Every cook needs an accurate oven to get the job done right. In the Test Kitchen, we routinely check our ovens for accuracy, looking for flattened gaskets and loose hinges, double-checking calibration and making sure our baking racks are in the center of each oven.
Here are some tips for determining, maintaining and making the most of your oven's accuracy:
Checking for accuracy:
- Most oven problems can be traced to calibration. If this is off, your oven won't work at the right temperature; a difference of as little as 25 degrees can make or break a fragile recipe such as custard. If you think the temperature gauge is inaccurate, test it against a little oven thermometer; these handy items are available at many supermarkets and most cooking supply stores. If your oven is off, you can often fix this yourself; many ovens can easily be recalibrated but check the owner's manual to be sure. Otherwise, call a service professional.
- Always be gentle when opening and closing the door. Slamming the door will almost always throw off your oven's calibration.
- Check the gasket around the door to make sure that it's attached and properly fitted. A loose gasket will allow heat to escape.
- Make sure any vents are unobstructed.
Making the most of your oven: