How to Use a Scale for Baking

Have you ever had a baked good come out terribly wrong, even though it came from a trusted source and you are sure you followed the directions? LCK Food Editor and baking expert Kelli Avila talks all about why and how you should be using a scale when baking, especially with gluten-free flours!

how to use a kitchen scaleWhy You Should be Using a Scale for Baking and How to Do it

by: Kelli Avila

If you are looking to improve your baking and cooking skills there is one actionable measure you can to today to do so: buy a kitchen scale. Measuring any type of flour, whether gluten-free or not, can vary when you are using a standard measuring cup. Lexi and I could stand next to each other and each measure a cup of almond flour from the same bag and the actual amount could vary drastically. Various factors can cause the measurement difference such as how much we filled the cup, or how hard we scooped it up, or how tightly the flour was packed into the bag. The bottom line is that there is not much consistency with paleo or gluten-free flour measurement when you are using a standard cup to scoop it out. Not even if you sift it and fill the cup up with a spoon and then level it.

While I’ve personally and professionally been working with a scale for the last 10 years, it became more apparent when I started working here at Lexi’s Clean Kitchen and developing recipes with alternative flours, that a scale is an essential tool to maintain accuracy for gluten-free and paleo baking or cooking.how to use a scale for baking

Why we made the switch

When we were developing the oat flour muffins we noticed that the muffins changed texture depending on the brand of the oat flour we were using. This was not because of the actual brand, but it was because the brands varied on how tightly their oat flour was packed in the bag. Consequently, this effected how much was measured out in a cup measurement. Once we switched over to only using a scale to measure the oat flour we were able to bake up consistent (super delicious) oat flour muffins, with no difference between brands of oat flour. 

Recipes using coconut flour are even more important to weigh because just an extra teaspoon of coconut flour could affect a recipe negatively since it’s so absorbent.

We’ve also noticed that previous tried and true recipes came out different when we measured the flour with the scale as opposed to with the cup measurement. For instance, we found that when we made the gluten-free biscuits with the scale they baked up flatter than when they did when we measured the flour with a cup measurement. The reason for this was because consistently when we measured the almond flour with the cup measurement we were actually getting about 1-1/4 cup as opposed to the 1 cup the recipe was calling for. That meant that the actual correct amount of almond flour needed for that recipe to be a success was 1-1/4 cup of almond flour, when measured correctly. When we discovered this we knew it was officially time to talk about how important it is to pick up a scale and use it if you want consistent results.

Have I convinced you yet that it’s time to make a tiny investment in a kitchen scale to improve your baking? Please say yes!

Why Using a Scale will Change your Life

  1. Your baked goods will come out consistent (so long as you’re baking from a trusted source, like Lexi’s Clean Kitchen!)
  2. You’ll wash less dishes: a scale means you’ll use way less measuring cups and spoons!
  3. You’ll need less prep time because you won’t be reaching for this or that size measuring cup or spoon
  4. You won’t have to sift any flour again (though if it’s really clumpy you can whisk it in the bowl it’s been measured in)
  5. You can easily divide batter between cake pans or for any other recipe that calls for it

using an electronic kitchen scaleHow to Use a Scale

  1. Place your empty bowl on the scale and press “tare” or “zero” until it reads 0.
  2. Add your ingredient until it reaches your desired number. If your scale allows (and hopefully it does) you can easily switch between grams and ounces, depending on what the recipe calls for.
  3. Before adding your next ingredient press the “tare” or “zero” button to get back to 0.

FAQs on Kitchen Scales

What kind of scale should I get?

There are a few different types on Amazon. Here is the one we use in the test kitchen. Just make sure the one you buy can switch between grams and ounces.

What’s the difference between grams and ounces?

They are different units of measuring! As we stated above, get a scale that you can switch to with a touch of a button, so there is no need to convert any recipes. Most recipes will state a weight in either grams or ounces. We typically use grams in our new recipes as they are the most precise. So if any given recipe calls for grams in the measurement of the flour, you make sure the scale is on that measurement. If later in the recipe it switches to ounces (like if you are measuring liquid) just press the button and switch over to it!

