Scale - A Must Have
I thought I'd include this quick word of advice for those home and semi-professional want-to-be bakers out there that a scale is VERY necessary when you want to bake like the pros. If you think about it, recipes are really about ratios - ratio of liquid to fat to flour to sugar. When you weigh things, you ensure those ratios stay accurate. Now, it's not that if you don't own a scale, you can't bake amazingly delicious things. I have gone baking without a scale for the majority of my life. It's just that when it comes to baking, there are quite a few more recipes (as opposed to cooking) where accuracy is very much important. You have probably heard this before, but the difference between someone who scoops a cup of flour and another person scooping that same cup of flour can sometimes differ by up to a couple ounces. Some people spoon their flour into the cup, and some people pack it a bit more. That extra flour can contribute to additional gluten being developed making a tougher dough.
Now, cup measurements are great because they are quick and easy, and it really works for "more solid" type ingredients such as salt or sugar. But for things you can really pack i.e. flour, confectioners sugar, even brown sugar, the difference in the recipe can be huge - especially for more delicate type desserts. You know from my initial post of A Baker's Life that consistency is just as important as accuracy when you work in a commercial kitchen. Using a scale is a way you can ensure that your pies, cookies, cakes - especially cakes - come out the way you had made them before.