The Perfect Frying Pan of My Memory

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This is the little copper-bottom Revere Ware frying pan I’ve been wanting to find for over 40 years and here’s the story why:

In my 20’s, whenever I travelled abroad, it was always to France. But one day I received a letter from an old family friend, Rosalind Streeter, originally from Wales, who had moved back to the UK, inviting me to “come to James Herriot country” to visit her and her husband Ted in York.

I had grown up with stories of the Streeters and their four children as the entire family were favorite dental patients of my mother’s, and we had even attended the same school for two years. So I knew I’d feel right at home with their parents.

It was my first trip to England so I spent two days in London before taking the train to York. I felt like as I was coming home. Ted Streeter, an inspired guide, took me to the newly excavated Viking village nearby. And I was delighted when Rosalind confided that she had always wanted to learn how to make a génoise, so we made one together. I brushed it with my usual Grand Marnier syrup but Ted complained that I hadn’t added enough Grand Marnier, which changed forever how I syrup génoise, and I always think of him when doing so!

Rosalind was a wonderful cook, but what I remember best was breakfast, when she would make me an egg fried and served in the smallest Revere Ware pan I had ever seen. She said that she had always wanted to find more of these pans but never succeeded. All these years I wished I could find this pan and recreate the warm memory of the visit. Two weeks ago I was suddenly inspired to check e-bay! Voila! Or should I say lo and behold. I can imagine Rosalind smiling from heaven. I know that my mother would be so happy to know that I am back in touch with her beloved Streeter ‘boys’.

Extra Helpings--A New Website for Extraordinary Crafts

 Holiday Ornaments to hang on your tree or ring in the new year!

Holiday Ornaments to hang on your tree or ring in the new year!

My dear friend Miro Uskokovic, the amazingly talented pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern, has just announced that his wife Shilpa has launched her site Extra Helpings.

Miro is justifiably very proud of Shilpa, who collaborated with her mother to create "a site that sources home and lifestyle products from struggling artisans who are working tirelessly to preserve craft traditions that are endangered due to rapid globalization and general corporate greed." And, as a dyed in the wool craftsperson, I am delighted to share this with you! 

Shilpa's mother, Raji, sits on the board of an internationally recognized non-profit organization that works with artisans throughout India. This gives her access to the best crafts people! Shilpa and her mother have personally met with all the artisans and hand selected items that are beautiful, useful and fairly priced.

Shilpa sent me an exquisitely crafted small, but heavy, rolling pin to add to my special collection of pins from around the world. I hope you will visit her site and enjoy viewing some of the beauty that still exists in this world. 

 

My New Breville Oven & an Exciting New Technique for Melting Chocolate

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It's been over five years since I wrote about my first Breville oven, calling it the perfectly even oven. My test was to pipe a spiral of cream puff pastry to see how it browned and it was perfectly even. I have been so enamored of this oven, I have since purchased one as a wedding gift and another to have in my weekend home. A few weeks ago, I discovered the latest model, the Smart Oven Air. When I learned about the extra features this newer slightly larger model offers I had to have it. And I'm totally smitten! I've even put it to use for a newly developed terrific technique, which I will share at the end of this posting. First: here are the new features that I most value:

  • An oven light that can be turned off or on at will (oh joy!)
  • Two oven racks
  • A dehydrating setting and mesh basket (I'll be using this for my citrus powder)
  • A proofing setting for bread dough between 80°F/27°C and 100°F°/38°C

(I tested it and it holds true to temperature with no more than 3°F fluctuation.) Now here is my great new discovery: Anyone who has ever tried to melt white or milk chocolate without stirring it constantly, has learned the hard way that it will seed. This is caused by the milk solids in the chocolate. And there is no way of restoring the little specks of hardened milk solids. But, if you heat the chocolate at 100°F/38°C it will melt gradually to be as smooth as silk. In short, you can place it in a container in the Breville, turn it to the proofing setting, set the temperature to 100°F/38°C, and leave it to melt on its own. Breville BOV900BSS The Smart Oven Air, Silver

It's about TIME

TimeStack_Red-01.jpgTimeStack by Thermoworks is the ultimate timer. I've always wanted a timer that had mutliple time settings but feared I would get confused as which was timing what. The TimeStack quadruple timer has 4 time settings, each with a different sound, but the best part is that there is a voice recorder so that you can record your own message for each time setting. For example: Check the risen bread!, or Preheat the oven! The TimeStack has many other useful features. There is a back light button and also an adjustable volume button. And it comes in 9 attractive colors. Some great engineering went into the design of this sturdy and superbly functional timer. It will time up to all of 99 hours! You will love it!

