Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's not you; it's your oven...Works for me Wednesday

A few years ago, we lived in a rent house...the rent house-that-must-not-be-named.
{It was not my favorite.}

Anyway, sometimes when I was baking, the kitchen would get REALLY WARM and my cookies would come out over baked.   So, one day, I invested in an oven thermometer. 
{They're really inexpensive.  This one is from Target and was about $7.}


What do you know, that oven would sometimes cycle all the way up to 500 (!!!) before cooling back down to 350.  It wasn't my fault!  It was my oven!!!

It's easy enough to check, just hang the thermometer inside your oven, let your oven heat up for about 15 minutes. You'll want it to come to the preheated temperature and stay there for 10 minutes or so, then check it.
My current oven showed exactly 350 (when set at 350)...but it took several minutes of standing with the oven door open to get my camera to focus on it.

Once you know if your oven is running cool or hot, you'll be able to adjust your oven temp when setting it.


One more tip....check to see if your oven has any hot spots.
Place pieces of white bread on a large cookie sheet and bake at 450 for about 10 minutes or so...until browned.

Now, take a look at the bread.  Are some pieces more browned than others?  It looks like I have a "cool spot" in the front left of my oven.  If you do notice a big difference in how the bread browned, be sure to rotate your pans during baking.

Blaming baking problems on my oven?  Works for me! ;) 

56 comments:

  1. SO true! I just recently had to take a loaf of bread out of the oven 13 minutes early (according to the recipe). Going to get an oven thermometer this week!!

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  2. My oven thermometer (£6 from amazon) was THE best piece of equipment I have ever bought!!!

    Gonna try the bread test next. Was thinking of trying all three shelves at the same time - what do you think? See if I have a hot top or hot bottom ;-)

    http://daisycakecompany.wordpress.com

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  3. OK now I am going to invest in an oven thermometer. I have thought for awhile that i had some hot spots in the oven but I always rotate my pans a couple of times. P.S. Love your blog.

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  4. Great tips! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to try the bread test for sure!

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  5. Any tips for an oven that just can't get hot enough?

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  6. Testing the hot spots with the bread is such a great idea.

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  7. I really like the hot spot test idea. The last rental house I was in had the most evil oven. There were two settings (regardless of the temp you set) off and on (500 degrees). To bake anything we'd have to turn on the oven, let it preheat, turn it off, and throw in the food while the temperature trickled down to a reasonable number. All the while hoping for the best. Thank goodness my new rental house has a normal oven that behaves itself.

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  8. Oven thermometers are like meat thermometers...can't do without them. The bread toasting tip for hot spots is a great one!

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  9. What a great idea with the bread! Just pinned it under "brillian ideas"

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  10. My oven thermometer has been the best kitchen purchase. I ruined everything I baked until I bought one and found out my oven runs about 40 degrees hotter than it should. The bread trick is a great idea, I'll have to try that as well.

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  11. Ohh, soo true! I'm in that situation right now. Two months ago I put some muffins in the oven, usually it takes 20 - 25 minutes until ready, this time when I've opened to check them I saw that they are not ready at all. In the next few days the same happened with different thing, so I bought an oven thermometer and saw that the oven is not working properly. Now I know i have to put the knob on 500 degrees F to get a good 350.
    So, really if stat getting bad baking results, buy a thermometer!

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  12. Great post I never thought to do that. Thanks a bunch!

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  13. True, I often change when I travel and sometimes ovens give you great odds. Thank you very much for the tip of bread, proves. Greetings from Madrid

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  14. I desperately need to do this, thanks for the great idea on how to check for hot/cold spots.

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  15. Thank you for this post. I really need to check out my oven now. Thanks!

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  16. That toast trick is awesome! Every once in a while my cookies in the back bake faster. I need to try the toast thing out the next time we have spaghetti:)

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  17. That bread-toasting tip is ingenius! So simple, yet so effective!! I love Works for Me Wednesdays!

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  18. I was given one of these by my sister and i LOVE it! I found out my oven is off by 25 degrees...that's a whole lot! :)

    http://ineverylittlemoment.blogspot.com/

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  19. this is such a great post! I have been reading many places in just the past week about testing oven temps with a thermometer.

    I LOVE That bread idea for hot patch testing. I am doing that to find out b/c I know mine's a hot mess. Literally.

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  20. ...Cool! Er, hot! Oh well, I mean thank you! ;o)

    ...Blessings :o)

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  21. No wonder my cookies would bake super fast! This is cool! I think I've learn something important! I will be heading to Target real soon to see if I can get me a oven thermometer. ^_^

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  22. Wow! Thank you! This post is just what I needed. I have a thermometer, but have recently wondered about hot spots. I am going to try this tomorrow!

