Thanksgiving is around the corner and like the rest of your kitchen, the oven will be busy. Most of us assume that our ovens will heat correctly but if your oven is off by merely 25 degrees, baked goods and turkeys can be ruined. The oven temperature needs to be accurate to ensure your food is cooked correctly. Here are some helpful suggestions on cleaning, cooking, and checking to make sure your oven is ready to roast that Butterball.
If your oven is self-cleaning, do not wait until the day before the big meal to do so. Self-cleaning is done at very high temperatures and sometimes ovens fail to work after it has been completed. Plan at least two weeks out to clean your oven to provide enough time in the event that repairs are needed.
When roasting, preheating is not necessary, but baking requires at least 30 minutes of preheating before you can put in pies, cakes, or cookies. Pan finish also determines the amount of browning that will occur. If you desire a lighter browning, use shiny pans that reflect heat. For darker browning, use dark or dull pans that absorb heat.
If you are unsure about the accuracy of your oven temperature use a thermometer to check. Oven thermometers are not always correct or exact and can sometimes be wrong up to 50 degrees. When shopping for a thermometer, choose one that reads the same as the majority. To test, hang the oven thermometer in the center of the middle rack and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Allow the oven 20 minutes to preheat and then read the temperature. This will let you know if the oven is reaching the desired temperature from the beginning. To test if it is properly calibrated and maintaining heat, continue to take readings every 2 hours at 20 minutes. Divide the sum of the readings by the number of readings you take, and the average should be around the original temperature.
Possible reasons for your oven not heating correctly could be that it needs to be calibrated. If you are using a gas oven and hear a small pop on ignition, this is an unsafe condition and should be looked at by an appliance repair professional as soon as possible. Years of heating and cooling can put your oven’s internal components under a lot of stress, as a result, this can cause wear and loss of accuracy over time.