OXO Scale is a Must / Recipe is a Bust

Update: The giveaway featured in this blog is now closed. Congratulations to Allison from Arizona. It’s time to break out that Bavarian magazine you mentioned. I’d love it if you’d let me know what you make first with your new OXO Five Pound Food Scale… once you finish weighing everything you own just for fun. Congrats & happy weighing! -NB

When it comes to finding new recipes on the internet, I have this little problem. Some of the recipes that catch my attention are published in weight, not measurement. Ounces, not cups. Grams, not ounces. This poses a dilemma for me. I have no scale. I could just find a website that would do the conversion, but that could take a while. And I could just learn to do the math in my head, but that would take even longer. I was never very good at math. I helped My Baby with her 6th grade math homework years ago when The Complete Package was out of town on a business trip. She got an F. It’s a sad tale, but it’s true.

Fresh outta' the box & ready to roll - the OXO 5-Pound Food Scale

Enter the OXO 5-Pound Food Scale, part of OXO’s Healthy Eating Tools collection. Or as I call it – the scale that launched a thousand recipes. My key to unlocking weight-based recipes from around the world. The scale that converts US to metric, ounces to grams, with the touch of a button. Literally. As a brand new member of the OXO Blogger Outreach Program, OXO generously offered to send me their digital food scale. I immediately jumped for joy and here’s why:

1. the product is sent at no cost to the blogger
2. the blogger agrees to try the product at home
3. the blogger agrees to give their HONEST opinion
4. the blogger gets to keep the product, again at no cost
5. the blogger fully discloses participation in the program
6. the company provides a second unit for one lucky reader
7. there are no downsides to this program; not one!

To take this puppy out for a spin, I intentionally went back to my favorite recipe site, Tasty Kitchen, and dug up one of the recipes I shelved due to odd measurements. One that was so specifically strange it made my head spin. The recipe was for a plum cake. Since I had fresh strawberries and a new batch of homemade strawberry jam, I decided to go that route instead. It started with butter. I bake in tablespoons of butter, or sticks and half-sticks. This one called for 5 3/8 ounces of butter. Seriously. Five and 3/8 ounces. Can you grab a stick of butter and measure that without scratching your head? I can’t.

I started with one stick of butter. As you can clearly see, one stick equals 4 1/8 ounces. So I cut a little off of another stick and added it to the scale.

Presto. 5 3/8 ounces of butter at your service. Next up, sugar. I place a glass on the scale. A glass that evidently weighs 5 3/4 ounces.

No problem. Just hit the ‘zero’ button to the right of the display, and the scale resets to cancel out the weight of the container. Love that.

With the scale zeroed out, I was free to measure the required 6 ounces of sugar.

Six ounces on the button. No leveling. No guessing. Just straight up six ounces. You may be thinking, “Hold up, NanaBread. What’s with the battery symbol to the right of the 6?” That’s not a battery indicator, my friends. Let me show you.

That indicator shows the maximum range of the five pound scale. As you continue to add ingredients to your bowl, the indicator shows you how close you’re getting to the maximum limit of five pounds. Pretty convenient.

Next up was flour, so I switched to a bigger bowl. I also used a heavy bowl so I could see how the scale would react. This ceramic bowl weighs one pound, 10 ounces and change. Before adding the flour, I hit the ‘zero’ button again.

Did you notice that? The scale is reset to zero so my flour measurement is accurate, but the 5-pound scale on the right still shows the total weight so I can tell when I’m getting close to five pounds. The scale keeps track for you.

I love that I can just grab my flour canister and start dumping flour into the bowl now. No measuring cups, no concern over whether I should shake it or scrape it to level the cup. I can just dump it in until the scale hits the magic number.

Fourteen and 1/8th ounces. See what I mean about just how specific this recipe was? I’m not kidding. It said to add 14 and 1/8th ounces of flour. So I did. What I ended up with is a thick batter that looked more like cookie dough than cake batter. It tasted like cookie dough, too. Yes, I eat raw cookie dough. Don’t you?

I pressed it into a 9″x9″ square pan lined with parchment and started adding fruit. Instead of plums, I used ten ounces of fresh berries and half a pint of jam.

