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I have a huge problem baking anything in my oven. Can you help me?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I have an ordinary oven which is part of an ordinary stove in an ordinary apartment. It has a computerized thermometer. I thought it was off, so I bought an ordinary oven thermometer at an ordinary hardware store. Well. 350 F turned out to be 350 F. 420 F is 420 F. 

 

I also have a food thermometer. Here's the problem:

 

Most chicken recipes suggest you preheat the oven and then bake your chicken (to pick a food at random) for ... well, anywhere from 25 minutes to 40 minutes (tops). I mean, it's chicken, right? 

 

Well. After 25 minutes, the chicken's internal temperature is barely 100 F. After a full HOUR at 420 F, it's only 100 F. Last time, I got it up to 160 F by turning the oven up to 500 F after an hour of cooking and letting it sit there for a good 15 minutes.

 

It's the same with meat. Takes an hour and a half. With fish, it's worse. Fish comes out raw after 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and even 30 minutes.

 

What am I doing wrong?

 

Correction: chicken THIGHS. I mean chicken THIGHS!


Edited by Ricardo Torres - 6/3/16 at 12:02pm
post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricardo Torres View Post

 

Most chicken recipes suggest you preheat the oven and then bake your chicken (to pick a food at random) for ... well, anywhere from 25 minutes to 40 minutes (tops). I mean, it's chicken, right? 

 

25 to 40 minutes isn't enough to cook a whole bird. 40mn at a high temp may barely make it for a tiny bird, but usually you'll need longer cooking times. 

 

I googled "roast chicken" and couldn't find a recipe that recommended a cooking time less than 50mn. The 3rd google result recommended 1 Hr 30mn cooking time. I'm not sure where you're finding the recipes you mention but they must be for a fabricated chicken, not a whole chicken.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

I meant chicken THIGHS. Thanks for pointing that out. I have yet to attempt a whole bird.

post #4 of 17

What kind of thermometer?

post #5 of 17

What temp is the food before going into the oven? Some recipe writers make assumptions like meat will be room temp, etc. when stating a cooking time. Sometimes (often, perhaps) they don't state the assumptions on that aspect. It sounds like your bird is cold and taking a bit longer than expected to heat up.

 

Another thing to consider is how you load your oven. The door should be opened only as long as it takes to slide the food in and out. (I don't intend to be insulting in any way by suggesting such a basic consideration... but the other day I noticed my wife open the hot oven, get a beverage out of the refrigerator, wash her hands, and then put the food in the oven. I almost shrieked out loud! Instead I bit my tongue to the point I almost had to put a Band-Aid on it.)

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricardo Torres View Post
 

I meant chicken THIGHS. Thanks for pointing that out. I have yet to attempt a whole bird.

OH okay. That makes more sense!

 

Well then 25 to 40 mn sounds about right for chicken thighs. On top of what others have said, one thing to consider is that the size of chicken thighs can vary quite a bit from one bird to another, so depending on how big they are they'll require more or less time. 

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

What kind of thermometer?

This kind:

 

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
 

What temp is the food before going into the oven? Some recipe writers make assumptions like meat will be room temp, etc. when stating a cooking time. Sometimes (often, perhaps) they don't state the assumptions on that aspect. It sounds like your bird is cold and taking a bit longer than expected to heat up.

 

Another thing to consider is how you load your oven. The door should be opened only as long as it takes to slide the food in and out. (I don't intend to be insulting in any way by suggesting such a basic consideration... but the other day I noticed my wife open the hot oven, get a beverage out of the refrigerator, wash her hands, and then put the food in the oven. I almost shrieked out loud! Instead I bit my tongue to the point I almost had to put a Band-Aid on it.)

Good points all. 

 

Store-bought chicken thighs. Not quite room temperature. Sometimes I leave them in my fridge for a few hours. However, I must say, 25 minutes vs an hour and a half?! Hmm ...

 

No, I don't leave the oven door open for more than a few seconds. Slide in, slide out. 

