The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Thermometers

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bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

Thermometers

I've been going through thermometers like crazy, looking for a recomendation for something that works well and isn't too expensive.


 


I had a CDN that I liked pretty well, but I lost somewhere. Nobody sells them locally, so I bought the only thing I could find, a Polder, which is just awful. Takes over a minute to reach temp, and tonight it broke. Just bought a generic at Wal Mart, as well as a dial thermometer as a back up, but am interested in any recommendations for a fast and not crazy expensive probe.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

> I've been going through thermometers like crazy,


> looking for a recomendation for something that works


> well and isn't too expensive.


If you are going through many thermometers, it might be better to invest in a higher-quality one to start with.  For handheld instant read the Thermapen (instant version, temperature scale you prefer) is in my opinion near laboratory quality.  I have had mine for almost 3 years now and it is a workhorse.


For an in-oven probe, I don't think there is anything accurate and durable on the home market - every unit I have seen looks to me as if it will fail within a few months, and that is what people report.  Plus the probe cables are usually very short.  If you really want to do in-oven measuring you probably need to follow Rose Levy's lead and buy an industrial unit from Omega Engineering.


sPh

raidar's picture
raidar

I can't speak highly enough of my Thermapen. Like you, it's an absolute workhorse for me. It is one of my favorite kitchen tools.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I own two Pyrex "commercial"--that's the model name--probe thermometers. One is about seven years old, and the other is three years old. I use them frequently when I smoke meat or fish, or when I roast meat in the oven.  When I bought each of them I checked them against a laboratory grade themometer I use when mashing grain to make beer. Both were within 1°F of the lab thermometer, which is good enough for my applications.


The older one has a 38" probe wire, and the newer one's is 43". These lengths have always been adequate for use in both the smoker, and the oven. Both themometers can be set for Farenheit or Celsius, both have "reached temperature" alarms, and they've been consistently reliable.


I use a CDN candy thermometer to check ingredients and dough temperatures. I use it because I already owned it, its handy in a drawer near where I make bread, and it responds quickly.


As for bread making, I'm weaning myself away from using a thermometer, and learning to rely on feel, sound, color and smell to cue me when bread is done. I'll sometimes use the candy thermometer when I'm unsure, but for the most part I rely on my senses.


I paid $25 and $30 for each of the probe thermometers; I've forgotten the price of the candy thermometer.



David G




Mitch550's picture
Mitch550

I agree about Omega for a good oven thermometer.  I went through two Maverick units at $25 each and they are garbage. They are unreliable, dont't give accurate readings, and often lock at some temperature and you have no way of knowing that.


I got tired of all this and was fortunate to have found the reference to Omega from Rose Levy Beranbaum.  Turns out that the model she uses has been discontinued and the replacement is VERY expensive. But the customer representative, Danny Zovic helped me find a unit that was $74 plus about $27 for a probe with a 4 foot lead (each extra foot is just $1.00 a foot) that's insulated to withstand a temperature up to about 900F.  Shipping added another $8.00, but I made the plunge and used it for the first time a few days ago.


The unit is FANTASTIC and I couldn't be happier with it.  Contact Danny at Omega and he'll help you with this.  Here is a copy of what I bought.  If you can afford this I highly recommend it.


Mitch


 


1)    1  HH11B                              74.00         74.00EA      74.00
           TEMP HH (SMP, SMPW CONN ONLY)   STOCK
 
  2)    1  HTTC36-K-14G-2.5-GG-SMPW-M         27.00         27.00EA      27.00
           HOLLOW TUBE TC,DIA&L IN INCHES  1 Week
 



 THIS QUOTATION IS VALID FOR 30 DAYS                      TOTAL AMT     101.00

asicign's picture
asicign

When my CDN started misbehaving, I emailed their customer support department.  They were going to replace it, even though I didn't have a receipt, but it magically started working again.  In the meantime, after a bit of research, I purchased a Taylor Professional 9306 Dual Temp thermometer from Amazon.  I'm very pleased with this tool.  The probe comes to equilibrium very quickly, and the IR temps appear to be quite accurate.


Andy

noonesperfect's picture
noonesperfect

I have found CDN thermometers at local Target, Smart and Final, and Sur La Table stores.  I'm sure you can also find them for reasonable prices online.  Mine cost around $15 at Target.


 


brad

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

I found it on Amazon.com for $18.99.  If you order something else and the total goes over $25 you're eligible for free shipping too.  Since Amazon.com doesn't ship things like this to Canada, I bought a cheap generic one from the Canadian Superstore.  Not an instant reader but it does the job just fine.  Cost no more than $12.



bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

Thanks guys. The local target doesn't have jack when it comes to thermometers. May just look for another CDN for the time being, although the wal mart one doesn't seem too bad after using it tonight

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

At Christmas I was given a Maverick brand Redi-Check probe-type thermometer, purchased from Breadtopia. Here is the url:


http://www.breadtopia.com/store/maverick-et-32-instant-read-thermometer.html


I know I have used it every day since, for meat, chicken, bread, and other things. It seems accurate, is easy to clean, and so far it's working fine. I recommend it.


