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Why does my baking always take longer in the oven than the recipe says it should?

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Question: Why does my baking always take longer in the oven than the recipe says it should?

Answer: If your baking times are significantly shorter or longer than those called for in a recipe, there may be a calibration issue with your oven’s thermostat. This is a very common problem, and almost all ovens – even those that give the impression of precision through digital temperature displays, etc. – will be at least somewhat off in their real-world versus stated temperature reading.

The easiest way to figure out how much your dial temperature is out by is to use an oven thermometer to take a reading inside the oven. For example, set the dial to 350 F, then watch how high the heat climbs before stabilizing. Don’t be surprised if your oven is off by 50 F.

If it’s way off, or if it’s a huge annoyance, you can certainly get an appliance repair person out to look at your oven’s thermostat. If it’s far too cold or far too hot, there may be a serious problem with your oven that needs to be dealt with by a professional.

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The easiest short-term solution for a minor temperature discrepancy is to use that same oven thermometer to come up with a conversion chart you can keep handy in the kitchen. If the dial says 400 F but the oven thermometer reads the temperature…

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