Oven Temperature: A Hot Topic?
Knowing precisely what temperature my oven “thinks” it is cooking at versus the ACTUAL temperature inside has sooo reduced my cooking stress, and I know it is such a silly thing to have made such a big difference. Let me explain…
We had a new range cooker with double ovens installed four years ago, and for 18 months the thing would cook some things perfectly to time, and then famously it delivered up a half-raw roast chicken one Sunday. Pork meatloaf was another near tragedy, along with a couple of yukky, eggy-in-the-middle cakes…but sometimes it was just fine, other times, it was a burnt, charred mess…Argh…there seemed to be no consistency.
I do feel somewhat dumb and stupid now the issue is resolved, but back then, it was all just one great big mystery that made me so anxious I was becoming sort of phobic. It aint particularly healthy to be so wary and distrusting of an everyday inanimate object like an oven.
I finally called in an engineer just before the oven guarantee ran out. He arrived with all sorts of tools and kit, and an amazing industrial digital thermometer. He also arrived with a piece of paper from the manufacturer with their “Temperature Tolerance” tables. Aha.
It transpires that legally, companies can sell you a cooker that on the dial states 190 degrees, but their “Tolerance Tables” mean than the actual temperature can be up to 20 degrees out. Either way. Yes, that’s right, you could be cooking your roast chicken at 170 degrees or 210 degrees. The worst part is, because this is a “tolerance” they do not consider it a “manufacturing flaw”, which would be more accurate, in my humble view.
So, engineering chap spent a long time heating the ovens to different temperatures and testing with his thermometer. Turns out that Oven #2 cooks consistently 15 degrees below the stated temperature across all the ranges. That explains the pink chicken then. Oven #1 is spot on almost all the way through the temperature range, apart from right at the high-end where it cooks 10 degrees even hotter, unless it is on the fan, where the range is a wee bit iffy in the middle. Hence, therefore, the eggy-cake.
Gosh. Obviously, I will not be replacing that oven with the same brand again, and will be emailing manufacturers next time before I purchase to confirm their “Temperature Tolerances” while sourcing my own incredible industrial thermometer. My cooking experience is much, much improved, and the oven is no longer a big bete noir in my life. I am curious though, has anyone else had similar experiences?