My New Pie E-Booklet Has Arrived

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This booklet contains 9 of my top favorite classic American pies, including apple, pecan, and chocolate cream. I also offer my best pie crust and tips for successful pie making, including step-by-step photos for making a lattice crust. I am delighted that the booklet is available on Amazon just in time for your holiday pie baking. It is readable on any of your devices with a free Kindle E-reader download and is being offered for only $2.99. Rose's All-Original All-American Pie Recipes

A New Super Accurate & Affordable Instant Read Thermometer

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THE THERMOPOP

Baking is all about temperature, both hot and cold. Realizing that not everyone wants to spend close to $100 on a thermometer, but also how indispensible an accurate thermometer is for baking, I'm so pleased to be able to recommend a member of the ThermoWorks family--the new ThermoPop. At $29 a pop in your favorite color, it is both affordable and highly functional. It has a wide temperature range of -58° to 572°F (-50° to 300°C), an accuracy of 0.7°±-F (0.4°C) at the most important temperatures of -4° to 248°F (-20° to 120°C), and a reaction speed of 3 to 4 seconds, which is almost as fast as the Thermapen at 2 to 3 seconds. You can check out all the features of all the ThermoWorks models on their site but for a short comparison of two features that may be especially of interest to you: The Thermapen MK4 uses standard AAA batteries, and stays on when in use. The sleep mode can be disabled entirely. The ThermoPop requires a 3 volt button cell battery and turns off after 10 minutes. It wakes up quickly with the touch of the button. For sugar syrups and caramel, where I find the reaction speed of a thermometer the most critical, I value the Thermapen, but for most other things 1 to 2 seconds longer is perfectly acceptable. And the ThermoPop is so quick and easy to use it has a permanent place by my grill and in my savory kitchen as well.

Toss the Towel and Get the Easy Cake Roller!

IMG_4083.jpgI've always used a brown dish towel reserved for rolling my chocolate and yellow cake rolls, especially because it doesn't show the stains that are near impossible to remove even when washing it in the clothes washer. Recently I received a new device designed specifically for use with cake rolls and after trying it out on a chocolate biscuit found that not only did it worked perfectly, it wiped totally clean with a sponge and dish detergent. IMG_1602.jpg Although the instructions suggest using 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, I used my usual light dusting of cocoa (8 grams/a little under 2 tablespoons) and there was absolutely no sticking. It works best to set the edge of the cake near the edge of the liner, because when rolling the cake tends to move forward. IMG_1603.jpg With either the towel or cake roller, the cake needs to cool completely on a rack. To keep the cake roller from unrolling I set it seam-side-down on the rack and placed a metal bar on either side. Any long object such as a ruler will work. The Easy Cake Roller keeps the cake moist and, of course, is reusable. You can purchase it on the company's website.

Know Thy Oven

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LEFT: BREVILLE CONVECTION, RIGHT: PANASONIC CONVECTION

One batter, weighed equally between two identical pans, and baked for the exact same time to the exact same internal temperature, in two different countertop ovens. The interior of the cake (the crumb) is the same but the tops and the exterior are markedly different. (Note: The top of the cake in the Breville is browner but the exterior is less brown.) Breville_vs_Panasonic2.jpg

LEFT: BREVILLE CONVECTION, RIGHT: PANASONIC CONVECTION

No two ovens bake exactly the same. All ovens, except for those with circulating trays, will have some hot spots. Convection ovens tend to bake more evenly but still have hot spots. I rotate my cakes half-way around after two-thirds of the estimate baking time except if they are sponge type cakes such as génoise or chiffon that will fall if moved before they finish baking. In the Breville, if a recipe calls for 350°F/175°C I use 340°F/170°C. In the Panasonic, if it's a small cake or a pie I don't lower the temperature but for a large cake that requires more than 1 hour of baking time, such as a honey cake, which starts browning too fast, I lower the temperature to 325°F/160°C after the first 30 to 45 minutes of baking. When you get a new oven, try baking a familiar cake. I use my all-occasion downy yellow cake from The Cake Bible. Get to know your oven and you can adjust accordingly.