What happens if it shuts off?

On occasion a scale might shut off right in the middle of measurement. Some scales will automatically revert to the previous number it had before it shut off. If your scale doesn’t do this, you can figure out the weight of what you are measuring by placing an empty bowl on the scale, zeroing it out and pouring the food you were measuring into the new bowl, and this will give you the number you left off with. If the bowl had more than one ingredient in it, you’ll have to add up the weight of anything you previous put in it and then subtract that by the measured number on the scale and you’ll get the amount you left off with.

Can I measure everything in the same bowl? 

Yes, and you should! Use the tare button to zero out the scale each time you want to add a new ingredient.

If you have any questions about how to use a scale, leave them in the comments and we will be sure to answer them!

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Using a scale for baking

How to Make a Gluten-Free Pie Crust

This nut-based Gluten Free Pie Crust is buttery and so delicious! It uses almond flour and tapioca flour and it is great for both savory and sweet pies and is so easy to work with. It’s gluten and grain free, with option for a dairy-free alternative.

Gluten free pie crust disksGluten Free Pie Crust

This gluten free and grain free pie crust has been on the Lexi’s Clean Kitchen website (and book) for some length of time, but we’ve never taken it out of the various recipes and singularly focused on how to make it, and shared all the tips we can in one spot. So we’re doing that now to talk all about how to make this buttery and delicious crust! It uses our trusted blend of almond flour and tapioca flour and it’s made quickly in the food processor. It can be used in sweet pie recipes, such as Apple Pie, or savory recipes such as Spring Vegetable Quiche or other fun projects like Pop Tarts or Hand Pies!

Here is what is in this Classic LCK Gluten Free Crust

  • Almond flour
  • Tapioca flour
  • Salt
  • Butter (can sub ghee or coconut oil, but we prefer the taste of grass-fed butter by far)
  • Egg
  • Honey

Ingredients for gluten free pie crust

Tips for Making Gluten Free Pie Crust:

  1. Get all of the ingredients prepared before you begin: Measure out the dry ingredients, cut the butter and make sure it is chilled and crack the egg with the honey in a bowl.
  2. Don’t over-process the dough: Once it has come together stop running the food processor.
  3. Wrap it up! Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, either in 1 or 2 disks, depending on if you are making a double batch.
  4. Let it chill! The longer this dough chills, the better. It’s best to let it sit overnight, but at a minimum it needs 4 hours.

gluten free pie crust recipe in food processor

Tips for Rolling Out Pie Dough

  1. Make sure your dough is thoroughly chilled first: this is the best tip we can offer! This dough is hard to work with when it is warm.
  2. To roll it out we suggest using plastic wrap. Place a piece of plastic wrap down, then place the dough on top, then place another piece of plastic wrap and roll out between the two. We don’t normally tend to suggest using plastic for anything, but with this dough it really works out better on plastic vs. parchment. If you don’t own plastic wrap (we don’t blame you!) parchment paper can work too. Wax paper might work as well, but we did not test that.
  3. Work quickly when rolling, or working with the dough. If it warms up and becomes hard to work with just place it in the refrigerator to cool back down and then begin again. This is especially true in the summer if your home is hot.
  4. If you are making a standard 9″ pie, roll the dough out into an 11″ circle. Then take off the top piece of plastic or parchment, place the pie tin on top of the dough and invert the rolled dough into the dish. Then you can crimp the crust if you desire.

Parbaking gluten free pie crust recipeWhat is par-baking?

Par-baking a pie crust means that you will partially or fully bake the pie crust before placing in the filling. Each recipe you use for the filling will indicate whether or not you need to par-bake the filling, but typically if the pie filling is going to be cooked for long periods of time (like fruit fillings) you do not need to parbake. But if you are making a pie such as a custard or even a no bake filling you’ll want to partially to fully bake the pie crust.

