#11  
Old 03-18-2006, 02:36 PM
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Default Escali Vitra scale

I like the aesthetics of this one, which is only about $45 shipped:
http://www.cutleryandmore.com/detail...oducts&kw=8270

I found this searching for "digital scale" at froogle.google.com (which is where I start all my online shopping). I think I just picked mine up at Wal-mart for < $20. It only weighs to 5 lbs, but that's plenty for my mixer capacity.
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  #12  
Old 03-20-2006, 11:05 AM
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Location: Pebble Beach, CA
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Thumbs up Digital Scale

Wow. I should have done this years ago. I bought a digital scale from Walmart ($29). It goes up to 5lbs and does both pounds/oz and grams. It is easy to use, and you get much more accurate control over your dough -- both for bread and pizza dough. I've always thought of recipes a rough guidelines and I never really follow them anyway, but bread is different. Getting the ratio exactly right really help.

The first thing I found is that you can control hydration down to a few drops water in order to get it just right for the flour you are using and the feel that you want. My first experiment was a basic pizza dough.

500 grams Tipo 00 flour (about 1.1 lbs)
325 grams water
plus about 2 tsp yeast and 2 tsp salt (those weren't as accurate).

In the Baker's percentage, this is

100% flour
65% water

It worked great and was fast and easy. This is a basic 65% hydration dough, and it worked perfectly. I like to go fast with my baking because I do a lot of it, and work it into the rest of my day, and this works really well.

I have since made whole wheat bread and have two side-by-side recipes of Pane l'ancienne straight out of The Breadbaker's Apprentice. I'm using the same hydration and two different flours (Caputo and Giustos bread flour) to see how they work.

Lot's of fun.

Thanks to everyone who recommended baking by volume. I would recommend it very highly.

James
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  #13  
Old 03-20-2006, 02:15 PM
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Location: Prince Albert, Ontario, Canada
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Default Kitchen Scales

James,

I use a Salton Model 1006 electronic scale that goes to 22 lbs. After working with mechanical scales in the past, I'd have to say that digital is the only way, because of accuracy and the ability to measure very small quantities to fairly large quantities in either grams or kilograms, ounces or pounds. That way no error-prone conversion is necessary if you want to try a metric recipe. One of the essential features is that you can put on your container, zero the scale, then add what you're weighing. The scale simply ignores the weight of the empty container, no matter how heavy. I've found this cuts down on a lot of washing up. It will go as low as an eighth of an ounce, Imperial, or one gram, metric. The fineness of division should be a factor in judging any scale, as well as the zeroing ability. Mine uses two largish flat batteries, the kind that power the clock in a computer. These are fairly expensive to replace, but my scale is three years old and I've never had to do it.

Peter Reinhart, in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, has a very interesting list of ingredients by weight on page 28. Light bulb ; coarse sea salt by measurement is a lot lighter than table grind salt. Only by weight am I able to get the correct amount, and believe me, an ounce of coarse salt looks like too much but isn't. Made enough of a difference to justify the cost of the scale.

I go through flour fairly quickly in 25 pound bags, but I do transfer about ten pounds to large, food safe plastic containers for immediate use. Keeps it fresher, I think. Also, I store all flour in a dark and fairly cool pantry.

Hope that's some help. By the way, Salton is an English company that's been in business for about a zillion years; lifetime warranty and all that. Stiff upper lip.

One more note. Recently, I picked up a sheet of corian at a yard sale. Until my baker's table makes it out of my woodshop, I've been using it on top of the kitchen table for dough prep. Absolutely fabulous--for five bucks, too.

Jim
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  #14  
Old 03-20-2006, 02:34 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Napa California
Posts: 46
Default Accuracy of scales

I've been using a Soehnle brand scale to measure my flour and water--it's accurate to point .05. I just bought another scale to measure yeast, salt etc. that is accurate to point .001. My goal was to try and make an authentic N.Y. pizza. My wife who hated pizza before we had the oven, now has become a big fan. --- Mel
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  #15  
Old 03-20-2006, 03:02 PM
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Hi Mel,

Do you think it is ever going to stop raining (Napa/Sonoma)? We're coming up on 45" this winter. Ouch.

What % hydration are you using with your Caputo Pizza flour? The more I think about this, I am concluding that getting the perfect hydration with a scale is the way to make consistently excellent dough. Much less hit-and-miss.

James
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:12 PM
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Hi James---I actually use King Arthur Sir Lancelot HI-Gluten flour. The water is 63% hydration. I'm really happy with the oven performance now that I have learned to manage the fire. I can make as many New York 18 inch pies in a row and not have the hearth cool off. It's amazing to be able to make a pie taste like the ones I ate as a kid growing up. ---Mel
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  #17  
Old 03-20-2006, 04:26 PM
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That's great. For folks who don't know, Mel has a Forno Bravo Premio.

I'll bite. Where did you get your 18" wide peel? It it wood?
James
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  #18  
Old 03-20-2006, 05:47 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Napa California
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Hi James-- I got the peel at Castino Restauarant Supply in Rohnert Park. It's wood, 18" wide, and the oven opening is 18.5" For our crush party in October I made 6 18' pies as an appetizer. People were very impressed with the oven and pizza. I'm looking forward to your cooking class, I'll let you know how many people I can get. THANKS---Mel
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  #19  
Old 03-21-2006, 08:49 AM
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Default Video Demos

Parsley,

Thanks for the detailed dough recipe on your web site; I'll give it a try. You mention that you want to actually see a pro ball pizza dough. Why not go to pbs.org/juliachild/video. There is at least one streaming video there of Julia with a pizzaola (sp), and he goes through the whole thing. Unfortunately, I can't remember his name or which episode, but it's an easy site to navigate by subject. There's lots and lots more, including bread demos by people like Nancy Silverton. Great resource.

Jim
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  #20  
Old 03-28-2006, 10:12 AM
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Default Balling dough w/ Julia

Jim,
Wow, thanks for the Julia reference! I watched the dough balling at work (cool), and I'll have to bring my laptop home to watch the rest over the weekend.
David
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