A New Member of the Rose's Magic Rolling Pin™ Family is Born

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MINI-ROLLER NON-STICK ROLLING PIN

This baby version of the big Syn Glas pin gives much more control when rolling small pieces of dough or fondant. I discovered the virtues of a small pin many years ago when I interviewed Liz Prueitt of Tartine Bakery. In answer to my question "what is the most valued piece of equipment in your bakery" her answer was a small wooden rolling pin which she gives to each of her pastry chefs. My non-stick rolling pin is 9 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. You will be surprised just how very useful it is! Rose Levy Beranbaum Signature Series Roller Non-Stick Rolling Pin, Mini, White

How to Keep Liquid from Exploding in the Microwave

IMG_3740.jpgHas it ever happened to you when reducing/concentrating liquid in the microwave: Suddenly you hear a loud blast, open the microwave oven door, and find that most of the liquid has spattered all over the walls, ceiling, and base of the oven. It's been happening to me once too often since I've moved from an apartment building in New York City to a house in the country. So I finally had to get to the bottom of the problem. Essentially the problem is that a high powdered microwave will have more power in a private home than in a building where many people are using electricity for various appliances. The solution turned out to be so simple: Set the microwave at lower power. My microwave at high power is over 1000 watts so I set it at medium power which is 550 watts. It took longer to concentrate the juices but they didn't bubble over or explode. Other Tips: Always use a container much larger than the liquid. Spray it with nonstick cooking spray, and that will ensure that the liquid will not bubble over the top. Stir the liquid often while reducing it. If you have a scale that allows you to turn off the automatic shutoff, you can use weight instead of volume to reduce liquids. For example, tare out (remove) the weight of the container, and add the liquid. If it is 100 grams and you want to reduce it by half, then as it thickens you can weigh the container and continue reducing until it is 50 grams.

The Perfect Cherry Cookie Cutter

IMG_3582.jpgSome months ago, when one of my favorite Alpha Bakers, Patricia Reitz, who is baking her way through The Baking Bible, posted a photo of her cherry pie, I was charmed by the pastry cutout which graced the lattice topping. I immediately wanted to have one but was hoping for a larger size. Finding nothing on the web, I decided to design one of my own with the help of the amazing cookie cutter maker--Betsy Cukla of Hammer Song Tin. The resulting Cherry Cookie Cutter is now available on her Ebay site via Facebook and also from La Cuisine, The Cook's Resource in Alexandria, VA, 800 521 1176 Cherry_cutter.jpg The lovely border was created effortlessly by pressing the dough into the deeply fluted edges of Rose's Perfect Pie Plate. (Note: this is a standard size, not a deep dish pie plate.) It can also be ordered from La Cuisine. Pie_Plate.jpg

Rose's Perfect Pie Plate Booklet with Pie Recipes

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Photo by Woody WolstonRose Levy Beranbaum's Perfect Pie Plate, 9-Inch, Ceramic, Rose The pie plate originally came in a hatbox with a small recipe booklet containing 4 recipes. As it is no longer packaged this way, here is a link to purchase a new booklet which contains my top 10 American pie recipes, my favorite pie crust recipe, tips and step-by-step photos. The pages are laminated. Rose Levy Beranbaum Signature Series Rose's All Original All American Pie Recipe Deck, Multicolor

My Holy Trinity of Baking Equipment

fb_ebl_weekend_sale_2016.jpgI'm delighted to share with you a special sale from Thermoworks on one of most valued pieces of equipment in my baking kitchen, the Extra Big & Loud Timer. The sound is variable and when set on the loudest I can hear it 2 floors away. I also love the large readout and buttons which are easy to operate. And once the timer goes off, if not shut off, it reverts to a time-elapsed mode. The sale will last until Monday, January 25, 2016. Thermapen.jpg The Thermapan by Thermoworks is the fastest and most accurate instant read thermometer for the consumer, essential for so many baking processes. It is also highly valued by professional chefs. Roses_Scale.jpg The Rose Scale by Escali was created for me as a testament to spearheading the movement toward weighing rather than volume measure in baking. Escali Alimento Rose Limited Edition Digital Scale, 13-Pound/6kg These are the three top items on my essential baking equipment list.