 

You can't insult a beginner unless you tell him/her outright he's a hopeless idiot/she's a mindless twit. 

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post
 

OH okay. That makes more sense!

 

Well then 25 to 40 mn sounds about right for chicken thighs. On top of what others have said, one thing to consider is that the size of chicken thighs can vary quite a bit from one bird to another, so depending on how big they are they'll require more or less time. 

But not an hour more? You're scaring me.

post #10 of 17

Ah I meant your instant read taking the meat temp.  They vary a lot.  For example this cheap kind is based on the expansion/contraction rate of a metal spring.  i'd say it's only accurate +-25 degrees in other words kind of useless when taking meat temp

 

 

On the other hand digital ones can be +- half a degree accuracy

 

So your reading 125 is it really 75 or 125 no one knows.  Also important is exactly where you probe.  You need to measure the thickest part but not near the bone.

post #11 of 17

And what are you cooking on?  A sheet pan?  Maybe try something like a cast iron skillet.   It has lots of mass and retains heat.  Heat it up on the stove before throwing it in the oven and your meat will cook from above and below, cutting cooking time considerably

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricardo Torres View Post
 

But not an hour more? You're scaring me.

For chicken thighs? Well, it depends on the temp, but at 375 or 400F, an hour would most likely be overkill. 

 

If you're scared by raw chicken, or don't trust your chicken source perfectly, or like your chicken really well cooked, then you could try a lower temp (300F to 350F) and then leave it longer. There will be less difference between the inside vs the outside of the chicken, meaning you'll be able to leave the chicken longer in the oven without it burning, and it will still stay moist. 

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post
 

For chicken thighs? Well, it depends on the temp, but at 375 or 400F, an hour would most likely be overkill. 

 

If you're scared by raw chicken, or don't trust your chicken source perfectly, or like your chicken really well cooked, then you could try a lower temp (300F to 350F) and then leave it longer. There will be less difference between the inside vs the outside of the chicken, meaning you'll be able to leave the chicken longer in the oven without it burning, and it will still stay moist. 

That's what's puzzling. I leave them in for an hour at 420F, and they're still 100F on the inside. Damn it.

 

I mean, here's a recipe (picked at random from epicurious.com) - 

 

  1. Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Toss beans and capers in a 13x9" baking dish and spread out evenly on bottom of pan. Spread 1 tsp. mustard on skin of each chicken thigh and nestle, skin side up, into beans and capers. Arrange lemon slices under and around chicken and add enough water (about 1/3 cup) to come up sides of chicken by 1/2". Drizzle chicken with oil and season whole dish with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast chicken, stirring and shaking dish halfway through, until skin is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165°F, about 35 minutes. If chicken skin starts to burn, move pan to a lower rack to finish cooking.
  3.  ABOUT 35 MINUTES! They're all like that. Goodness. What am I doing wrong?!
post #14 of 17

Just so you're not going crazy.  I want to you to do an experiment with white bread.  Buy a loaf and lay them out on the racks in your oven.  Turn it up to say 350.  Your oven thermometer is fine but it only measures on spot in the oven

 

You will see the bread that gets darker or not and you can identify hot spots(and cold) in your oven.

 

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

Just so you're not going crazy.  I want to you to do an experiment with white bread.  Buy a loaf and lay them out on the racks in your oven.  Turn it up to say 350.  Your oven thermometer is fine but it only measures on spot in the oven

 

You will see the bread that gets darker or not and you can identify hot spots(and cold) in your oven.

 

Thank you. I'll try that.

post #16 of 17

Or if you don't want to waste bread spread some flour on a baking sheet

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

Or if you don't want to waste bread spread some flour on a baking sheet

That's okay. I'll feed it to my wife, regardless of how it comes out. Like many women burdened by a degree and some intellect, she can never resist bread. "I'll just take a little bit." Before you know it, the entire loaf is gone. "What happened?" "Never mind what happened. Go back to your easel."

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