The Importance of Pourfection for Baking
Sep 10, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose
POURfect Bowls, Beakers, and Measuring Spoons
Good design is something I value very highly. The first thing I learned about design when I was a freshman in college, is the concept of form following function. Over the years I have found it to be both disappointing and outrageous that in the arena of home baking, the critical tools--measuring spoons and cups with spouts for measuring liquid--have fallen so far from this design principle and, more often than not, are inconsistent in accuracy. I kept thinking: no wonder so many people are under the mistaken impression that baking is hard--there is no standard of measure for the ingredients and unfortunately most people seem to think that measuring is easier than weighing.
When I bake, I weigh almost every ingredient except for small but essential ingredients like baking powder, baking soda, salt, and yeast. 1/8 teaspoon more or less of baking powder or baking soda makes a critical difference in determining whether a cake will dome, have a flat surface, or sink in the middle--as does 1/8 teaspoon of yeast in bread baking which can affect the rising time by as much as an hour for each rise. Most scales don't measure these minute ingredients as accurately as measuring spoons do. And I know most people who bake measure liquid by volume not weight.
With each new brand or design of measuring spoons and liquid measuring cups I eagerly ran (with hope in my heart) to the sink to start checking by pouring in water. A cup of water, by the way, measures 8 fluid ounces but does not weigh 8 ounces. Look up water in the dictionary. It defines one fluid 8 ounce cup of water as 238.35 grams which is 8.4 ounces. The volume reading should be taken at eye level and the meniscus--the clear space at the very top--should be above the line. (Incidentally, liquid measures are not designed to measure solids such as sugar and flour which need measuring cups with unbroken rims on which to level off the ingredient.)
While I've been hoping desperately for accurate measuring cups for liquid and accurate measuring spoons, I've also wished for pitchers with spouts that didn't drip. Randy Kaas has just fulfilled both dreams with his line of POURfect beakers and measuring spoons. But he is also providing something I never even dared dream of: The POURfect bowls which enable you to pour ingredients into a stand mixer while it is running without danger of hitting the paddle beater or spilling a single drop of liquid or smidgen of flour. Beyond that, it is comfortable to hold with one hand and a small "rocker" below the tear-drop shaped spout latches onto the bowl to keep it from falling into the mixer bowl. This man thinks of everything.
The measuring spoons come in every useful increment, starting with a set of teaspoons measures: 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, and a second set of teaspoon measures: 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1 1/2, and 1 tablespoon. They also come with a clever little flat scraper to level off the ingredient.
The beakers, which are a pleasure to hold as well as behold, are 2 cup capacity, with the standard division of cup markings plus both fluid ounces and milliliters, and can be used for boiling liquids in the microwave. The bowls come in 6 cup and 8 cup capacity. All of these POURfect products are dishwasher safe.
Isn't it interesting that the food world has an award for just about everything except kitchen equipment design. Our beloved Kitchen Aid sponsors baking awards. But they are the ones who deserve an award for enabling us to bake at a higher level as does Cuisinarts who pioneered the food processor, My Weigh Scale that makes accurate weighing an affordable pleasure, CDN thermometers with the new "quick tip technology" (what can be more important than temperature in baking), and now Randy Kaas who should be knighted for his contributions.
Randy has been baking and cooking since 4 years of age (his grandmother was a finalist in the Pillsbury bake-off the year he was born) and has been involved in specialty utensils for close to 30 years, also offering product design suggestions to major companies. We are so lucky Randy has such a passion for baking coupled with a missionary goal to make it still more enjoyable for everyone including himself. I can't wait to see what other great designs he has in the hopper! And now my oft repeated phrase: "If only there were..." can change to "I'll ask Randy to make..."