The blog of cooking-ez.com

Should I believe my oven?


Should I believe my oven?
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.
21K 7 3.9
Grade this page:

Last modified on: July 4th 2011

Should I believe my oven?

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

A few tips for effective kneading at home
A few tips for effective kneading at home
Let's start with an observation: these mini-kneaders can handle all sorts of baking and preparation, and are no less effective, when it comes to making bread or viennoiseries, for working a dough using the dough hook. In practice, if we simply tip all the ingredients into the bowl and start the...
182K 23.7
The art of the charlotte
The art of the charlotte
Here are some hints on making charlottes.PrincipleA charlotte mould is lined in the bottom and around the sides with syrup-soaked biscuits. This outside layer is then filled with a cream and left to set in the fridge (usually overnight).MouldOf course, it is best to use a proper...
26K3.3
The window-pane test in bread-making
The window-pane test in bread-making
Behind this mysterious name lies a very physical phenomenon: when dough is kneaded, the gluten in the flour forms a structure, like a kind of net, which holds the dough together. This gluten network gives the dough its elasticity and traps the C02 formed during fermentation to create the...
65K 23.7
Steam for baking bread
Steam for baking bread
So steam is indispensable: there are no beautifully browned, crusty loaves without it. You should note that once the crust is formed in the oven, after about 15 or 20 minutes, the steam is no longer necessary, so there is no need to keep adding it for the rest of the cooking time. Creating steam...
110K4.3
Candied fruits: don't get ripped off
Candied fruits: don't get ripped off
So, if you enjoy them and you want to make a recipe that asks for them, you will probably go to buy them in a supermarket. If you do, you may well find a temptingly priced tub or packet of gaudily coloured little cubes labelled "candied fruit" or "rainbow mix" that looks like this: But there's a...
28K 23

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