baking 101

Perfect Baking 101 (Lesson Two): Calibrating your oven

Now that you’ve got your handy oven thermometer (what?? not yet? Well, hop to it—lesson one: get on the perfect baking bandwagon!), you need to be taught how to use it!

Okay, yes, it really is as simple as the package says: 1. open package, 2. place on oven rack. Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s get to the hardest part of all: trust! Now that you’ve spent your $6.99 on the oven thermometer, you’ve got to trust what it tells you.

  1. Place the thermometer in the middle of a rack which has been placed at the middle shelf of the oven. P
  2. Preheat your oven to 325º F. Wait 30* minutes. Yes, 30* full minutes (absolutely no skimping)! While you’re waiting, print out the Oven Calibration Chart.
  3. After 30 minutes, open your oven door and take a peek. If the thermometer says 325º, congrats—your oven is dead-on (skip to the next paragraph and continue). If not, you need to make the degree subtraction or addition to find the difference. For instance, if your oven says 350º, your oven runs 25º too hot. Therefore, jot down “therm=350, oven dial=325.”
  4. Continue to adjust the oven dial in 25º increments and allow a full 10** minutes before looking at the thermometer. Continue to jot down the temperature on your oven dial, as well as the reading on the oven thermometer, until you’ve reached 450º on your thermometer.
  5. Take your notes and translate them to the chart (doing the appropriate additions/subtractions for your personal oven settings) so that you will never miss-heat your oven, again!

Your chart should now be your go-to when setting your oven. Choose the recipe temperature, then refer to the chart to know to what level you set your oven dial.

my oven chart

clickety for large & printable chart

* 30 minutes will allow your oven enough time to stabilize so you can receive the most accurate reading
**10 minutes will allow your oven to adjust to the new temperature and re-stabilize

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