Do you bake? Have you ever been frustrated because you weren't sure when your baked goods were done?
If you've ever had your hard work ruined by going 5 minutes too long in the oven, this post is for you.
Baked goods can be tricky. When you're solely reliant on visual cues, it's easy to get it wrong, especially if you only bake occasionally (holiday cookies!). And with a low of 150F/66C (cheesecake) to a high of 210F/99C (some breads and cakes), the range of doneness is probably bigger than you thought.
There's a better way.
You probably have an instant read thermometer that you use for grilling. Have you ever thought about using it for your baked goods?
You can--and (as long as your thermometer is accurate), the results are perfect every.single.time.
Even if you prefer relying on visual cues, knowing the doneness temperatures of different baked goods can be really helpful. What if your oven is running hot? Or you're using a new pan made of unfamiliar material? The difference in baking time between glass, nonstick, and hard-anodized aluminum pans can be huge.
Because doneness temps vary so much, and because this information can be phenomenally difficult to find--on the Internet or elsewhere--we decided that we would help people who are looking for this information.
So we put it all together in one easy-to-read infographic.
to download and print the infographic, scroll to the bottom for the link.
Never take baked goods out of the oven below 140F. That's the temperature at which bacteria is killed, and also the temperature at which eggs cook.
- For soft or gooey baked goods, take out at the low end of the range. For drier or cakier goods, take out at the higher end of the range.
- Ovens temps can vary, and even an oven you're familiar needs careful monitoring. Oven heating can change dramatically from one use to another, especially if your oven is old. Here's an article on how to calibrate your oven; if this method won't work for you, a little googling should find you a method that will.
- If you use convection, lower the baking temp by 25F and check for doneness earlier and more frequently.
- Don't use convection for cakes, quick breads, custards, or soufflés. If you use convection for cookies, you may still need to rotate pans halfway through. (Convection helps even out oven temp, but it is not always foolproof.)
- Cookies are usually easier to bake by visual cues. The number one way to ruin cookies is to overbake. Don't wait until they're browning around the edges. To check for doneness, flip one over: if the bottom is lightly browned, take them out. Then leave them on the cookie sheet until they cool. The residual heat finishes the baking process, usually to perfection.
- Pie crusts may need to be covered with foil (or pie crust shields). This is especially true for blind baked crusts that have to go back in the oven (e.g., pumpkin or other custard-like pies).
- About brownies: We found finished temps from 170F all the way up to 205F. We found that at 180F, our brownies were still soupy, so our infographic says 205F. But you may want to experiment to figure out which temp works best for you. (Please let us know if your results if you do.)
The Prepared Pantry (Though our results for brownies were considerably different--if you want to use this site's recommendation, you can take the brownies out at 180F. Ours were still soupy at this temp, though.)
Serious Eats (We used the temp on this site for finished brownies, which was 205F.)
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