 


 

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

I'll have to join the proponents of the Thermapen.  It's the single tool I use most.  Sure, it's expensive, but I've melted a few cheapies in a wood fired environment.  The good things about the Thermapen are: accuracy, very tough casing, very, very fast read AND recovery time.  I can't recommend it highly enough.


CJ

MommaT's picture
MommaT

Problem with many remote/cabled thermometers is that they have a top temperature of just shy of 400 F.  Since most of us bake our breads at higher temps, it renders them useless for our purposes....but still pretty good for a roast or casserole that bubbles away at 350 or 375.


 

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

I plan to give the Omega Thermometer a try once I can find one and the correct probe for my oven.  I am sorry to see that the Maverick with its 15 degree variation monitor doesn't work all that well.  But better to learn it here than after I've bought and shipped a couple of them across the Pacific Ocean. 


I want to second (or third - fourth - fifth) the Thermapen for an instant read thermometer.  I have two and love them.  Well, one quit due to battery problems and needs to be returned for service, but the 2nd has soldiered on like a champ for years.  I cannot imagine cooking without a thermapen now.


Tatoosh

Chuck's picture
Chuck

I've just recently been experimenting with one of those remote/cabled oven thermometers, and I'm about to conclude it works better to take the loaf out and stick it with an "instant read" thermometer and put it back in if necessary.


I have an oven thermometer that goes up to higher temperatures than most (although even so there's a warning about the cable getting brittle and breaking at the temperatures we bake at). (Specifically it says Oneida, but I can't find any model number on either the thermometer itself or the directions that came with it.)


I found the probe has to be fully inserted in the bread with the bent part of the probe sticking up. When I let the bent part roll down below where the probe went into the loaf and nearly touching my baking stone, the measured temperatures were way off (crumb reached 200F after only ten minutes, and was 217F when I took the bread out of the oven?).


I've also found the cable to be a non-trivial nuisance. Just today I managed to pull the cable the wrong way and yank a loaf I'd just put in the oven half way back off my baking stone.


Although I'm going to try using it a few more times before making any final decisions, I wouldn't be at all surprised if in the end I gave up on it in favor of an "instant read" thermometer. An in-oven thermometer seemed like a great idea  ...but now I'm not so sure.




Since a probe is in all the time and tracks the internal temperature of the loaf as it rises slowly during baking, I don't understand why the thermometer needs to be "fast". What am I missing?




As to brand names for oven thermometers, I don't think they're any guide at all. All of the reasonably priced ones are originally made in China, and who sells which one changes every few months.


As to inexpensive, I recently got some no-brand "instant-read" models via eBay shipped from Hong Kong for less than $5 each (plus a bit of postage).


As to breaking often, that sounds atypical, like it's something that might be cured. Do you avoid dropping them, avoid putting them in dishwasher or even sink, wipe the probe off with a damp sponge after each use, and have one with an "automatic shutoff" so it never stays on even if you forget?


 


 

swtgran's picture
swtgran

I use a Pyrex corded model and a Pyrex instant read.  I have had both for many years. 


I guess I had forgotten about the maximum temp. rule, if I had read there was one.  I usually bake at temps over 400.  I usually just stick it into my dough, at the side, to the center, set the desired temp., and set the alarm.  Half way through the baking I turn the dough 180 degrees and move the outside part to the other side of the stove.  If I am using the magic bowl method, I stick it in after I remove the bowl.


I have been doing this for 8-9 years or maybe more with no problems.  I would purchase this brand again.

Tatoosh's picture
Tatoosh

While many, if not most, consumer thermometers are made in China, design will still play a factor, as will the manufacturers quality control (provided there is a quality control unit).  There are lots of cheap cookware made in China, but All Clad is made there too and All Clad is pretty decent stuff, imho. 


So while vendors do round robin the merchandise they offer, some of it will be better than others.  That said, I rarely use a probe with cable to monitor the food itself, just the temprerature of the oven.  I normally pull my food out (meat or other similar dishes) and check them with a Thermapen.  I have not progressed to checking my baked goods yet, though that  will probably happen down the road as I become more informed about what I am looking for.


Currently, I want to monitor the oven's temperature and with the addition of my homemade baking stone, I would like to monitor its temperature too.  A dual input or two units would be ideal.  That is what I had until recently, when 1 unit died.  And they do not go high enough to monitor baking temperatures.  I simply have to let it go "over 392 degrees" and leave it at that. 


But it would be nice to know what the baking stone's temperature is and what the oven temperature is, at least initially so I would have a better idea when to pop something in. 


My Thermoworks instructions recommend covering the cable with foil if left in an overn over the 392 degree limit, to help protect it.  So that is what I have done.  I will probably get an Omega if I can find the right combo of thermometer and probe. Plus I may spring for a Maverick and simplly keep my fingers crossed it will work long enough to make the investment and shipping worthwhile.


Tatoosh