Ina Garten's Oven Tip To Ensure The Right Temperature For Every Bake

The key to getting a perfect bake for all your cakes, muffins, and more is to maintain an even, precise temperature in your oven. Ina Garten's tip for mastering the craft of a perfect bake is to invest in an oven thermometer – and we're not talking about the one that's built into the oven. What Ina Garten is referring to is a separate device. "No matter what it says on the dial, the oven itself could be totally different," Garten told the New York Times during a tour of her Hamptons kitchen.

It can be difficult to trust a built-in oven thermometer because they don't show you the exact temperature your oven has reached. Instead, they only alert you when your oven has reached the preheat temperature set by you for baking. This built-in thermometer can't account for hotspots in your oven or the impact of contained heat. If you want to get the most precise results, an added oven thermometer will account for the whole oven and provide you with temperatures to the exact degree. Knowing the specific temperature your food is cooking can help save your next batch of scones from becoming overcooked.

The benefits of oven thermometers

Having a controlled baking temperature is important for ensuring the best quality for your baking projects. If your oven temperature is too low, your bake will take longer and result in a dryer mouthfeel. If your oven temperature is too high, you risk burning your bake and developing a bitter flavor. Even temperatures help control the texture and taste of your bake and offer you peace of mind since you won't be needing to check on your food every 15 minutes.

But there are certain oven thermometers you should avoid at all costs. Stay away from ones that have a dial; these thermometers measure on a scale and won't provide you with the exact results you need. Instead, look for a digital thermometer that will continuously take the temperature. This ensures the most specific reading for your bake and takes away the guesswork of knowing when your bake is done.