The strawberries were washed, hulled and chopped and scattered over the top.

The jam was spooned over the berries. Such a pretty shade of red.

Next, a crumb topping was applied about 1/2″ thick over the entire cake.

The cake was baked at 350F for about 35 minutes, until it was golden brown.

Breakfast or dessert? What would NanaBread do? She’d go with ice cream.

Now here’s a dirty little secret about food blogging. As good as this cake looked, it was as dry as sand. So dry, I think I’m calling this The Sahara Dessert. Not even ice cream could re-hydrate it. It looks fabulous, but it was almost inedible. How bad was it? The Complete Package thought that maybe we could buy a poultry injector and pump it full of vanilla pudding to moisten it up. Seriously. You know a recipe failed when the solution involves a poultry injection kit.

For all the detail in measurements, this recipe goes in the Fail Log. The most surprising part of the failure was that I added 2 ounces of orange juice that wasn’t even called for and STILL it was dry. From the berries up, it was lovely. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement. But at least I came out of this knowing that it wasn’t due to my lack of diligence in following the recipe. By golly, it called for 14 1/8 ounces, and it got it. Sometimes recipes just don’t work.

This recipe may have tanked, but the OXO scale was right on the money. I would never have attempted such a fussy recipe without it. Which is where my ray of hope springs eternal, and my new OXO scale becomes my saving grace. A few months ago, I grabbed this book off the clearance rack at a bookstore.

I was so excited. Baking is my therapy of choice. In all honesty, I gave it a quick flip-through on the way to the register, just glancing quickly at photos like this.

If you know me, you’ll understand why I couldn’t resist. I have a thing for cherries. When I got home, I sat down to peruse my $3 gem and noticed this:

Grams and ounces. Crap. Every recipe in the book is formatted just like this one. See where I’m going with this? Now that I have a new OXO food scale, I can finally tackle my baking book without reservation. A whole new collection of fabulous baked goods just opened up for me. And now it can for you, too.

OXO has generously provided a second OXO Five Pound Food Scale for one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment, and this little lightweight beauty could be yours. If you’re like me, you’ll be weighing everything in your kitchen or pantry just so you can play with it. Things like this:

That’s not a tiny scale, it’s a huge tomato. And this:

Yes, it’s an orange the size of a grapefruit. This is Texas. And even this:

Yes, that’s my Pioneer Woman Cookbook. But wait! I can’t see how much Ree weighs! (Don’t you know she’d have a nervous breakdown if she heard we were weighing her on the internet?) It’s okay, Ree. It’s just the cookbook. But here’s the kicker – the OXO Five Pound Food Scale has one hidden feature I haven’t shown you yet. Are you ready for this?

The digital display pulls out so you can still read it, even when using larger bowls, platters or cookbooks. Can you believe it? I’m telling you, OXO really did think of everything. It’s why I own an entire collection of their products, all of which (with the exception of this scale) I have gladly paid for. Their stuff rocks.

When you’re done, just slide the display back in the dock and two small magnets lock it into place. A quick swipe of a Clorox wipe, and it’s ready to store.

This scale is extremely lightweight at 16 ounces and has a slim profile, so you can easily store it anywhere. Mine is resting to top of my spice bin. And because it runs on two AAA batteries (included), you can literally use it anywhere. The Complete Package has already used it to weigh envelopes so he no longer has to guess how many stamps to use. Fabulous!

Now leave a comment and tell me what recipe you’d tackle first if you had an OXO Five Pound Food Scale of your very own. If it’s one you found on the internet, feel free to share the hyperlink so we can see what inspires you. Participants must be residents of the United States due to shipping concerns. One name will be drawn at random at 12:00 Noon CST next Sunday, April 29th, 2012. That person will be notified by e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond before another name is chosen. Once a winner is confirmed, I’ll update this post.

As stated before, both scales were provided by the OXO Bloggers Outreach Program absolutely free of charge. The scale offered in this giveaway is identical to the one reviewed. OXO even included a shipping label for the winner. All they asked in return was my honest opinion, which I provided.

