Oven thermomters...

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Otter

Sous Chef
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
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USA,Minnesota
It seems my oven cooks in faster than the prescribed time on low temperatures and slower on high temperatures. Would an oven themomter be a worthwhile investment, or should I just keep checking the temps with a meat thermometer like I'm doing now?
 

cookienut

Assistant Cook
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
33
Location
Columbus, OH
An oven thermometer would definitely be good investment. If there is something wrong with your oven temperature it needs to be fixed or adjusted. Having an oven thermometer would let you know how much your termperature is off up or down. Also, if you can't get your oven fixed or adjusted, at least with the oven thermometer you would always have the correct oven temperature to bake, roast, etc.
 

PolishedTopaz

Sous Chef
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Aug 25, 2004
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East End of Long Island
Hey....

Oven therms are a good thing to have on hand. But also check for "hotspots". set oven rack in the middle set oven to 250-275 put a piece of bread in each corner of oven rack and 1 in the middle, check for browness after 5 mins.
 

mudbug

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Sep 9, 2004
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NoVA, beyond the Beltway
PolishedTopaz said:
Hey....

Oven therms are a good thing to have on hand. But also check for "hotspots". set oven rack in the middle set oven to 250-275 put a piece of bread in each corner of oven rack and 1 in the middle, check for browness after 5 mins.

What a good idea--I never thought of this. I have a suspected hot spot in one back corner that I've been cooking "around," so this will confirm it one way or another.
 

jasonr

Senior Cook
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
375
Another solution to hotspots is the use of a baking stone. My oven has a hotspot towards the back, which means things brown more quickly the further they are pushed in. I used to rotate my breads to avoid uneven baking. Now that I bake my breads on a baking stone, no rotation is necessary. I have even seen cookbooks that recommend leaving a baking stone in the oven permanently, as a means of ensuring even baking. This means, even if you were making, say a roast chicken, you would leave the roasting pan on top of the stone. I haven't gone this far, but it is worth considering.

And YES, for God's sake, buy an oven thermometer. My oven runs about 25 degrees hotter than the dial says, and if I hadn't bought a thermometer, I never would have known. Now I don't even need to use the thermometer, as I can make the adjustments manually, but the information was invaluable.
 

Bangbang

Executive Chef
Joined
Jul 17, 2004
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USA,Michigan
I use a oven thermometer(cost me 5 bucks)and a pizza stone for 8 bucks. Keep the stone in the oven all the time. You will notice a difference when cooking.
 

scott123

Senior Cook
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
403
Location
USA,NewJersey
PolishedTopaz said:
Hey....

Oven therms are a good thing to have on hand. But also check for "hotspots". set oven rack in the middle set oven to 250-275 put a piece of bread in each corner of oven rack and 1 in the middle, check for browness after 5 mins.

Another good way of testing for hot spots is to cover a cookie sheet in foil and then sprinkle an even layer of sugar. Bake it until the sugar starts to brown. The areas that brown are where the oven is the hottest.
 

Lifter

Washing Up
Joined
Jun 26, 2004
Messages
1,018
HMMMM!

You might want to check out your electric oven with a voltmeter, as the grid may be giving you anywhere betwen 195 and 250 volts, which will obviously affect your burners, and on the controller side (likely 24 volts) will make your sensors really wonky

The rest of the posts make good sense...there can and are "hot spots" in both ovens or BBQ's, and you have to learn of these and how to deal with them...

The digital meat probe solves the issue absolutely with meat, but you aren't going to be stabbing cookies or even cakes with it...I have some issues with calibrating the cheapy thermometers with reality, as which do you choose to believe?

You pay several hundred for the stove, and buy a $5 thermometer? That you can't see easily without opening the oven door (lowering the temp 10 degrees at least! when you do?)

It get down to a conundrum of knowing what's done and what needs another 3 minutes, and that issue of "pioneer cooking" of poplar vs birch in the woodstove...
 

AllenOK

Executive Chef
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Messages
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Location
USA, Oklahoma
I am a firm believer in a pizza stone, having had one for years. I've also had an oven thermometer for even longer, and noticed that my ovens usually burn 25 - 35°F hotter than indicated on the dial because of this.
 

Michael in FtW

Master Chef
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 5, 2004
Messages
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Fort Worth, TX
I know what you're talking about Lifter - but I sure wouldn't want the average person to start pulling apart their stove and sticking VOM probes into wires when the probably wouldn't know what they were doing. And, unless they have a schematic and know what they are doing - they are not going to be able to make the proper adjustments.

Believe it or not ... a $5 oven thermometer does work. Yes, when you open the oven door for a quick peek the temp drops about 10 degrees (and more depending on how long the door is open). But, the old coil oven thermometer does not react that quickly to the temperature change.

Use the probe to be exact if you wish - but use the cheap oven thermometer to get within the ballpark to begin with.
 

Lifter

Washing Up
Joined
Jun 26, 2004
Messages
1,018
Sorry Michael, but I doubt there'd be all that line drop between the mains and the stove, so I'd measure it at the source, as opposed the appliance!

I've had any number of thermometers in the past 30 years that have failed, on first, second or third use (admittedly, some of the faults will defer to me, in the manner I used them, but too many times, it was just getting too cheap with an instrument to have any trust in it, in retrospect...)

As Allen MI indicates, placing a "pizza stone" in the ovem might throw the whole measuring system out, and it damn sure must make the oven thermometer wonky!

Note my very expensie gas BBQ of 20 year age has "hot spots" in the weirdest places...maybe its just its "inner child" playing with matches!

Lifter
 

buckytom

Chef Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 19, 2004
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My mountain
not being the most experienced cook, i bought the williams sonoma meat thermometer and a seperate stove thermometer. between the two, i haven't under or over cooked anything since...
 

Michael in FtW

Master Chef
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 5, 2004
Messages
6,592
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Well lifter - I did make a mistake ... don't get a metal coil oven thermometer - get a mercury one.

Now - as for the mains voltage ... if you hook up a circular "strip chart" recorder and measure the mains voltage over several days you will see it fluctuates. Since the heating of the oven is controlled by the thermostat - not the mains voltage - then you have to find the zero and scale calibrations for the thermostat. In a perfect world - you would have the knowhow to do this - or pay someone to do it - every 6-months to a year.

Now - as to pizza stones, or fire bricks, in the oven ... heck yes it's going to throw a new twist into the ballgame. In fact - they change the dynamics of the oven.
 

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