Nor is metric intrinsically more accurate than standard- yes, a gram is smaller than an ounce, but a hundredth of an ounce (decimal fractions of standard measures are becoming more and more common) is smaller than a gram- so is a 128th, if you don't mind working multiples of 2- binary arithmetic is actually considerably simpler than decimal, which is why computers etc. use it. A gram, by the way is a measure of mass, not weight, but except for balances you are actually measuring weight with a scale- one of several reasons that scales are not ass accurate as people like to believe.
 
Author Comment
Alice M. November 1, 2018
I certainly did not mean to equate scales with metric. I only suggest that using a scale is better, and that if you are using one, metric is so much simpler than ounces...for the reasons that you mentioned and the reasons that I mentioned as well: it's easier to divide or scale up recipes in grams, easier to record small changes etc.
 
Larissa G. October 17, 2018
Came across this article searching for cookbooks that have recipes using the metric system. Thank you for this article, we need to spread the message to the world (well, the US). My baking has improved exponentially since using a scale, recipes come out exactly as intended and it's so much easier than finding my measuring cups and cleaning them after use.
 
Michael F. February 4, 2018
I too went to culinary school and became friends with the balance beam scale. At home I whip out the digital scale, much more accurate and faster. I wish all recipes were printed in metric, life would be so much simpler.
 
Lynn February 2, 2018
I learnt to bake at school in pounds and ounces, but now, I mostly work in metric.
 
HalfPint January 22, 2018
I love using grams in baking. Much more accurate, but there should be one caveat to remember: small volumes/amounts are hard to weigh out even in grams, unless your scale can measure out to 1 or 2 decimal places. And I'm pretty sure most kitchen scales are only accurate to the 1 gram (scales with greater accuracy are REALLY expensive). So for small amounts like 1/4 tsp, the kitchen scale would not be very accurate and you could be adding much more than you need. Same goes for ingredients that are light and fluffy. If you are measuring a small-ish amount of something light and fluffy, your scale can be off.
 
Sigita January 19, 2018
Do you recommend a brand of digital scale? I have had a couple of bad ones.
 
Victoria C. January 22, 2018
I use the Bakers Math Kitchen Scale - KD8000 by My Weight and often gift it. I use it so often, it sits on my counter. For teeny amounts I have an American Weigh 1 kg digital pocket scale, which weighs up to 1000 grams in 0.1 gram increments.
 
Sigita January 22, 2018
Thank you so much. I have had a couple but they have not lasted,,,,,appreciate the reply.<br /><br />
 
Michael F. October 24, 2018
How about the OXO scale. Bed Bath and Beyond with a coupon!
 
rosemary |. January 19, 2018
I totally agree! Now that I've switched to measuring by weight in grams when baking ...I realize that I can never return my old world of cups and/or ounces. When I post recipes for baked goods on my blog, I make a point of including the gram equivalent of each ingredient. Maybe we Americans can all be metric converts one day!!
 
Olivier January 19, 2018
Because, seriously, a "cup" or a "tablespoon"of butter? :-)
 
Olivier January 19, 2018
Pass the message to all the cookbook writers who clog their recipes with pounds, cups, ounces, liquid ounces, and most annoying F°… and to your legislators too ^__^
 
Ursula |. January 19, 2018
Thank you Alice! Before I moved from Europe to the US I didn't even know that some/most of the people in the US use cups. I think, it's essential for baking to measure by weight. What I use though, are the measuring spoons. I think they are more accurate for tiny amounts of ingredients, like 1/4 teaspoon of salt for instance. For the rest, I use my kitchen scale. I love you, tara (zero) button. You can mix everything in one bowl without having to clean all those cups ;-)
 
Ron M. January 18, 2018
I agree 100% I always convert my favorite recipes to grams so I can easily tweak them and make the recipes reproducible. (and on a minor note, there is a typo at the top ... there are actually 1000g in a kg, not 100 as it says at the top)
 
M January 18, 2018
This * Million Grams.