Now it’s time for you to weigh in. Good luck!



Filed under Food & Recipes, Things I Love

42 responses to “OXO Scale is a Must / Recipe is a Bust

  1. amy marantino

    I would use the scale to make pizza dough.

  2. Joe Ann Kingdon

    I need it! I need it! Love your blog; love OXO Products…Hate math!!!

  3. Claudia

    Hah, don’t get me started on this one – I suffer the same when I grab one of those “now add two sticks of butter” recipes. Sticks? Of butter? That’s plain gibberish to a European. I ended up Googling an image to learn that one stick equals 113 grams of butter. And then I was back in my comfort zone. Ah… the sheer bliss of grams – you can never go wrong with that. Unless you have a freak recipe to begin with, that is.
    Enjoy your OXO!

  4. Ooooo…nice scale! I’ve passed over a lot of recipes because of ingredients in weight.

  5. Alton Brown would be proud!
    Several years ago, I picked up a magazine somewhere in Bavaria, and while I can read the recipes just fine (See, Mom? My German major went toward SOMETHING!), I suck at conversions and other math-y things, so I’ve never made the goodies in there, so I’m sure I’d be checking that out, although I did bookmark a Dampfnudel recipe that I’m dying to try, too (one of the best desserts you’ll ever have).

  6. Doris D.

    I will be able to make a recipe for cookies a lady at our B&B in England gave us. It is all in grams. Nice scale. Would love to win this and it would fit right in with my Weight Watcher menus.

  7. Linda S.

    I would make the almond cake from the recipe my cousin in Italy gave me, but it’s in grams, so I need a scale to make the conversion.

  8. Big Sis

    Well I have this great baking cook book that someone near and dear to my heart gave me and all the recipes in it are grams! Darn europeans… I sit and guess and hope for the best!!

  9. Cyndi

    Something from a lovely book I have called The Victorian Book of Cakes. Everything is by weight and I haven’t baked a darned thing from it. It is quiet lovely though!

  10. Kat

    Let’s be serious, the act of making sure that my measurements (in cups) are precise enough for baking very nearly gives me an anxiety attack. I am so not sure if this would help or hurt.

    That being said, I am SO disappointed that The Sahara Desert was such a bomb – especially since the strawberries et jam looked just beyond wonderful.

    • Not gonna lie, Kat. I thought about cutting off that top layer of berries & crumb topping in an effort to salvage it. I was so disappointed in that dry cake layer. There are just no words for wasting berries & jam like that. As for the scale, it’s not really about getting your cups precisely measured. I place the value in being able to crank out a recipe that calls for 20 ounces of fresh berries or 100 grams of flour. In those cases, the scale literally does all the work for you. I love that part.

  11. Mary

    What a fantastic opportunity! I would use this amazing scale to make all the fabulous traditional Ecuadorian recipes in a cookbook I brought back from South America. I lived there for a year & miss the amazing cuisine. Can’t use the cookbook because all the recipes are metric. OXO sure would change that problem!
    Thank you!

  12. Fourteen and 1/8 ounces of flour?! Are you kidding me?! And to think that you measured it accurately with that slick new scale, and it still didn’t work out? Well, clearly it was a poorly written recipe and no fault of your own. ;) I like the idea of scraping off the top and slapping it on ice cream. Good save.

    Given the opportunity to weigh everything at my fingertips, I’d be all over it. That pull out readout-screen-thingie is awesome.

    • I know, right? That’s exactly why I tackled that recipe first. If it was that fussy (down to an 1/8th of an ounce!), it was made for this scale. The cake part of that recipe is clearly off. Actually, the crumb topping part made twice as much as was needed, also. I’m wondering if that was someone’s poor conversion. Can’t think of any other reason it would be so off. Guess they could have used this scale, too!

      • It almost seems like they did the actual measuring and then converted that to weights with a conversion chart? If that is the case, then depending on whether the flour was sifted or aerated or whatever the measurements would be off. Dorky things like this keep me up at night. ;)

  13. Craftiest #4

    Ooohhhhaaahhhh. I love my tiny food scale but this this one is dreamy! First recipe up? I’m thinking an old fashioned pound cake topped off with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. I’m drooling all ready. Pick me, pick me!!!!

