If you have a set of scales in your kitchen or bathroom, chances are they're made by Salter; the UK brand leader in scales, and a leading retailer of all things kitchen-y.
Now I don't know about you but I tend to get pretty attached to my kitchen gadgets, to the point that I currently use an old broken Salter kitchen scale that my toddler accidentally broke in a baking-related tantrum. I just can't bring myself to part with it because despite the breakage and the complications involved in using it as a result, I know that it works, is accurate, and helps me turn out perfect pineapple upside down cake on a regular basis.
So I'm going to admit that when I was asked to try out a new kitchen scale, I was dubious, and all the more so when I realised the scale I was being sent was an electronic one, given that my old-fashioned scale works perfectly well. I saw no reason to switch to electronic scales.
The new Salter Electronic Jug Scale (£20) doesn't look as good as my current set of kitchenscales and switching from mechanical scales to electronic ones does take a bit of adjusting to. I admit that it's infinitely easier to use the electronic scales but at first I missed the good old-fashioned chaos of spooning tiny amount of flour into the bowl and then having to spoon them out again in a bid to get the measurement exactly right.
But after using the electronic scale a couple of times, I was a convert. The hug bowl feels ever so slightly on the cheap side - I would have preferred the look and feel of a silver bowl or at least something a bit more luxurious than white plastic. But it does have a cleverly designed pouring lip which makes it brilliantly easy to pour cake make straight into tins, making the whole baking experience easier and much less easy. My children could pour our cupcake mix straight into tiny paper cases by themselves which they loved - they get frustrated when trying to do it with a bowl and teaspoon and it invariably ends up everywhere but in the tin.
My favourite feature about the scale is the Add and Weigh™ function make which allows you to reset the scale to 0 every time you've weighed out an item, so you can effectively weigh out all your baking ingredients into one bowl. And its 5kg Aquatronic™ facility means that you can change the digital display to weigh both wet and dry ingredients. So whereas my mechanical scale would require me to weight each ingredient separately, and then store each one in a different bowl to allow me to use the scale again, I can weigh absolutely everything at the same time with the Electronic Jug Scale, and when I'm finished I can pour the ingredients directly into my baking tin. That's impressive and has radically changed how easy it is to bake, especially with children in tow. The only drawback is that the bowl could perhaps be larger. Depending on what you're baking, you might find it isn't big enough to mix all the ingredients in properly but even so, switching to a mixing bowl isn't a big deal considering all the washing up you save by not having to weigh the ingredients out separately.
Our other trusty reviewer, Salima, test-drove a Salter Mix ‘n’ Measure Baking Electronic Scale (£44.99) with a spacious 10 litre mixing bowl. Designed to make kitchen time clutter free, the Aquatronic™ scales also boast the Add and Weigh™ facility and comes with a 15 year guarantee.
Here's what she had to say:
"The RRP for this scale is just under £45 but a quick google and you can find it for £30. I'm a keen baker so the scale got some good use over the Easter break. Salter have added some fantastic features to this product that really do make a cook's life easier. You can measure both solids and liquids (ml/fl oz) on the scale, so no more measuring jugs to wash up! On top of that you can measure one ingredient then reset the weight to zero and measure another ingredient directly into the same bowl. Pancake making is now a complete breeze - one bowl and none of the head bobbing that's required to keep checking the weight on mechanical scales. On the basis of these features alone, I love this product! When you bake as much as I do, they really do make life SO much easier."
However Salima was less than impressed with the design of the Mix 'n' Measure Electronic Scale;
"The scale comes with a metal bowl that's very wide on top and then quite narrow at the bottom. This makes it awkward to combine ingredients properly and very awkward to use an electric whisk in it. The scale's surface is shaped to fit the bowl exactly, which means it's got a small, round, dip to accommodate the small base of the bowl. That doesn't allow for the variety of bowls that i have in my kitchen. Yes i can make them fit but then i'm back to head-bobbing as i check that the bowl isn't wobbling on the base."
For that reason, Salima doesn't recommend purchasing this particular scale but offers this advice:
"My advice to anyone considering this scale is, steer clear, and do instead what I plan to: have a look at the many other Salter scales on offer and find yourself one with all these great features minus the bowl-shaped dip."
This looks like a better option for Salima.
I would happily recommend the Electronic Jug Scale and predict that I'm going to become quite attached to it. I might even get round to getting rid of the broken one I've used for years!
For more information on Salter’s entire range of kitchen products see www.salterhousewares.com or contact Salter on +44 1732 360 783.