3 Steps to Take So Your Oven Won’t Betray You

Get acquainted with your oven's hot spots.

Like in any soap opera, what’s most likely to betray you is what you depend on, what you love—what lies in your own house. In this case, it’s not Trent, the murderous long-lost twin of your husband separated at birth, but something more sinister: your trusty oven. An oven is a machine, and it needs to be calibrated every so often to ensure it’s performing at full capacity. Fear not—follow our few simple suggestions, and you and your oven will be sailing off into the sunset in no time.

Step 1: Clean Like a Machine

Keeping things spatter-free makes your oven more efficient. In conventional ovens, heat is reflected by the shiny surfaces of the oven walls; when food cakes onto those walls and burns, it creates spots that heat can’t bounce off, which leads to uneven cooking. No one wants that.

The easiest way (though not the most eco-friendly) to get a spotless oven is by using the self-cleaning cycle. Three hours later you’ll have a sparkling oven—and a warm house. Alternatively, heat oven to 125°, liberally spray all surfaces with Member’s Mark Commercial Oven, Grill & Fryer Cleaner (also available at most big-box stores), close the oven door, and wait 30 minutes. Wipe clean.

Step 2: Take the Temperature

Making sure that your oven is really 350° when it’s set at 350° is an essential step to good baking. You can check the accuracy of the temp with a digital oven-probe thermometer such as ThermoWorks ChefAlarm ($59) or a standard dial oven thermometer like the Cooper-Atkins HACCP Dial Oven Thermometer ($5).

Place your thermometer in the center of the oven on the middle rack and turn the dial to 350°. If the temp hasn’t reached 350° after 30 minutes, raise or lower the setting to try to …read more

Source:: Bon Appetit