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sharff

Blue Star oven use

sharff
16 years ago

Can someone who has used a Blue Star oven comment on the ability to set the oven temperature to a particular temperature?

We're used to an oven with a digital read out that tells us the oven is set to 450 or 455 or 465 (as an example). We've adjusted our cooking to the "right" oven temp based on the readout.

With a dial control only on the Blue Star we're wondering how hard it is to hit your "correct" temperature time after time when you cook the same dish.

Our details are we're considering a 30" range and I bake breads about twice a week.

Thanks

Al Sharff

Comments (13)

  • alexrander
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm one of many who bake bread in their Bluestar range oven. I stick a digital probe thermometer right into the loaf near the end of the bake, when the timer I set on same thermometer goes off. Then I know if I need to leave it in for a few more minutes. I just close the door on the probe wire and wait the last couple minutes till I hit the internal temp that I want.

    I'm not sure a digital readout of the oven is that handy for baking-buy why not? I used an oven thermometer for a while just to get a sense of things, but there are so many variables- like the number of loafs being baked and in what container, convection fan on or off and when during the bake, and opening the door for a steaming of the crust.

    In any case, the oven cycles thru a range of temperatures controlled by the burner coming on and off as the thermostat-(controlled by your knob) sees fit... I sort of see this as a 'temperature range'. The knob certainly is only an approximation.

  • cpovey
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The oven is probably as accurate as your old one. DId you use a calibrated thermometer to find out if 450 F is REALLY 450 F?

    Ellene613, a frequent poster here, who bakes bread weekly, says her Bluestar oven makes the best bread she has ever made.

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  • sharff
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm not interested in the calibration of the oven as to the actual oven temp compared to the control knob temp.

    I'm interested in whether the control knob allows you to hit the same temp (what ever that might be) time after time so you can cook a known recipe the same over and over.

    Thanks,

    Al Sharff

  • Joe Blowe
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Yes, the temperature will hit the same temp as it relates to the knob, time after time.

    But, is that the way you actually cook? Just dial in a temp and toss your goods in the hole? I like to use an oven thermometer just to be on the safe side...

  • sharff
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Dear Mr Blowe,
    Yes, that is the way I cook. I bake bread twice a week and I expect my quality kitchen items to repeat their performance week in and week out.

    The best of my kitchen appliances allow me to "just dial..and toss". The worst of my kitchen appliances require that I double check their performance every time I use them.

    My question is does a control device on a $4,000 appliance operate well enough that I can expect the same performance from it week in and week out? Does a painted line on a rotary knob allow you to set the same repeatable oven temperature as does a numerical readout? Does someone have experience with a Blue Star oven knob that can tell me if they can get the oven to perform the same way repeatedly?

    If you want to hear how I "toss my goods in the hole" let's take the discussion off the appliance forum and onto the "trash to cook" forum.

    Al Sharff

  • Joe Blowe
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Apparently you just focused on the last part of my post. Re-read the first sentence.

    Joe B.
    Owner of a 2006 BlueStar 30" RNB

  • rockpig
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Al-I don't have a Bluestar-I bought Wolf double wall ovens but haven't taken delivery of them, still a few months off for that. In my present kitchen my oven (electric) has a digital readout that I preset, wait for it to beep to let me know it's up to temp, then I "toss my goods in the hole." I've never cooked bread personally, more of a meat and potatoes person. If your concerned about the dial I would get a calibrated oven thermometer and throw it in the oven the next time you warm it up. If after warm up it matches what you set the dial at, there you go, it's correct, if not adjust until your oven temp is at your goal temp and see how much the dial is off. You'll have to then mentally record how much it's off for the next time you bake.
    This was one of the reasons I went with the Wolf, set and go. Now this does not mean that what I set the Wolf at will be what it actually is in the oven, I'll still use the method I described to double check it.

  • alku05
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think there's a precision vs accuracy miscommunication going on here.... Precision is getting the same result over and over again, whereas accuracy is getting a result that is close to the actual value. Ideally, your result will be both accurate and precise.

    It sounds like precision is very important to Al. He wants to be able to set his oven dial to a mark and get the same oven temp over and over again. Joe was commenting on using a thermometer to ensure that when the knob was set to 350, the oven temp was really 350.

    So those are really two different conversations...I think the divergence came about because oven knobs are usually quite precise, but it's their accuracy that varies. This means that when you set the oven knob to 350, you'll get the same oven temp everytime, BUT that oven temp may actually only be 325. Getting your oven calibrated so that the oven is really 350 when set at 350, and monitoring it with an oven thermometer will ensure accuracy.

  • debbie_d
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There seem to be several topics being discussed here:

    1. When you set a digital read out to a certain temperature, you know exactly what that setting is. But when you turn a dial, how easy is it to set the dial to exactly the same spot after time? (I think this was the OP's original concern.)

    2. Is the BlueStar's thermostat sufficiently accurate so that if you do set the dial to exactly the same spot time after time, the oven temperature will also be the same time after time.

    3. Assuming your oven is very precise and consistent in its performance, does it still make sense to monitor its temperature and the progress of whatever you are cooking in it?

