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Wednesday, February 6

I Have an Oven Thermometer!

Brace yourself. Today’s post is pretty, pretty, pretty exciting. It’s not for the faint of heart. We’re going to be discussing…oven thermometers! Woohoo!

For years I’ve been planning to try out the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day technique and am just now finally getting my act together to give it a go! One of the “must-haves” in the book is an oven thermometer.

Here’s the deal with me and cooking. I am not very scientific about it. I rarely get out my measuring spoons. I take shortcuts left and right.  I’m surprised that the baking I do is successful, actually. My last oven cooked VERY unevenly and it ran cool and was basically a complete mess. Did I ever bother to get an oven thermometer, to get a better idea of what I was dealing with? Nah, I just sort of felt things out. And, most of the time, it was fine, but I’m sure I would have had much better success with that oven if I’d at least known the temperature!

Now that I will be attempting more baking AND since I’m using an oven I’m not familiar with, I’m going to stop messing around and get serious here! I bought an oven thermometer at the store yesterday and tested things out this morning.

I set the oven for 350 degrees and let it preheat for a good half hour. And my oven was surprisingly accurate! It clocked out just under 350 degrees. Of course when I finally get a thermometer, the oven is actually pretty much right on. I am finding, though, that if I want the oven to be 350, I need to set it to 360. Interested to see what the higher temperatures will be like!

Today’s homework, if you haven’t already done so, is to get an oven thermometer! They carry them at the regular grocery store, so no excuses! And when you DO get your thermometer, report back and let us know how your readings come out!

Here’s to happier baking!


20 Comments »

  1. Very cool I want to try out their book also but my favorite go to cook book is by King Arthur Flour :) love this book!

    I really need to get a oven thermometer though! putting that on my must get list

  2. So happy for you that you’ll be trying their method! I LOVE their books – & LOVE making bread their way. I have to confess, I skipped both the thermometer & baking stone. I figured the worst that could happen with a bad oven temperature is that I would ruin my first batch – THEN I’d buy a thermometer. But, it worked out fine : ) I also use a perforated, nonstick pizza pan (by airbake) to bake on. Saves the preheat, and keeps me from accidentally sliding a loaf onto the oven floor ; )

    • Jane Maynard

      I already have a stone (which I LOVE…you should get one anyway! ;) )…but I’m actually going to try baking the bread in my french oven…it’s supposed to yield pretty fabulous results. will keep you posted! so glad to have your feedback…I will put it in my posts when I start writing about the process!

  3. 3
    Kim from PA

    I do not have an oven thermometer….yet…but my baking ability took a nose dive in the past 2 years and then our oven (which was 30 yrs old and came with the house) died this past summer. Our new oven is WONDERFUL…….and suddenly I can successfully bake again! It wasn’t my baking skills that were
    the problem……it was the oven temp. Wish I would have tried an oven thermometer back then but I never thought of it.

    • Jane Maynard

      that is AMAZING what a difference the oven temp made! and it’s funny how we can easily overlook simple solutions…I do that ALL the time. yay for your new oven!!!

  4. 4
    Christy

    I had to get two actually, to finally get a good reading. They don’t last very long if you use your oven often. I don’t know if it tells you that in the book.

    We discovered that in our new oven there are options to change the temp 10 degrees in either direction if the temp is way off.

    America’s Test Kitchen has a good (free) video about “Oven Thermometers” (2:35) if you go to their web site. I don’t think I could link to it here, but you don’t have to sign up to view it.

    • Jane Maynard

      great tip, about getting two, and about using them a lot!

      and I’ll have to check out that video! love ATK

  5. 5
    Jenny D.

    I’ve had that book for a couple of years now and still have good intentions to try it out. Can’t wait to see what your take on it is!

    • Jane Maynard

      glad I’m in good company…that book has been staring at me from the shelf for years. I even met Zoe a few times and she is beyond lovely…finally going to do this!

  6. 6
    Jess

    After living abroad for so many years and cooking in strange ovens, I cannot get by without an oven thermometer, but I imagine I’ll be hooked even when I move back to the US – it’s amazing what ovens will do – they have a mind of their own!

  7. 7
    Sadie

    I got one recently. I set my oven to 350. It came out at 450. I was displeased.

  8. 8
    Megan Flowers

    Got one! My husband even calibrates the oven when needed!

  9. 9
    Fran

    I haven’t used an oven thermometer for years but when we lived in Germany I had my parents send me one. Our oven was in Centigrade and all my knowledge was in Fahrenheit LOL
    I have a brand new oven and I am finding that recipes are done quicker than in my old oven and even the recommended cook times on things are a touch too long. Maybe I should get a thermometer and make sure the new oven is accurate….

    • Jane Maynard

      what a great idea, to have the F thermometer in your celsius oven. so smart!

      sounds like your new oven might run a bit hot…I feel like that is pretty common, actually. will be interesting to see what an oven thermometer tells you.

  10. 10
    Elaine

    I have to use a thermometer in my oven. I was burning everything before I had one and as it turns out, when the oven is set to 350 it actually heats up to about 400 or 425. I’ve had mine for probably close to 2 years and haven’t had to replace it (yet), and I use my oven pretty often.

  11. 11
    Alice E

    I have an oven thermometer, now if I could just remember where it is!
    Do try the bread recipes in the book. I got a copy of the cookbook quite a while back and tried the american style sandwich bread recipe. Big hit with my husband and I still use it or a variation for my regular baking. Since I bake all of our bread nowadays, that’s a lot of bread dough. This version makes regular loaves in bread pans and doesn’t need the stone and higher temp. It works great for sandwiches in my husband lunches.

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