A kitchen thermometer is one of the first devices that a novice cook should purchase. Well, professionals have no idea how you can do in the kitchen without this simple but extremely useful gadget. Fortunately, you can buy a thermometer for a very modest amount, and the benefits that it can bring are invaluable.
What is a kitchen thermometer for?
As you might guess, a thermometer is needed to measure the temperature of the product during the cooking process or to measure the temperature in the space (oven or pan) in which the food is actually cooked. The task in both cases is the same: to provide the temperature that is most suitable for the preparation of our dish.
Most often, thermometers are used for cooking meat. The reason for this is simple: at too high temperatures, the meat becomes tough or too dry (turns into a «sole»). It is very easy to spoil even the best piece of meat, forgetting it for a few extra minutes in a pan or on a grill. Everyone who has learned to fry steaks knows this from their own experience. The same applies to cooking large cuts of meat in the oven: although many modern ovens allow you to set a certain temperature, not all of them are able to monitor the temperature regime with a sufficient level of accuracy. What can we say about the old gas models, which allow you to adjust only the height of the flame in the «more / less» mode.
Approximately the same situation is observed with the preparation of fish, which is extremely undesirable to overheat.
With vegetables, the situation is a little simpler: since the cooking temperature of vegetables is much higher than that of meat, it will be much more difficult to “miss” the temperature. If we cook vegetables in a saucepan, then the situation does not require special temperature control at all: vegetables are cooked at 100 degrees until cooked, and the only thing we risk is getting an overcooked product. In any case, this is not a matter of a few minutes. If you are distracted for a while, then nothing terrible will happen (unlike the same steak, where a difference of several degrees means a fundamentally different degree of roasting).
Advanced cooks use the thermometer to perform more specific tasks such as monitoring baked goods, fermenting dairy products, making caramel, and more.
Finally, thermometers are widely used to control the temperature of liquids. Here you can think of lovers of specific types of tea (requiring a specific temperature for brewing), coffee geeks who brew coffee by hand in a pour-over or Chemex, and those who understand wine (which, as you know, is best «revealed» at a certain temperature).
Finally, a thermometer can be useful for the most common everyday tasks. For example, to control the temperature of baby food.
How does a thermometer work
The principle of operation of traditional thermometers is based on the laws of physics: when heated, the bimetallic plates deflect the arrow, and when cooled, it returns back.
Measurement accuracy, errors and operating range
Every self-respecting thermometer must have an instruction with it, which indicates its characteristics: operating temperature range, measurement accuracy and permissible errors, in the range of which the thermometer can “lie”.
When working with liquids, meat or vegetables, we are primarily interested in temperatures in the range from 30 to 100 degrees. For baking and working with the oven, a much higher range will be required — up to 200-250 degrees, and in some cases even higher.
What are thermometers
All kitchen thermometers can be divided into several categories depending on how they measure temperature. Some devices are able to measure the temperature only around themselves, others will allow you to find out the temperature inside the product, and others — only on the surface.
Mechanical thermometers for the oven
The simplest option is a conventional mechanical oven thermometer that measures the ambient temperature. It is enough to put it inside the oven, after which you can follow the readings through the glass door. The principle of operation of such thermometers is quite simple, they rarely break. But questions about the accuracy of the measurement may arise. However, deviations of a couple of degrees in the case of an oven, as a rule, will not greatly affect the final result.
A kitchen thermometer is not just useful, but a vital gadget that can provide an invaluable service to anyone who is fond of cooking. With it, you can simplify and control the preparation of many traditional dishes, but in some culinary areas, you can’t do without a thermometer at all.
Baking, cooking homemade hams or boiled sausages (and indeed working with meat in general), brewing rare teas or making coffee properly all require precise temperature control. Of course, professionals in most cases will be able to repeat the desired result without a thermometer, but if you do not consider yourself a professional and want to “pump” your culinary skills, then a culinary thermometer is one of the first devices that you should go to our store.