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  23. I've heard you need to check your oven temperature before, but I've been too lazy to do it. BUT seeing your pictures and reading this post have motivated me...a bit more. *hehe* My cookies tend to turn out fairly well, thankfully. :)

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  24. My oven is like yours...I have a hot spot in the rear-right corner of my oven, so I have to rotate. However, this has reminded me to purchase an oven thermometer. I have no idea if my oven is running hot or cool (and we also live in a rented apartment). I guess I'll be picking a thermometer up at Target this weekend! :)

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  25. WOW!
    Good to know!
    I need an oven thermometer.
    Thanks for reminding me.
    I have trouble when I set my oven on Convection Bake.
    Sometimes it burns things when on Convection.
    Hugs~
    I just love the tips at Bake at 350!

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  26. I can't believe I've never checked my oven for spots like this, such a good idea! Thanks!

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  27. Bridget!!! The bread tip is great!!!

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  28. Toasting bread - I'd have never thought of that! Thanks!

    (beautiful toast BTW :))

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  29. Thanks for the toasting bread tip... it's simple but illustrative...

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  30. My oven definitely has pesky hot spots. I never thought of testing them using toast. Good tip, thanks!

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  31. thanks for sharing this tips

    xx

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  32. I just got a brand new oven because the old one would either be way too hot or way too cold and my food was ruined. I knew the temp because I had a thermometer but I had to stand in front of the oven all the time.

    New oven is great. I love the idea of the toast. I'm going to try it.

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  33. Brilliant! Such great, common sense stuff that we just don't think of. Which, I guess, makes it uncommon. ;) Although, I don't think I'll share this knowledge with my sweet husband. I'm holding out for the Viking 8 burner. :D

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  34. Love your tips! Keep them coming.

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  35. I have an oven thermometer, and after having been spoiled previously by a commercial-grade convection oven had to reconcile myself w/ the fact that my home oven is FIFTY-FIVE DEGREES OFF. Yes, 55!!! I couldn't believe it. I have calibrated it up as much as I could, but always have to set the temperature higher by 25 F to get to where I want to be. :( Likely this is owing to my having steamed bread in there, but STILL...

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  36. Simple great tips formaking perfect treats! Thankss!
    Have a great weekend
    Maureen

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  37. I need to do this! I've had a sneaking suspicion recently that something is off with my oven...

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  38. One thing I learned when testing my oven in 15 minutes - it was off 50 degrees. However, if I adjusted my cake oven temperature for that, the cakes would come out a mess because the oven got TOO hot. I left the thermometer in the oven the entire time the cake was baking and discovered it just takes my oven longer to get to the right temperature. When the bell goes off saying the oven is at temperature, I wait another 10 minutes. I just go ahead and turn the oven on when I start baking - instead of halfway through.

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  39. i hate my oven.....it can be set for 350 and cook all the way up to 500....ticks me off...takes forever to bake cookies b/c i have to stand there....my oven will beep it has preheat and i'll check the oven temp gauge *i got one like urs* and it's not even close

    i've got to go on the Price is Right to win a double convection oven!

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  40. Interesting post and I LOVE those themometer pictures!

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  41. I've never even thought about it! Thank you for the great tip :)

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  42. Well now that bread tip is just plain brilliant!
    We're all having toast with breakfast tomorrow!

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  43. i have an oven thermometer. very handy! your bread looks great!<3

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  44. I got an oven thermometer for Christmas (exciting, huh?) because I rent in a house that has an oven I don't trust (back right corner is a real hot spot).

    Moving to another rented property in April and I'll be testing that oven too! And doing the toast test, great idea!

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  45. We were in a rental house one time (in the not-so-great state of Mississippi...HA!), and I was making cookies. The first batch was OK, but the second got too brown, and the third almost caught fire! (Not quite...but they were black!)

    I bought a thermometer, and the oven just kept heating! It got up to 650*!

    The thermometer may have been cheap, but I know fixing the oven wasn't...the landlord wasn't very happy with us...but I did bake him some goodies to say thanks. ;)

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  46. oh my GOSH! I slim chance I have a chance YET at this cookie thingie...WOW..off to target to get thermometer and bread! SMOOCH

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  47. Bridget,

    I like this post so much that I am going to link to it on my website for my readers. Very helpful!

    Thanks,
    Elana

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  48. I've always wondered how to figure out the hotspots on my oven and this bread test seems easy and quick. Thanks for the tip!

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  49. 500?! That's pretty dang scary! Love the bread idea. I need to try that out in mine!

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  50. I like this post so much that I am going to link to it on my website for my readers. Very helpful!
    Escorts Sydneynoveller frække

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  51. I've recently discovered your blog and enjoying your creations! :) Then I saw this post and am glad to read it because I was getting discouraged with my baking lately. I will be conducting these tests soon and maybe get my baking confidence back. Thanks!

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  52. Over baked cookies are the worst! But glad they still came out okay though.
    Bon apetite!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)
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