Do you trust your oven? A lot of times I get questions from readers criticizing how a recipe came out and demanding that I change the instructions or details 🙂 It always somewhat amuses me that clearly -I’m- the one to blame if -their- attempt comes out wrong 🙂 One simple suggestion that I make, and I make it from my own experience, is to always keep a thermometer in your oven.
“But what I need a thermometer for? The recipe says x degrees and I put the dial on x degrees”.
Yes, this was something that I did myself for years, until one day I decided to put an oven thermometer into my oven and was shocked at the results.
You see, oven thermometer dials are just suggested ranges, and if (as was my case) your oven has lost its calibration or ability to auto-regulate, those temperature ranges may be fluctuating dramatically during the baking process from what the number on your dial says! In my case, I found out that my oven (several years ago) was varying from 25 to 50 degrees higher than the number on the dial. It was definitely time to call in the repairman, who quickly blamed a faulty thermostat and remedied the issue.
Since then my trusty oven thermometer has not left its lodging place on the second row of our oven and the consistency of my efforts (especially where baking was concerned) has left the responsibility for my efforts squarely on my shoulders, where it belongs!