We don’t recommend baking this pie crust at a temperature higher than 350ºF so if you are using this pie crust in place of a regular wheat crust in another pie recipe you might have to adjust the temperature so this crust doesn’t burn.

Can you make this dough ahead of time?

Yes, the dough can be made up to 5 days ahead of time. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap twice. We do not recommend freezing this dough.

Gf pie crust in pie pan

For this recipe we used these tools:

Check out these pie recipes:


Gluten-Free Pie Crust

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:00 Inactive Time 06:00 Total Time 06:10 Yields 1-2 batches

Ingredients

For a single crust

For a double crust

Directions

To Make Pie Crust:

  1. In a food processor combine almond flour, tapioca flour, salt and cold butter and pulse until the butter is broken down into pea-sized pieces.
  2. Add in egg and honey and process until the dough comes together.
  3. Shape dough into one or two round disks (depending on if you are making a double crust), wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. 

To Roll Out Dough:

  1. Between two sheets of parchment or plastic wrap, roll out dough to fit the size of a 9 inch pie tin, about a 12 inch circle. Removing one sheet of parchment and invert the pie dough into your tin.
  2. If you are making a double crust, roll out the remaining dough disk to an 11" circle. If you are making a lattice, cut the dough into 8 or 10 strips (depending on your lattice ability!) and weave the lattice on a sheet of parchment. If at any point the dough feels difficult to work with, place in the refrigerator until the butter is chilled.
  3. Bake pie as directed per chosen recipe.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract requires only two ingredients, and we’re going through the step-by-step process of how to make it. It’s better quality than anything you can buy at the store, for less money and it makes a great gift!

how to make your own vanilla extract

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Here at LCK, we treat vanilla extract like liquid gold. We love using it in all of our baked goods like muffins, cookies and cakes. A good vanilla extract can make a big difference in a recipe, especially ones that only have a few ingredients in it. The price of vanilla beans fluctuate from year to year, and currently they are trending to be very expensive causing the cost of store-bought vanilla extract to rise. In addition to this, there are often quite a few added ingredients besides vanilla bean in the extract that are questionable. All this being said, it makes total sense to make it at home because Homemade Vanilla Extract is SO EASY to make. All you need are two ingredients (vanilla beans and vodka) and about 10 minutes of time to put together a batch!

We’ve included instructions to make a one cup batch, but this is something that is so easy to double or triple to make a great big batch to last a while, or to give out as gifts during the holidays.

how to make vanilla extract from vanilla beans

How Do You Make Homemade Vanilla Extract?

It is so simple! All you need to do is scrape out the beans from 5 vanilla pods (beans) and cut the pods to fit the size of your jar. It is best to use grade B vanilla beans which are better for making extract because they are drier than grade A, which are better for baking with. Place the scraped beans and the cut pods inside of a clean jar and top with 1 cup of alcohol and close with a tight-fitting lid. Scraping the beans leaves the extract with flecks, which we think makes it more authentic, but you can also skip this step and just slice open the beans and place in the jar, or strain it if you don’t want any flecks.

vanilla extract ingredients

What Kind of Alcohol is Used To Make Vanilla Extract?

Any neutral tasting alcohol like vodka is a good choice, but really any 80 proof alcohol like brandy, rum or bourbon is fine so long as you are okay with it imparting a slight flavor. We like to use a gluten-free vodka, like Tito’s.

best bottles for homemade vanilla extract

How Long Does Homemade Vanilla Extract Last?

The jar sits at room temperature and is ready to use at 6 weeks, though it is best to leave it as long as possible. We’ve tasted it at 6 weeks, when it is similar to store-bought extract, and then at 6 months where it is pretty phenomenal and after a year, it is truly the most amazing extract you have ever smelled. Pure extracted vanilla in alcohol has an indefinite shelf life.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you make more than one jar at a time you can make sure you never run out. When one jar starts to get low, place in a few more scraped vanilla beans and top it off with some vodka and set it aside while you start on your second jar.

