“ Brand: Kenwood / Capacity: 5 kg / Colour: Silver „
~Seems I'm a Slow Learner~
I'm a sporadic cook who goes through brief periods of intense cooking and baking activity and then slips back to longer periods of reliance on toast and stuff you can put in the microwave. However one thing I have learned really only quite recently is that my culinary output is greatly improved if I actually bother to follow recipes - otherwise everything has a tendency to end up only slightly different from everything else. I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds herself doing that. If you're going to use recipes, then the next big learning is that they generally work better if you actually attempt to stick to the weights and measures in the recipe. That way if it all goes horribly wrong you really can blame the recipe.
As an instinctive 'dash of this - pinch of that' type of cook this revelation forced me to adapt my ways considerably. So now as I sit to take a break in the middle of a kitchen cook-fest, waiting patiently as my kitchen timer ticks noisily beside me, contemplating the wholesome feeling that I've already washed up the measuring jugs, the spoon measures and all the rest of the cooking gubbins, I'm left to reflect on my most reliable kitchen - and study - companion; my Kenwood DS800 kitchen scales.
~You only know what's good when you've had 'not so good'~
I had a previous set of quite expensive Salter scales as a wedding present- in fact they're downstairs cluttering up a drawer ever since the battery ran out. Since they took a small round watch-type battery, I probably won't bother to replace the battery because those scales only measured to the nearest 5g which I just don't consider to be near enough. I was making bread a few days ago - I needed something like 16 g of fresh yeast and it would have made a big difference if the scales said '15' and actually meant as little as 12.5g or as much as 17.4g. With smaller ingredient weights, you need better accuracy and thankfully the Kenwood DS800 is happy to provide that.
I've had my scales for four or five years now and I bought them for one simple reason - they were cheap; ludicrously cheap in fact. I picked them up in an electrical store at the outlet village in Bridgend and I'm sure I paid considerably less than £10 for them including the 9V battery that they use. Luckily that's the same type of battery we use in our smoke alarms and the cat flap so there are almost always a few knocking around the house though I've not yet needed to change the battery in these scales. I bought the DS800 for the flat where I live during the week and where they weren't getting much use (due to my tendency to eat out or live off toast when I am there). The scales went home with me one weekend after the old pair ran out of juice and have proven to be so much better than the old ones that there's little prospect of them going back to the flat. They also spend a lot of time in my study where I use them to weigh books before printing posting labels on the Royal Mail website.
~Not the smallest but small enough~
There are much thinner scales on the market but these are still only 5 cm high. The footprint is a very tidy 20 cm by 14 cm and the base has two rubberised pads at the back and a longer pad at the front to help prevent slippage. I can't say I've ever known a set of scales to slip but I guess they're there for a reason. The lower part of the scales is an easy to wipe clean shiny silver-coloured metal, curved to its highest point where the weighing plate is attached to the base. The top is transparent glass and measures 15 cm square. This is large enough for all my mixing bowls but if you use a very large saucepan to weigh into, there can be a problem with not being able to see the display easily. The display is an oblong window, 5cm wide and 1.5 cm high and it's set above three buttons - on for on/off, one to zero the display and a final one to choose the units. Somewhat counter intuitively the unit button is on the left and the on/off at the right - I would probably have switched these two around.
~The DS800 in Use~
Once the ON button is pushed, it takes about 4 seconds for the scales to check themselves and the zero to be displayed. The units you can choose are ounces, grams or kilos thought it's completely beyond me why you need both grams and kilos since the only difference is where they put the decimal point - I can only assume these really are intended to be idiot proof in the literal sense of the term. The zero button (or 'Tare' as it's usually known) enables you to compensate for the weight of the mixing bowl or to add additional ingredients to a mix that's already part weighed.
The maximum weight these scales can deal with is 5 kilos though I've never come close to using them for more than half that amount. Anything heavier can go on the bathroom scales.
