Though it just takes about 5-10 minutes to have this small task done, if you skip it, either your food is overcooked or undercooked because of unproperly temperature of your oven.
A typical example for this is when you preheating your frozen pizza in an oven (usually 400 degrees Fahrenheit), but after the limited time, you realize that it’s undercooked.
Another common matter is when baking some biscuits, though you have already followed the exact ingredients and guidance of your grandmother, they don’t taste the same.
Other than bad taste of your dishes, spending years cooling and heating in the wrong way make you oven’s inner components under much stress to face with the risk of wearing out or losing accuracy sooner or later.
From that point, it’s essential to take a quick test to check and diagnose the oven. In this article, I’ll give you a hand to for that.
But first up, you should understand how an oven works:
How ovens work
The most common trickery here that makes your oven in troubles is they are not properly precision appliances.
What makes ovens so tricky is that they aren’t exactly precision appliances. This leads to the fact that they work on average to approximations.
You should know that an oven always comes in a tolerance zone for the wanted temperature that’s set. Once the inner temperature reaches the lower threshold, it will kick on the heating element to promote them reach the upper threshold.
This, on the other hand, makes the heating element to turn off to force the inner temperature to fluctuate back and forth. From that point, the average temperature enables to hit the wanted setting you need in approximately way.
How to test if the temperature of your oven is accurate
Actually, there are a lot of ways to have your oven been tested.
Start off with the quickest way, but kindly understand that the result is just relevant, not as exact as the other methods.
It’s baking a boxed cake!
Sound weird, right? But, it’s truly effective. All you need to do is making and baking 1-layer boxed cake mix by placing it in the center of the oven shelf.
Now, let’s calculate how long it takes to bake the cake. Is it quicker or slower than the standard time printed on the box? I know that many ovens deliver different performance, which takes different amount of time. But, understand that if yours need so far off the limited time, chances are that there’s something wrong here.
Besides, cake mix has been tested on different ovens from various brands before they give you the limited time for it. From that point, their baking times is relevantly exact for all customers.
You should make clear that it’s not all about malfunctioning oven if your meals are undercooked once or twice. However, this is a sign that’s worth concerning.
If you don’t have a boxed cake in hand, let’s opt for an oven thermometer!
An affordable item now on the market with good quality just put you out a couple of dollars, so why not have one in your kitchen?
Now, hang it in the middle of your oven’s shelf and preheat it to roughly 350 degrees Fahrenheit in at least 20 minutes. Then, read the oven thermometer. The indication will let you know whether your oven is reaching the wanted temperature or not.
To know if your oven can maintain the heat, keep reading every 20 minutes for the next 60 minutes and then, 2 hours.
Last up, divide the sum of readings, if your oven is working finely, the average must be around the original setting temperature.
Last up, what if you don’t have either an oven temperature or a boxed cake? Let’s experiment in some table sugar and aluminum foil!
Again, heat the oven up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, form a small boats from the aluminum foil, (usually equal to your fist’s size) and place a tbsp of sugar in each boat.
Bake the first one in 15 minutes then, take it out.
Next, increase the heat in your oven up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the 2nd one in 15 minutes. Again, take it out. If your oven has no problem, the fist sugar boat should be in white while the second one should turn into a little bit melty and brown color.
This sign is based on the caramelization process. Usually, it starts above 356 degrees Fahrenheit while sugar begins at 367 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now, if both are caramelized, this is a clear sign that your oven runs hot and heats to higher temperature by the dial. On the contrary, if both keeps white color, chances are that yours is running cool and heating in lower temperature than setting.
What to do if your oven’s temperature doesn’t exact?
Check if your oven is preheated and set to the exact temperature
You know it, any oven all needs time to reach the desired temperature before baking. Meanwhile, foods like biscuits, pies and cakes require short baking time that usually make the preheating process of your oven failure. This, on the other hand, can lead to a significant difference in the result.
This can explain why you have already followed the exact recipes, but the result is far different from the standard, that’s because of the different timing and cooking performance between ovens.
My advice for this is you need to follow carefully the recipe times and temperature in the very first times cooking. Meanwhile, utilize the rack positions advised in the guidance in your manual.
Check the cookware type and pan’s placement
Your cookware also plays a role in your baking result as well, particularly its pans. If they are dark baking pans, make sure to decrease the temperature of your oven roughly 25 degrees Fahrenheit because of that fact that these pans tend to keep heat to cause your cakes or biscuits overcook or burn.
To solve it, give a check on the placement of the oven pans. Ensure that there should be at least two inches between the oven side/rear wall and the pan to maintain the exact heat circulation.
Besides, check the rack placement as well. Don’t let it stay too far or too close to the pan.
Don’t let the heat be blocked from circulation in your oven
Never cover the whole shelf if you use an aluminum foil on the oven shelf because this might block the heat circulation in your oven.
At least, allow about 2 inches around the oven shelf’s back sides.
Don’t lose heat
Avoid opening the oven door too frequently while baking. Check if the oven gasket for tears or rips. You know it, a torn gasket should be altered by service.
Besides, keep an eye on the rack placement, it should be in backwards to keep the oven door from sealing correctly.
All the tips and tricks provided above are all from my own experience when baking and using my oven. For the quickest test, let’s try the boxed cake method, but for the most exact result, the oven thermometer is a must. I hope that with this guidance, you can handle all problems that might be happened to your precious open. But on top of that, still hope yours always work well.