BONUS: You can also give these out as gifts by purchasing some small jars and putting on a cute label and with some ribbon.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

If you like this “how-to” recipe, try these others:

Watch the video:

P.S. We buy our grade b vanilla beans here.

How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Prep Time 00:10 Total Time 00:10 Yields 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 5 grade B vanilla beans
  • 1 cup gluten-free vodka (We Like Tito's)

Directions

  1. Using a sharp pairing knife, slice vanilla beans in half. Scrape out beans using the back of the knife and place inside of a clean 8 ounce jar. Continue with the remaining vanilla beans. Once they have all been scraped, cut beans in half or to fit jar.
  2. Place cut beans inside the jar and pour in 1 cup of vodka and cover with a tight fitting lid. Let sit at room temperature for at least 6 weeks before use. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor it has.

Recipe Notes

  1. We love to have the flecks of the vanilla beans in the extract, but if you'd like to have a clearer extract you can save the beans for another use, or strain the extract before use.
  2. To make more extract at once, double or triple the recipe.
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There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

Paleo Peach Raspberry Crisp

Raspberry Peach Crumble {Dairy-free, egg-free, paleo-friendly, grain-free, gluten-free} | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

This paleo-friendly, SUPER EASY, Peach Raspberry Crisp is the perfect healthy Summer treat! Packed with Summer fruit, just the right amount of tartness, and so so flavorful! It will definitely be a staple for Summer gatherings with friends and family! It’s grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and so so simple to make!

Paleo Peach CrispPeach Raspberry Crisp Recipe

When I think of summer I think of fresh fruit, delicious summer meals, and being outdoors with friends and family. What is a better addition to that combination than a healthy treat filled with delicious berries? This Raspberry and Peach Crisp is so perfect. Aside from the amazing taste, this dessert is loaded with nutrients! Filled with fresh organic fruit, ground flax, and topped with a blend of raw nuts = fruit crumble perfection. It’s grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and so so simple to make!

Raspberry Crumble Recipe with PeachesIngredients Needed:

  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground flax
  • Walnuts
  • Almond flour
  • Vanilla Extract

Can I use other fruit?

Yes! This recipe is very customizable. You could use nectarines, apricots, or blueberries!

Easy Raspberry Crumble

How to Serve this Paleo Peach Crisp:

You can serve warm or room temperature. I like to top this with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream, but it is equally as delicious all on its own!

How To Make A Raspberry Crumble

Add this to your weekend brunch spread, or pack it away for Summer potlucks and it will definitely be a crowd pleaser again and again!

Want more easy summer fruit desserts? Here are our favorites:


Watch the video: 
 
 

Raspberry Peach Crumble

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:40 Total Time 0:55 Serves 4

Ingredients

    Filling

    • 4 organic peaches, peeled and sliced
    • 6 oz. organic raspberries (blueberries would be great or sub other berry of choice)
    • 1 tablespoon raw honey or maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 tablespoon ground flax

    Topping

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sliced peaches, raspberries, cinnamon, flax, and honey. Mix until well combined.
    3. Grease desired baking dish and pour in the peach and raspberry mixture.
    4. Combine topping ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mix with a fork until crumbly.
    5. Pour crumble mixture evenly over fruit.
    6. Bake for 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and fruit is hot and bubbly.
    7. Serve warm!
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    There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation, at no cost to you! However, I only recommend products I absolutely love and use in my own home! Thank you for supporting Lexi's Clean Kitchen when you shop! See my privacy policy for more information about this, the information we save, and more!

    Kitchen Staples

    You know the feeling when you find an awesome recipe and you get so excited and then you realize you’re missing one or two ingredients? And then those same ingredients keep popping up in other recipes? Well, I know the feeling and I am never happy! I get a lot of questions from people asking about the essential items I have in my kitchen at all times. I feel like this list is ever-growing, but I came up with a (rather large) list that I feel has all the items I use regularly.