Not wishing to teach anyone's grandma to suck eggs, I guess for the sake of reviewing protocol I have to tell you how to use the scales though I'm going to suggest that this is one piece of kitchen equipment that really doesn't need a big instruction book. Here we go - don't worry, you don't need to take notes:
Put the scales on a clear space on your work top and push the ON button. Choose the units you want to weigh in - grams or ounces - by pushing the UNIT button. Unless you are weighing an item directly onto the scales (handy for parcels, not so handy for sugar) put the bowl (or whatever receptacle you plan to put your ingredient into) onto the glass plate and push the ZERO button. Then pour, cut, drop or come up with some other creatively imaginative way to put the ingredient into the bowl and watch the display until you have the right amount. If you want to weigh a second ingredient into the bowl, push the ZERO button again and add the next ingredient. Hey, it's not rocket science. If you've made a mess, wipe down the scales with a damp cloth.
Accuracy is important so I did a quick test to see how consistent the weights shown on the scales are. I took several different items and weighed each again and again, moving the items around the scale plate to see if position made a difference. In most cases there was no change but for a few - where the item is probably right in the middle between to readings, I got a range of one gram - i.e. an item weighing at 199g or 200g. If you put the item too close to the front of the scale plate it can weigh a gram more but no more than that. This is easily accurate enough for the kind of cooking that I do especially since I measure my tiny ingredients (spices, salt etc.) using measuring spoons. However, if I wanted to start a new career as a drug baron, I'd be looking for a more accurate set of ultra fine jewellery scales. (In case anyone is wondering - I'm not planning a career change)
The scales are a neat little appliance that's inexpensive, accurate enough for most kitchen uses, easy to keep clean and inexpensive to keep going because they take a simple battery that's widely available. If I was feeling really lazy, I might go looking for an extra pair because you can guarantee that when I want to weigh a parcel they're downstairs in the kitchen and when I want to cook, they'll be upstairs by the computer. You don't have to spend a lot to get a reliable set of electronic scales - just take care to check how small a unit they'll measure, what the maximum and minimum weights are and how visible the display is when in use. There's really not much more to weighing stuff than that.
I'll start by explaining why I needed a new set of scales as I thought it would give you a laugh. I was making a batch of muffins and went to use my previous set of scales, but the battery was out of juice and the error message kept coming up so I managed with some really old scales I had when I was dieting. Dave looked on EBay and found the special batteries that I needed and I ordered and paid for them. I then decided to put the scales away until the batteries arrived, sadly as I put the scales onto the shelf I misjudged it and dropped them! So I have gone from having scales and no working battery to having a pack of new batteries and no scales! LOL!
I hadn't really thought about how and when I was going to replace the scales but when we were in Matalan last week I saw the Kenwood DS800 Electronic Scale with Glass Platform priced at just £12.00. I decided that this was a bargain I couldn't ignore!
Incidentally these scales currently cost £12.99 plus postage from Amazon or £9.99 plus £4.99 postage from EBay.
The scales were nicely packed in a sturdy box with a clear picture of the scales on the front. A 9v battery is needed to make the scales work but one is not included in the box so you need to buy this separately.
The whole thing comes with a one year guarantee.
The scales themselves are square in shape and look very smart with a chrome effect base and a square glass weighing platform. These scales are the 'add and weigh' sort of scale as opposed to the old fashioned sort which had a bowl in which you put the items to be weighed.
The maximum weight for the scales is 5kg or 11lb, accurate to 1g, so that's fine for general baking even when I am weighing ingredients in heavy Pyrex bowls.
The weighing platform of the scales is made from glass and so is easy to clean and is also resistant to staining. The whole thing stands on rubberized feet so that it is stable on the work surface. Ideal if you are accident prone like me!
There are three buttons on the front of the scales beneath a good sized display window, so even if your eyesight isn't brilliant you should still be able to use these scales.
The right hand button is the on / off button. Obviously enough this switched the machine on and off manually, but it will also switch itself off after a period of inactivity to save the battery.
The middle button is the zero button. This means that you can put the ingredients in your mixing bowl one at a time, returning the display to zero each time so that you weigh each ingredient individually.
The left hand button is pressed to change the weighing unit. You have the choice of kg, grams, lbs or ozs so, for example, you can have the choice whether you weigh your ingredients as 18ozs or 1lb 02ozs if you see what I mean.
Anyway what I am trying to tell you all is that these scales are brilliant. They look smart, they were cheap to buy and they are accurate and easy to clean - what more could I ask?
5kg / 11lbs add and weigh scale with a size 14.9 x 20.2 x 5.5cm / Hygenic glass platform for easy cleaning and resistant to staining / Push buttons for optimum control / Auto and manual shut off / Rubberised feet for added stability / Short name: Kenwood DS800