  14. BamaBoy

    Well, I personally would make YOU an 8oz filet, 6 bbq shrimp and a bacon wrapped scallop. Then I would have your daughter make a cherri coffee cake which we could enjoy with a latte… Note: If I don’t win, you get an overcooked pot roast, raw potatoes, an old stale twinkie and a cup of foldgers instant coffee! Go ahead, say I won’t do it!

    • No, I won’t say it. I know you’d do it, and I know I’d laugh my butt off when you did. For the record, my beloved son-in-law, it would not be my first stale twinkie (insert snickering here). Hahahahaha

  15. While I would love a new scale with the extra features that the OXO one has, I will say that someone without one to start with should get this one. But I will definitely look for it when mine dies. I use it all the time for measuring ingredients, making sure that my smaller loaf pans have about equal amounts of batter, etc. Quite useful.

    I thought that you might like to know that Trader Joe’s now has a Speculoos Cookie Cream filled dark chocolate bar. I thought of you this afternoon when I bought one. Yum!

    • You should definitely look at this one when you’re ready to replace your old one. It really is terrific, and with a retail price of about $30, it’s more affordable than a lot of other scales on the market. Thanks also for the tip on the Trader Joe’s Speculoos bar. They’ll be opening 3 stores in the Houston area later this year. This is going on my shopping wish list. Thanks, Lisa!

      • My family loves TJs. They are finally opening one near my Mom and Sister and they both apparently danced around their kitchens when they found out. I gave my husband a piece of the Speculoos bar and he said that it was really good, too. I didn’t tell him what the filling was until after he tasted it. I’ll be stopping for more of those for my hidden treat stash. Yes, I will.

        And I will definitely keep the scale on the list for replacement time. I like that it holds 5 lbs. Mine stops at 3, I think, and doesn’t have the indicator to track how close to that weight I am getting.

  16. The Baby

    Way cool, but I foresee weighing Pinewood Derby cars for scouts. And I would totally put everything in the house under 5 pounds on there!

  17. Deb

    This is awesome!! I am a cookbook hound & found some really neat ones at a book sale with some great recipes that looked soooo good, but had grams, etc.. I thought I’d love to make them & with this scale I could!!! Love this!!!!

  18. Kristy

    Oh my heavens!! I would LOVE this sweet little gem! The first thing I would bake is a recipe from my sweet friend who is from South Africa and writes ALL her recipes in grams!! It’s truly maddening, I tell ya!! ;)

    So pick me! Pick me! :)

  19. Julie L

    Just what I need mine doesn’t work anymore thanks :)

  20. We need a scale!! We’ve gone perfectly caveman (AKA paleo) and measuring accurate portions’o’meat is not always easy. Sure the cavemen didn’t have a food scale – but man had a dream and “it’s a great big beautiful tomorrow!” (Name THAT Disney Attraction!)

    • Who could forget? I rode “The Carousel of Progress” at least 20 times. I can sing the entire song.

    • Claudia

      Weighing meat? No weigh! ;-)
      Seriously though – we’ve been jumping off and on the Paleo bandwagon for years now, but one of the main advantages of this “diet” is that you never have to weigh anything. I haven’t used my scale in ages, so I was just wondering what radical caveman invented measuring…

      • I’m guessing cave women invented measuring, since we’re far more organized. And modern cavemen love their gadgets. Especially the electronic kind. I wonder what early man would think of our iPhones, iPods, iPads, GPS, laptops, Kindles, etc. They’d probably shake their heads and go hide in a cave.

  21. I love this post… and it is SO helpful. I have copied it and saved it too.. into a file on my emails for further reference. (and smiles.) :) Thank you! Sandi

  22. S. Isaac

    You always make me laugh and now you convinced me scales are the way to go! You have way too much influence! I was going to be anti-scale and now i can’t be anymore…Even layers of cake batter would really be awesome around here, though.

  23. Cat

    I would love to start baking with a scale! How about a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting!

Leave a Reply to NanaBread Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s