A kitchen device used to accurately record the weight of ingredients. Kitchen scales are particularly important for consistent baking results and for weighing meats in order to estimate cooking time. Though there are many styles of kitchen scales, there are two basic typesspring and balance scales. Spring scales register weight when an item is placed in the weighing pan, which then depresses a spring attached to a recording dial. A bowl scale is a type of spring scale which uses a bowl container rather than a shallow-sided pan. As spring scales get older the spring may weaken, thereby reducing the scale's accuracy. The more accurate usually have a pan for ingredients on one side and a platform for weights on the other. The ingredient's weight is determined when it balances with the weights on the other side. The main disadvantage of a balance scale is that it usually takes up more room than a spring scale. The less popular beam balance scales use weights that slide along two bars. The correct weight registers when the bars balance.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.