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Ever wonder why your cake rose out of control? Or why your muffins got scorched at 350 degrees? Your oven temp might be out of whack!
Before the holidays roll in (and before you burn that batch of cookies!) it's worth a check to make sure your oven is regulating heat correctly - especially with a trick this easy. If your oven temp is off, it can lead to a slew of problems when baking. If it's running hot, your cakes could rise too fast, your cheesecakes can crack, and worst of all... things burn! On the flip side, if your oven isn't hot enough, pie crusts will slide down the sides of a pan, cookies will melt into each other, and custards might not set properly.
Oven temp inaccuracy is more common than you might think. So grab some sugar, a baking sheet and get to testing - no thermometer required!
The only thing you need is a small heap of sugar and an oven-safe baking sheet or bowl. Sugar melts at a very specific temperature, which is why this trick works so well. Here's how to do it--
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place the mound of sugar in the oven once heated. After about 20 minutes, check on the sugar - if your oven is running at 350 and not any higher, it should still be in granules just how you added it. If it melts, it means your oven is calibrated too hot!
- Next, set the oven to 375 degrees. Within 20 minutes, the sugar should be melted. If not, it means the oven is calibrated too cold.
If your oven is running too hot or cold, dust off your oven's owner's manual (or google it!) and get to calibrating!