Over time, thermostats get a little off track, and need to be recalibrated. While a temperature difference of 5°F or 10 °F seems small, it can be the difference between baked bread and burnt bread. Calibrating is routine maintenance that needs to be done in order to keep your cook times consistent. If done regularly, you can avoid complications later on.
Checking Actual Temperature
If an oven or other device is off by 40°F or more, do not attempt to calibrate. This is typically an indication that there is something wrong with the equipment’s control system, and this needs to be repaired by a professional.
- Check the location of your ovens internal thermostat. Make sure it is at least ½” away from the oven wall. If the sensor has shifted, your thermostat may not be reading properly and could cause your oven to be too hot or not hot enough. In this case, calibrating may not be necessary.
- Place an oven thermometer inside the oven cavity while cooking. Check to see if the temperature on the oven thermometer matched the dial you used to set the cooking temperature. For an accurate measure, check at 350°F.
- Keep thermometer an inch away from the wall. When checking the temperature, you want an accurate reading of the air inside the cavity, not of the walls.
- Let the surface completely preheat before checking. A good time to test is either immediately before or after cooking on the surface, to ensure it has reached its desired temperature without wasting time or energy on preheating.
- Use a griddle thermometer to check the temperature of the surface.Just point the sensor at the griddle while holding it about an inch away. On a digital thermometer, push the button to get the reading. Dial griddle thermometers will get a reading manually.
Calibrating Your Unit
Manual griddle and oven knobs can be calibrated the same way. Once you figure out how many degrees you are off, take the knob off the front of the oven or griddle. Just give it a little tug and it will pop right off. Turn it over, and there should be an adjustment knob on the back side. Follow these instructions to easily calibrate on the back of the knob.
- Note the position of the dial on the back of the knob.
- Loosen the screws to make the adjustment.
- Most often, these notches represent 10°F increments. To lower the temperature 10°F, move the dial so that it is pointing at one notch to the left. To raise the temperature, turn it to the right.
- Tighten the screws.
- Place the knob back on the oven or griddle.
- Test the temperature again.
Calibrate your oven every three months, unless you notice that your food is being over or undercooked between check ups. These simple steps can increase the life of your commercial oven.