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Drop review: An iPad-connected scale for beginning bakers

Caitlin McGarry | Jan. 28, 2015
I love to bake, but it can be such a finicky process. Add too much baking soda? Your cookies are ruined. Try to substitute regular milk for buttermilk? Disaster. It doesn't allow for interpretation the same way cooking does. That's why Drop's new iPad-connected scale is so compelling: It simplifies even complicated recipes down to baby steps, no measuring required.

I love to bake, but it can be such a finicky process. Add too much baking soda? Your cookies are ruined. Try to substitute regular milk for buttermilk? Disaster. It doesn't allow for interpretation the same way cooking does. That's why Drop's new iPad-connected scale is so compelling: It simplifies even complicated recipes down to baby steps, no measuring required.

I already bring my iPad into the kitchen to replace my recipe collection and act as my spirit cooking guide. Setting up Drop's $100 Bluetooth scale and companion app just makes my tablet even more useful.

The setup

Drop lacks a display of any kind, but it's incredibly easy to set up. It comes equipped with a battery that works out of the box. Simply tap the button on the front of the scale and wait for the red LED light to flash, which means it's ready to go. Then install the Drop Kitchen app on your late-model iPad — the original and second-gen iPads are sadly incompatible with Drop — and make sure the app is open before you try to pair your devices. If the app isn't open, your iPad's Bluetooth will search endlessly to find Drop and won't be able to find it.

After the small red teardrop-shaped scale is paired to your iPad, take a spin with Drop Kitchen and find some recipes you like. The app has tips, tricks, and step-by-step instructions for baking a variety of treats. It also weighs the ingredients you dump into the mixing bowl placed on top of the scale and displays your progress. In theory, you should never need to use a measuring utensil again.

The test

I put Drop through its paces with two of the app's cookie recipes. At first it was a little strange that the scale lacks a display — which definitely limits its appeal — but as you start spooning and squeezing ingredients into the mixing bowl, watch as the app reflects in real-time how much you're adding. A dotted line marks the target weight, so keep adding ingredients until you hit the mark. Just make sure to zero out (or tare) the app so it doesn't take into account the weight of the bowl or the other ingredients you've already put in it.

I made very basic chocolate chip cookies first and then more complicated confections with banana, oats, chocolate chips, and walnuts, both without any measuring cups or spoons. (OK, I did use a 1-cup measure to scoop out flour, but otherwise I would've been covered in a fine white dust.) The app recognizes when you've added enough of an ingredient and proceeds on its own to the next ingredient card. In some cases I needed to manually tap to move ahead, but you can tap the scale's button instead of your iPad to avoid smudging its screen.

 

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