Part of my Baking Fundamentals series: Every oven is unique. Learn how to use a simple oven thermometer (aff link) and a digital thermometer to obtain an accurate measurement of its temperature, how to identify hot and cold regions, and how to calibrate your oven for more consistent results!
You can’t do it yourself, but learning how to use a new oven takes time. And smoldering cookies. As well as underbaked pizza. I honestly believe that having to retrain how to use a new oven is the most difficult aspect of relocating. Is anybody else in agreement? Everything else about the moving procedure may be assigned to experts if you don’t want to handle it yourself.
One of the nicest things you can do in the kitchen is to perform some testing to get acquainted with your oven. Discover how long it takes to preheat, where the hot and cold regions are, and whether or not the cake is truly cooking at 350F.
- A few notes before we get started:
- Check the oven’s temperature using a basic oven thermometer
- Check your oven’s temperature with a digital thermometer
- Calibrating the oven’s thermostat
- Checking for hot spots in your oven
- Product Recommendations
- More Baking Basics
- How do you calibrate your oven?
- Is it important to calibrate the oven before baking?
- What is the best TEMP to calibrate oven?
- How can I calibrate my oven without a thermometer?
- What does calibrate mean in baking?
- How often should ovens be calibrated?
- Why is my oven 50 degrees off?
- Why is my oven not reaching the correct temperature?
- Does oven temp have to be exact?
A few notes before we get started:
- These instructions are provided as broad suggestions. Since each oven is unique, see the owner’s handbook for the most up-to-date information on your model.
- A digital thermometer with a probe is more accurate than a standard oven thermometer (aff link).
- Electric ovens are often more accurate than gas ovens.
Check the oven’s temperature using a basic oven thermometer
I promise it’s simpler than taking the temperature of a writhing, ill kid or pet. You just set it and forget it. Don’t forget about the fire threat. But you can set it and do anything else for 30 minutes!
- Place one of the racks in the center of the oven.
- Place an oven thermometer as near to the middle of the oven as possible.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Have a look at the thermometer and write down what it says.
- If you want to be even more precise, run it through a couple more cycles and check every 20 minutes, noting each.
This (or the average of your many measurements) will serve as your oven’s average temperature.
Check your oven’s temperature with a digital thermometer
This method is more exact, although it does need the use of a digital thermometer and is a bit more complicated. I use my ThermoWorks ChefAlarm for this and a variety of other tasks, and I strongly suggest that you do as well.
- Move one of the racks to the center of the oven and secure a grating clip to the cooking area’s center.
- Close the door after attaching the probe from your digital thermometer to the grating clip.
- Set the High Alarm on your ChefAlarm to 350°F.
- The stop button This will give you an estimate of how long it will take your oven to preheat. By hitting the Timer Start button, you may begin the count-up mode.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Off switch. If the oven has been operating for 20 minutes and the alarm has not yet gone off, this indicates that your oven is running chilly. Check the temperature with the digital thermometer and make a note of it. When the alarm goes off, press the Alarm On button.
- To begin the timer, press the Stop button. Set your timer for 30 minutes and press the Clear button to remove your recorded Min and Max temperatures. Start the timer by pressing the Start button.
- After 30 minutes, take note of your minimum and maximum temperatures as shown on the screen. This indicates how much volatility your oven experiences when oscillating.
- If you want to be even more precise, run it through a couple more cycles and check every 20-30 minutes, noting each.
Take the average of your minimum and maximum temperatures to get your oven’s typical working temperature.
Calibrating the oven’s thermostat
– 30, you should be able to adjust it yourself. If it’s not working properly, you’ll need to contact a specialist. As long as the inner temperature of the oven is +
Please keep in mind that these are broad suggestions for frequent usage situations. Since each oven is unique, it is advisable to consult the owner’s handbook for your specific model.
Ovens with dial knobs: Remove the knob from the thermostat to reveal a little set screw in the center. Turn it ever so little with a pair of pliers (clockwise to lower the temperature, counterclockwise to increase the temperature).
Many thermostats for electric models may be set using the keypad; see your owner’s handbook for details, but normally, you will hold down one or two buttons to activate a calibration mode and use the arrows to adjust the temperature as required.
Checking for hot spots in your oven
Have you ever cooked a batch of cookies only to discover that some were properly baked while others were overdone? Cookie Monster is upset about this (and me, for the record). This is most likely due to hot areas in your oven.
Hot spots are exactly what they sound like: regions of your oven that are hotter than others and hence cook items more quickly. Making a hot spot map is a great activity for identifying such regions.
- Maintain a rack in the center of the oven and set the oven thermometer (aff link) in the center, just like we did with the calibration.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and let it there to cool.
- When your oven is heating up, take a piece of paper and a pen and sketch a quick schematic of it.
Imagine yourself gazing at it from the top down.
I’d suggest noting the center left, middle, and middle right sides, as well as the rear left, back middle, and back right sides, as well as the front left, front middle, and front right sides.
If you don’t have time to complete all of them, at least do the middle and back.
- Make a mental note of the temperature at the present thermometer position on your diagram.
It’s best if you can see it via the oven glass since you won’t waste heat by opening the oven door.
- Repeat the procedure by carefully moving the thermometer to the next spot.
Now that you know which parts of your oven may cook items unevenly, you can make better informed judgments about where to put your pans and baking dishes!
I hope this was helpful! Is there anything more I should have spoken regarding this topic? Please let me know in the comments section below.
More Baking Basics
How to Measure Ingredients Correctly
The Importance of Room Temperature Butter
5 Baking Steps You Should Never Skip
Common Baking Ingredients’ Shelf Life