Your oven gets a lot of action this time of year. Between Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas cookies, and everything in between, make sure to put these tips to use. Your holiday meals will thank you!
1. Use an Oven Thermometer. Ovens are notoriously unreliable when it comes to reading temperature. I found that the cheap range in my apartment was a whopping 75 degrees off! An oven thermometer is also useful for figuring out which parts of your oven get the hottest. It’s not much of an investment, either; good ones can be found for less than $10.
2. For Really Precise Baking, preheat the temperature to 25 degrees over what the recipe says. Heat escapes when you open the oven, and can bring the temperature down a couple dozen degrees in just a few seconds.
3. Pizza Stones are Your Friend. Pizza stones aren’t only for pizza! For gas ovens in particular, leaving your pizza stone (or unglazed quarry tiles) in the oven 24/7 will help distribute heat evenly. Anything that needs evenly distributed heat, or when you’re baking two things at the same time, will really benefit here.
4. Never Use the Self-Cleaning Function. Many new-fangled ovens have a self-cleaning function, but it’s best that you stay away. The heating element usually isn’t exposed to food in newer ovens, so they stay cleaner, and are less likely to scorch. But the bigger problem? Using them can lead to very serious damage.