    Here are some thoughts:

    1. Most recipes call for temperatures in "round" numbers. For example, in the US recipes use Fahrenheit and tend to use temperates that are evenly divisible by 25. But if you think about this, the food you are cooking doesn't know about Fahrenheit. The perfect cooking temperature maybe be 360F not 350F. But the recipe says 350 because a lot of ovens don't have a 360 setting. With a dial, there may be an internal mechanism that makes the dial kind of click into place on each marked setting. I don't know of BlueStar does that. But does it really need to? What if you are very close to the temperature the recipe calls for but not exactly there? Let's say you are off by 5 degrees F. Would that really make a difference in whatever you are cooking? Probably not. There are so many variables that have nothing to do with the oven. For bread there is the starting temperature of the dough, how much moisture is in this batch, exactly how much dough is in the loaf. Let's say you are roasting a chicken. In that case there are variables such as the size of the chicken, it's temperature when you put it in the oven, how long the door is open when you baste or turn the chicken during roasting, and so on. The bottom line is that no two baking sessions will ever be exactly the same no matter how accurate the oven is. The good news here is that small variations usually don't make a noticable difference, because most recipes are forgiving of these small variations. So I wouldn't worry if the dial was a few degrees higher or lower from one batch of a recipe to another. Not only is that difference small and almost always well within the tolerances of a recipe, but other variables in the food may well overwhelm it.

    2. Is BlueStar's thermostat accurate and is its performance consistent from baking session to baking session? I don't own a BlueStar, but from what I have read there are no problems in this area.

    3. Given each batch of food that you bake will be slightly different from other batches, it definitely is a good idea to monitor what is happening as the food cooks. Sure for a lot of recipes you can get okay results by setting a timer and using an accurate oven, but some recipes are more finicky and sometimes you get a surprise. I can remember a chicken that we thought was fully defrosted but turned out not to be. My favorite baking story is about a pumpkin pie recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook. My guests loved the pie but every time I baked it the pie took a lot longer to firm up than the recipe said. Eventually I figured it out. I had been starting with pumpkin from a real pumpkin that I had peeled, cleaned, and cooked myself. The recipe had called for canned pumpkin, which has a lot less water in it. So the difference in cooking time was not the fault of the oven. Something like this can happen in bread-baking. If you make bread during humid weather, the flour has probably absorbed moisture from the air, so when you follow your regular recipe your loaf may be wetter than usual and take longer to bake. So while you well be getting nice results without using a thermometer, you may find you get even better results if you do. It's not about whether the oven is a few degrees warmer or cooler; its about the food itself being the variable.

  • Joe Blowe
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Actually, I was commenting on both precision AND accuracy. Any good cook will tell you they go hand-in-hand. You can precisely get the oven up to 364 degrees repeatedly, but if you're under the impression that you're baking at 350F, well???

    Again, for Al, I use an oven thermometer in my BlueStar. It's confirmation that I set the correct temperature. Not to mention an analog knob could drift over a long period of time, so it's wise to make sure 350F is still 350F a couple of years later...

  • fenworth
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm quite sure that ovens cycle and esp with gas ovens the temperature variation between on and off can be pretty big. And that therefore 350 is simply an average number.

    If the above statement is correct, then figuring out whether your oven truly averages 350 when the knob says it should be would be a pretty tedious task of charting oven temperature over time. I'm thinking if you put food in when the thermometer says 350, the most you are ensuring is that is that you're putting it in "somewhere" mid cycle - probably on the way up if you've been sitting there waiting for the oven to come to temp.

    I know that this pertains to my electric oven. One time it's particularly noticable is when I'm bumping up the temp. Let's say I'm changing the setting from 350 to 400. The digital display might say 350 for a while and then creep up to 400, or, it might jump up to 370 or higher right away. Depending on when in the cycle time it is.

    I would think it a reasonable expectation that the oven would behave the same way every time you turn it to a given setting. In a gas oven I would probably monitor the high and low extremes periodically to ensure that nothing has changed. But looking for the thermometer to read 350 doesn't really show you much at all if you don't know if you're at the top, bottom or middle of the cycle.

    (After all that, I'd feel pretty stupid if someone proves to me that gas oven temps are consistent!!!)

  • Joe Blowe
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The ability of any oven to hold a consistent temperature has a lot to do with its ability to store heat.

    Picture a thick-walled brick oven and a toaster oven. They can both reach 500F, but which one is more likely to experience drastic temperature swings?

    I like to think a BlueStar is somewhere in the middle -- thick enough to hold an even temp and moderate some of the temperature swings, but nimble enough to ramp up quickly.

    But I fear we're all going off-topic here. The OP asked if the BlueStar will repeatedly reach a temperature as it corresponds to a number on the dial. The short answer is yes, and most likely yes for any modern range or wall oven.

  • edlakin
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    personally, i hate digital controls, but i think i understand where the OP is coming from.

    i'm sure that everyone has had knob-type controllers where the knob is just a little loose and you can actually move the knob a little bit without even turning the stem (which controls the device) at all.

    try it sometime on your oven, shower valve knob, whatever.

    but what i've found is that when you use the appliance repeatedly, you start to get a feel for things. my last range had a knob that fit this description, and you could lightly wiggle the knob back and forth to the tune of about 15 degrees F without even moving the stem one bit.

    once i knew this, i simply turned the knob the same way each and every time. finding the sweet spot was easy. and, as someone already noted, a variation of 10 degrees or so isn't really all that big a deal, even with bread, as there are so many other variables.

    i do find this kind of stuff amusing, because i think it speaks to the type of mindset that's been cultivated with regard to **control**. we've been sold a bill of goods by manufacturers, advertisers, etc, that we can precisely control everything and, for a lot of people, that's really appealing. reassuring, even.