The blog of cooking-ez.com

Should I believe my oven?


20,6963.9/5 for 7 ratings
Grade this page:

Last modified on: July 4th 2011

Should I believe my oven?

oven cooking

Can you really trust your oven? This is an important question as we are always tempted to take the temperature indicated as gospel truth and, unfortunately, this is rarely very precise.

When I set my oven to 200°C, is it really at that temperature? The actual temperature can be measured easily if you have an accurate thermometer.

To check my own oven (a “De Dietrich” model UMP501), I placed the probe of the thermometer in the oven, closed the door, set it to 200°C and noted the temperature at 30 second intervals over 20 minutes.

Ideally, of course, the oven should heat up rapidly to exactly 200°C, then stay at this temperature until I open the door to put the food in, or until I turn it off. Unfortunately, the reality is dramatically different. Here is the temperature curve recorded:

oven temperature


From this graph we can note that:

1) The oven takes 10 minutes to reach 200°. So far, so good.
2) It beeps to tell me that it has reached 200° when, in fact, it is only at 191°, which is not so good.
3) Although it is supposed to stop heating at 200°C, it goes up to 217° before coming back down to 186°, and from then on it varies 10 or 20° around the set temperature, which is far from ideal.

These variations are significant but, fortunately, not the end of the world for most recipes. A little hotter or cooler doesn't make that much difference, and can be compensated by a slightly shorter or longer cooking time.

But take care, even so, with recipes that require a precise temperature, such as macarons or foie gras. For these, it is a good idea to measure the oven temperature when it indicates that it is at the right temperature, then adapt the recipe accordingly.

This is somewhat disappointing, as my oven was quite expensive at the time, and the salesman promised me an oven that had “precise temperature control” . But then, when it comes to selling, they always promise the moon.

So, in the end, in answer to the question “Should I trust my oven?” the reply is definitely: no, you should not trust your oven. Instead, you should measure and calibrate it beforehand to know how it really performs.

And then, we're talking here about an electric oven. Just imagine what's involved with a gas oven…

Back to top of page

Lasts posts

Other pages you may also like

In praise of slow cooking
In praise of slow cooking
You will no doubt have noticed that in cookery, it's often the actual cooking process that gets neglected. This is understandable; it comes at the end of the recipe and getting the dish in the oven is something of a relief (ah, that's done!), which frees us to cope with what's left: tidying the...
3,2323.4/5 for 8 ratings
Raising (or leavening) agents
Raising (or leavening) agents
When we want to make a dough or batter rise when baking, either in patisserie or bread-making, we need to use a raising agent or leavening agent, one of which is called leaven.In the context of baking, a raising agent is simply what "makes something rise". It is a substance which, when added...
12,4854.5/5 for 6 ratings
Foie gras without force-feeding: it can be done
Foie gras without force-feeding: it can be done
I adore foie gras...I willingly admit it, I adore foie gras: the texture, the taste, the festive aspect – I enjoy all of it. I really love eating it, preparing it and, most of all, sharing what I have made with my family over Christmas and New Year....but then I begin to have doubtsOf...
7,3603.7/5 for 7 ratings
Maillard reactions
Maillard reactions
This subject cropped up recently in a discussion with my three charming nieces; do you know what Maillard reactions are? With a name like that, they could well be some principle in mechanics, but in fact the term applies to something much closer to all of us: it's what gives food more flavour...
7,2053.1/5 for 10 ratings
The art of the charlotte
The art of the charlotte
In cooking, a charlotte is a delicious moulded dessert, with biscuits around the outside that have been soaked in a flavoured syrup, filled with a light cream or mousse. The charlotte is left to set in the fridge before being turned out and served in slices.It is very light and a lovely sweet...
11,3393.3/5 for 4 ratings

Post your comment or question

I am not a leaving thing

Follow this page

If you are interested in this page, you can "follow" it, by entering your email address here. You will then receive a notification immediately each time the page is modified or a new comment is added. Please note that you will need to confirm this following.
I am not a leaving thing
Note: We'll never share your email with anyone else.
Alternatively: you can subscribe to the mailing list of cooling-ez.com , you will receive a e-mail for each new recipe published on the site.

Back to top of page