I love when spending just a few dollars makes life so much easier. Here are two pieces of kitchen equipment that won't break the bank and will help your baking become more successful and consistent.
#1 An instant read thermometer
I have sliced into way too many loaves of underdone bread. If I had friends partaking of the bread, they often said they didn't mind and gladly ate a mushy slice or two. I've never been good at the tap test; you know, the one where you tap and see if it "sounds hollow" or not? Come on. And I certainly can't tell from the outside whether a loaf is done. Often the top will be edging on too dark an the inside is still doughy. Super. Annoying.
So finally... I got myself a thermometer.
All you need is an "instant read" thermometer. Mine looks a lot like this one, which is going for $4.43 on amazon. As long as it goes up to 190 F, you're good. When you think your bread might be done, take it out of the oven and stick the thermometer right into the middle, about halfway down. If it reads 190 or higher, you're good. If not, keep cookin'! (And you can tent the bread loosely with foil if the top is getting to dark before the center is done.)
Now wasn't that easy?
#2 An oven thermometer
Being a renter, I don't have much control over the quality of my appliances. For a couple years in a couple different apartments I thought I was just terrible at baking, because baked goods would either burn long before they were supposed to be done, or take much longer to cook than the recipe said. It was so frustrating!
So finally... I got myself a thermometer. Again.
But this time it was an oven thermometer. (That one is going for $2.77 on Amazon.) You just hang it on an oven rack and it tells you what temperature it is in there. It turns out my current oven runs 50-75 degrees hotter than it should. Who knows what was going on in my previous ovens, but I'm glad to know what's going on in this one! Now I can adjust the temperature accordingly. It's also helpful to be able to peek inside and know if the oven is preheated yet. AND, no more guesswork if I'm trying to dehydrate something, and I don't want to go above a certain temperature. Baking has been much more successful since I spent those three dollars at Meijer.
What inexpensive kitchen gadgets that have saved the day in your kitchen?
This is part of Kitchen Tip Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Pennywise Platter Thursday.