Cooking-ez.com

1,016 easy and fully explained recipes, with 12,356 photos and 77 videos

The blog of cooking-ez.com

Should I believe my oven?


17,6443.7/5 for 6 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

  • The 3 essential knives
    The 3 essential knives

    You must have heard a chef or cook say: "There’s no good cooking without good ingredients". This ...

  • Using stretch food film effectively
    Using stretch food film effectively

    Maybe you use food film in your own kitchen. You know, the very thin, clear plastic stuff that you ...

  • The mock CAP baker's certificate exam
    The mock CAP baker's certificate exam

    The next instalment in my life as an apprentice baker at the French INBP professional school. I’m ...

  • Rosemary in recipes
    Rosemary in recipes

    Rosemary, as I’m sure you know, is a culinary herb: It is one of the famous French "herbes de ...

  • The Holy Grail of French bakers
    The Holy Grail of French bakers

    While browsing through the recipes on this site, you may have noticed that while I adore cooking ...

  • Is it really necessary to cream egg yolks?
    Is it really necessary to cream egg yolks?

    Let’s try and answer a question that crops up in cookery and patisserie, even if it verges on the ...

  • Egg yolks and caster sugar
    Egg yolks and caster sugar

    We often come across recipes where we need to mix egg yolks with caster sugar. This would appear to ...

  • The golden-brown finish on puff pastry
    The golden-brown finish on puff pastry

    Let's take a look at the tricky matter of producing puff pastry with an attractive, golden-brown ...

  • Other articles

  • See all posts
  • Random post
  • RSS feed

Other pages you may also like

Post your comment or question

You are welcome, if you wish, to comment on this page: why you like it or not, what you have changed, what results it gave, point out a mistake or omission, etc. You can also ask a question. I answer all questions (in a broken English, sorry) unless someone else does it before me.
Please feel free to say what you think, I'm always very interested in your opinion. Your comment will appear on line with the page, so please write in standard readable English, not SIM or only in CAPITALS, otherwise your comment may be rejected.

Please look at advice for submitting a comment or image (what you should or should not do). By the way, don't type your e-mail address in the comment, otherwise you might be spammed.

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