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Hello,

What is the best digital scale that dependably measures items to 0.01 gram precision? I'm l looking for something food-safe, to be used in the kitchen. It doesn't have to be waterproof as such, but should be easy to clean with a towel.

TIA!

P.S. Most kitchen digital scales only measure to 1 gram resolution. I need higher granularity for measuring out small amounts of spices and cultures.

asked Jan 14 '12 at 13:31

sairuh's gravatar image

sairuh
1

edited Jan 14 '12 at 13:34


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I'm an amateur cook, and baking is not my long suit. I've been baking sourdough bread regularly, one loaf at a time, using in part freshly ground flour. I'd been getting many "flying saucers" despite controlling the usual causes, till I read that "green" (not aged) flour can be a prime culprit in poor gluten formation. My sources Hamelman and Suas are indeed aimed at professionals, but contain actual information sorely lacking in home guides (many of which don't even assume scales). They both discuss the use of small quantities of ascorbic acid as a remedy. This has helped dramatically.

Before reading these new posts, I had just started a new loaf of bread, using 40 ppm ascorbic acid. So imagine my amusement, reading about my "disingenuous" comment! This is a good example for explaining my "I can't imagine" remark, as I too couldn't imagine a reliable procedure until reading Suas; doing this reliably is an issue even in a commercial bakery.

I measured 10 grams of ascorbic acid and 190 grams of white flour, and mixed these together as thoroughly as possible: many iterations of sifting and stirring. I labeled this jar "1:20 AA". I then measured 20 grams of this mixture and 380 grams of white flour, and mixed these together as thoroughly as possible: many iterations of sifting and stirring. I labeled this jar "1:400 AA". For today's loaf, I measured 10 grams of this mixture into the autolyse stage, with the freshly ground flour. The effect that I observe is pronounced and appears to scale with the ppm that I specify; I'd guess that my accuracy is within 30%. With a better scale I surely could do better.

One needs a sense of humor and reasonable expectations with affordable tools, and one needs some cleverness to apply them to best effect. I was indeed here looking for information on better scales than I now own.

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answered May 08 '13 at 08:10

Syzygies's gravatar image

Syzygies
1

The approach you describe above is reasonable, but as you state you are probably easily off by 30% or more. Mixing well is a VERY complicated art (important in Pharma and food manufacturing). e.g. if the texture of the ascorbic acid is very different then the texture of the flour, and I am sure it is, then merely sifting, stirring, and re-sifting will not give you a homogenous mixture... but I am nerding out.

You need a pinch of ascorbic acid to fix your bread recipe, and you seem to have achieved the desired effect. Excellent.

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answered May 08 '13 at 12:18

striperguy's gravatar image

striperguy
1

@striperguy, I provided the details of my baking to illustrate that my comment wasn't disingenuous, nor was I fooling myself. Do you ever retract statements in light of new evidence? I'm aware of mixing issues; the cutoff phenomenon as observed in industrial mixing processes was first proved to exist in the paper "Trailing the Dovetail Shuffle to its Lair", of which I am a coauthor.

Another home application for the best scale one can readily obtain is mixing beverages. There's a current revival of old school sodas, for example. Try mixing a cola recipe without accurate methods for working with small quantities.

The way to call shenanigans here is to empirically test the best reviewed affordable scale of this type. Is it worth the money, if one already has a scale one trusts to 2 gram accuracy? It is a freshman mistake to confuse precision with accuracy. I want a 0.01 gram readout, I dismiss the sales pitch without taking offense, and I'll work with whatever accuracy I can get. What's the best affordable scale out there? It's just a tool, and affordable tools generally make demands on the competency of the user.

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answered May 08 '13 at 12:55

Syzygies's gravatar image

Syzygies
1

I apologize for the "disingenuous" comment. Sounds like you could teach me a thing or two about mixing.

I find often on teh internets there are folks out there raving about some nerd tech fetish object without really understanding the principles behind them. Clearly that is not the case here.

I actually posted a review on an excellent scale for postal use etc elsewhere on this board, but not at all what you are looking for.

Still not sure I understand the utility of the .01 gm readout if it is easily off by 50% or more. (Just for clarification, I'm not being disingenuous here ;-), how is it more useful than a scale with say a .1 gm readout that is in fact accurate?

P.S. I just pulled your publication and will give it a read.

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answered May 08 '13 at 13:29

striperguy's gravatar image

striperguy
1

I also occurs to me that you would get MUCH more reliable mixing by dissolving your ascorbic acid in water and using the water to make your bread.

Use the same 1:20, and then 1:400 ratios and I bet you can get much closer to your desired amount.

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answered May 09 '13 at 06:20

striperguy's gravatar image

striperguy
1

You don't need an analytic balance to do 0.01 grams. I regularly use one in my classroom. This one http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=20596 sold by Flinn isn't cheap but I've used its equivalent for years with good results.

The key idea for a scale is the ratio of precision and accuracy to capacity. Cheap scales can be precise but rarely have much capacity. More expensive scales are precise and can measure a lot of weight.

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answered May 30 '13 at 21:25

zkossover's gravatar image

zkossover
1

Uhhh, to the most recent poster, from the specs of the scale you are advocating as a solution:

Precision (g)- +/- 0.01

Click on the specifications tab of the product.

Thus, it measures to .01 grams, give or take .01 grams. i.e. you can not measure with any reliability to .01 grams.

You DO need an analytical balance to get that kind of precision.

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answered Jun 04 '13 at 12:10

striperguy's gravatar image

striperguy
1

I’ve used a torbal BTA model. It has a 0.01g resolution which is what you are looking for, but only 200g capacity which sometimes is not enough, other than that the scale works really well. I’ve had it for over a year now and no issue. It’s relatively easy to clean; it has a sealed front panel. I bought this thing on sale for around $300 - http://www.torbalscales.com/industrial/precision-general-purpose/precision.html

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answered Sep 07 '13 at 20:04

damiancarlos's gravatar image

damiancarlos
1

In addition, you don't weigh ascorbic. It comes in tablets on a carrier to increase its size. You calculate the number of tablets based on ppm desired in the formula and pounds of flour in the batch size to determine the number of tablets required. Scales with divisions of smaller than 1g are significantly affected, as others here have noted, by vibration and air currents. Another factor mentioned is absolutely true, you get what you pay for. Cost is based on number of divisions and accuracy of the scale. If something in scales is to inexpensive to believe, it is probably sacrificing quality and accuracy.
I weigh and grind my own coffee as well and an accurate 0.1g scale is all that is needed. Same with any other ingredient in the kitchen, unless, of course, you're preparing for Barbie, but then accuracy won't be nearly as important as a constant supply of 4 watt bulbs for your little pink oven. ;-)

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answered Dec 25 '13 at 11:54

Christian's gravatar image

Christian
1

http://www.flinnsci.com/store/Scripts/ck_prodList.asp (and we got ours for kitchen use for several molecular gastronomy projects. Making juice spheres absolutely requires .01g accuracy.)

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answered Jan 24 at 06:27

bananafish's gravatar image

bananafish
1

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Asked: Jan 14 '12 at 13:31

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Last updated: Feb 14 at 06:59

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