    KITCHENSTAPLES

    Oils:

    Condiments:

    Vinegars:

    • Rice vinegar
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • White wine vinegar
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Red wine vinegar

    Sweeteners:

    Spices:

    • Fine Himalayan Sea Salt
    • Pepper Mill
    • Garlic Mill
    • Red Pepper Flakes
    • Italian Seasoning
    • Garlic Granules
    • Onion Granules
    • Cinnamon
    • Basil
    • Cayenne Pepper
    • Paprika
    • Rosemary
    • Parsley
    • Oregano
    • Cilantro
    • Cumin
    • Chili Powder
    • Sesame Seeds
    • Minced Onion
    • Dill
    • Curry Powder
    • Celery Seed
    • Turmeric 

    Baking:

    • Baking Powder
    • Baking Soda
    • Pure Organic Vanilla Extract
    • Unsweetened Cacao Powder
    • Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
    • Ground Flax
    • Chia Seeds

    Powders/Flours:

    Shelf Items: 

    • Nut Butters (read ingredients- get ones that are just the nuts, no added sugars/oils)
    • Diced Tomatoes (preferably organic/no salt)
    • Tomato Sauce (preferably organic/no salt)
    • Tomato Paste (preferably organic/no salt)
    • Coconut Milk (I always keep 1 in the fridge)
    • Organic Chicken Broth
    • Organic Vegetable Broth
    • Organic Beef Broth
    • Organic Bone Broths
    • Unsweetened Applesauce

    Fresh:

    • Garlic
    • Bananas
    • Veggies
    • Fruit
    • Lemons (for fresh juice)
    • Limes (for fresh juice
    • Basil (amongst other herbs, but I love my organic basil plant!)
    • Unsweetened Almond Milk
    • Frozen Organic Berries
    • Organic farm-fresh eggs (local, pasture-raised whenever possible)
    • Spinach
     

    Kitchen Staples 

     Print a printable PDF version HERE.


     

    This post contains affiliate links. 

    P.S. I’d be so grateful if you could take 2 short minutes to complete my 2016 reader survey. I want to make LCK the best it can be for you! Find it here. Thank you so much! 

     

    My Paleo Patisserie Review + GIVEAWAY

    You guys… I am so excited to tell you a little bit about this new amazing cookbook that is out right now called My Paleo Patisserie by Jenni Hulet of The Urban Poser. You’ve likely already heard of this book with all the buzz going on about it, but if you have not, let’s go through some of the details and why it is truly a special book.

    You see, Jenni has been sharing sneak peek recipes of this book for over a year on her Instagram page. Each gorgeous photo shows her talent, craft, and the love she puts into each recipe. I simply love her style. I also love that this book is totally grain-free and all that jazz. I mean HOW? It is truly amazing. There are also a ton of nut-free and egg-free recipes as well. This book is certainly a labor of love and is super unique in the artisan approach of paleo cooking and baking.
    My-Paleo-Patisserie_Frnt_Cvr
    tiramisu

    Some of the pages I have bookmarked are:

    ALL of the marshmallow recipes 

    Bruschetta Tart

    Tiramisu 

    Neapolitan Cake

    Eclairs 

    Waffle cones

    Passion Fruit Curd

    and 

    Meringue Frosting

    drumstick (1 of 1)-49

    See what I mean? Every picture is stunning and drool-worthy. 
    Swiss Meringue Flynn EDIT

    I started off by whipping up a batch of Jenni’s Extra Thin Chocolate Chunk Cookies. They are out-of-this-world delicious. Find them on page 178!
    pp_cookies1So, so delicious.
    PP_Cookies2

    Now you just need to have it, right? You can buy your copy on Amazon here!


    But first… Enter to win a copy below!

    paleopatisseriegiveaway

    Simply comment below to enter. One winner will be chosen by Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 at 12pm EST. US only.