Cooking Tidbit: Oven Thermometer

This little gem belongs in your oven!

So I have all these little cooking tidbits in my head that I thought I’d share in a series-post under…. “cooking tidbit”.  Little gems of practical information that has helped me in my cooking and eating.  Much of these tidbits may be old hat to you, but at one time or another, they have been revelations to me.  So I’m sharing in the hopes that you will possibly learn a new bit or two, as I have and be delighted.

First Cooking Tidbit (though there is all whim to the order):  Oven Thermometer.

It’s a love/hate relationship I have with community classes.  It all sounds good, but you never know what you’re really going to get.  Will it be a complete waste of time and money?  But then again, it could be just what you’re looking for.

Me and a very good friend took a “Designing your Dream Kitchen” one night, three hour course at a local Middle School last Spring.  Yes, I know! It sounds very exciting!  And we hoped against better judgement that it would be a great class.  But it wasn’t.  HOWEVER, as is often the case, I would do it all over again for this one bit of truly useful information I gleaned:

The man giving the class loved to cook and my friend and I sequewayed him a bit into getting some useful cooking advice from him, since he was failing us miserably on the dream kitchen part.  I raised my hand and lamented how my cookies never turn out.  I can’t make a good cookie to save my life!  The texture is never right.  What am I doing wrong??  And being the foody that he was, he shot out some obvious questions about butter and flour quality, humidity and such.  I shook my head and still look perplexed, when finally he brought forth a giant smile and said:  Do you have an oven thermometer?!  (no I don’t!)  That’s it!  You need one.  Ovens can’t be relied upon, they are all different.  My goodness, you MUST have an oven thermometer!  Your oven could be off 30 degrees.  Who knows what’s going on in there?

I didn’t really believe him because I thought I could regulate the oven just be common sense.  But he seemed so passionate about it, and oven thermometers are pretty cheap- usually under $10 at Target.

I bought one.  He was right.  Everybody needs an oven thermometer.  My oven here in Utah is off 25-30 degrees everytime I use it and the longer I leave it on, the hotter it gets, so then I have to turn it down a little.  And it’s not like I can just make a general rule of cook everything 25 degrees hotter, because the higher the temp, the more accurate the oven becomes.  In other words, my oven is all over the map.

You may have the most perfect ingredients, but if you don’t cook you’re dough just right, you will have wasted that high quality butter, that superfine bakers sugar, that hard-to-pronounce chocolate and that doubly priced flour.

These oven thermometers won’t solve everything, but who needs everything when they are enjoying a perfectly cooked chocolate chip cookie?

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4 Responses to Cooking Tidbit: Oven Thermometer

  1. Carrie Hughes says:

    Hooray! I’m so glad for your cooking tidbits. Keeping them coming, I need them! I was actually disappointed you didn’t come over yesterday, because I wanted you to be impressed by all the baking I’d done that day:) I have an oven thermometer, but so far my oven seems to be heating up just right. Maybe I need to check it a little more frequently. Where do you put? Do you hang it from one of the racks like I do?

    • lynnley says:

      Yes- I hang it from the middle rack, in the middle of the oven. And I always check it before I cook anything, and at various times. Sometimes my oven gets hotter after it’s been on for more than 10 minutes. Of course, I don’t have a fancy oven. BUT over the week-end, I read Ina Garten’s “Back To Basics” cookbook and one of her advices was to always use an oven thermometer too! I felt so validated. She KNOWS all about good food and how to make it.
      But I’m sure there are ovens out there that actually cook as to how they are supposed too.
      I heard you made Hostess cupcakes for Sage’s big day. Very fun.

  2. Danelle says:

    I got a cookie thermometer a year or so ago for the same reason, cookies. Alas my oven is in perfect working order…

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