My 'New' Savory Kitchen

IMG_3369.jpgWhat a way to start a new year! The choice of a cooktop and sink is something one has to live with for many years. The last time I renovated my savory kitchen was over 20 years ago and I probably could have lived with my old Thermador cooktop and large stainless steel sink surrounded by a granite countertop for many more years to come. IMG_3281.jpg A few years ago, however, I noticed that the granite was cracking slightly around the sink area. I decided to consider it a 'rustic country kitchen' look, until recently when the cracks became so large water leaked into the cabinet below. The image that came to mind was of an ant thinking it had fallen into the Grand Canyon. What happened was that the foundation of the extension that had been constructed to make a longer kitchen had gradually settled. IMG_3282.jpg I realized that if I was going to put in a new sink and countertop, this was the time to replace the cooktop at the other end of the counter that did not have a much desired and useful simmer setting. My step daughter Beth Beranbaum, who is an architect, told me that one of her clients recommended the Capital cooktop. After researching on line it looked like the best choice and indeed it is the most precise and beautifully designed cooktop of my cooking experience. Next, I needed to find a stainless steel sink and countertop that would be custom designed to fit into the existing kitty corner area. I wanted it to be seamless as it is so much easier to maintain and clean. Elkay sinks have an excellent reputation and they worked with me and Phillipsburgh Marble (the installer) to create the perfect sink. IMG_3299.jpg Having gone this far, I rationalized that such a stunning new sink deserved the best high rise faucet by Dornbracht. Since I have been enjoying this faucet for 2 years in my baking kitchen I knew that it would be ideal. Construction and reconstruction are always fraught with the unexpected and much agonized hand-wringing, but I have to say that his time around, thanks to the professionalism and cooperation of the company representatives, the vigilance of Bob Baron of Phillipsburgh Marble, and the incredible artistry and skill of Dave McNally (who is a first rate cook and baker in his own right), my upstairs savory kitchen is as much of a joy for cooking as my downstairs kitchen is for baking.

My New Marvelous Mini Silicone Cake Pan

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Harold Import Company European-Grade Silicone Rose Levy Beranbaum's Marvelous Mini Cake Pan, Red I created this silicone pan, inspired by the French financier pan, to bake mini cakes but most of all for brownies. They pop right out--each with a perfect shape and size and fine crust all around that keeps them from staling. It's far easier getting the batter into the molds than having to cut them afterwards!

This batter can be made ahead and transported as there is no leavening to dissipate.

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The brownies are light in texture but get their exceptional moistness from cream cheese and fudginess from the best quality cocoa and chocolate. for extra creaminess optional little plugs of ganache are poured into holes made with a chop stick after baking. It is most gratifying to see people casually pop a brownie in their mouths expecting something ordinary and then watch their eyes widen in glad surprise. chocolate never gets better than this.

Oven Temperature:  325°F.

Baking time:  ­12 to 15 minutes

Makes:  Fourteen 3 inch by 1 inch by 1  1/8 inch high brownies

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Special Equipment:

Financier molds, preferably silicone, filmed with baking spray with flour or shortening and flour.

Preheat the Oven

20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.

Toast the Pecans

Place the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Cool completely.

Melt the Chocolate and Butter

In a double boiler over hot water or microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring 2 or 3 times.

Mix the Batter

Beat in the cocoa, then the sugar, beating until it is incorporated.  (If you are doing this by hand, use a whisk.)  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  When incorporated, beat in the cream cheese until only small bits remain.  Add the flour and salt  and mix only until the flour is fully moistened.  Stir in the nuts and scrape the batter into a piping bag or freezer-weight zipseal bag. (You can use a spoon but it's a lot faster and easier to use a pastry bag or zipseal bag with one corner cut.)

Fill the Molds

If using a silicone mold, set it on a baking sheet and pipe the batter into the cavities, filling them about three-quarters full (1.5 ounces/45 grams in each). With a small off-set spatula or the back of a spoon, smooth the tops.

Bake the Brownies

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the batter has set. The batter will puff and rise a little above the top of the cavities but sinks slightly on cooling. An instant read thermometer should register about 194˚F. and if pressed lightly with a finger tip they will spring back.

While the Brownie are Baking, Prepare the Ganache

Melt the chocolate in a microwave, using 15 seconds bursts on high power and stirring several times, or in a double boiler over hot but not simmering water, stirring occasionally.  Add the cream and stir gently until the mixture is smooth and dark.  If necessary (if the cream was too cold and the mixture not entirely smooth), return it to the heat until totally fluid and uniform in color.

Fill the Brownies

As soon as the brownies are removed from the oven, grease the end of a wooden chopstick or dowel (1/4 inch diameter) and insert it into the brownie, at 3 evenly-spaced intervals, all the way to the bottom, twisting slightly as you insert and withdraw it.  Fill the holes with the ganache until slightly rounded above the surface of the brownie.

Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.  The ganache will sink in as it cools and more ganache can be added, to fill in any depressions, as long as the brownie is still warm enough to melt it.  (If necessary, you can set the brownies under a lamp to heat the ganache puddles and make them smooth.) If making the optional ganache plugs, allow it to sit at room temperature until the puddles are firm to the touch. Then invert the mold of if using silicone, push each out with your finger pressed against the bottom of the mold. (If not making the ganache the brownies can be removed after 10 minutes of cooling.

Store wrapped airtight in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container: 1 week at room temperature, 1 month refrigerated, or several months frozen.  Try eating them frozen or chilled if you like a chewy brownie, room temperature for a softer creamier texture.

Cherry Version

Replace nuts with 2 ounces dried tart cherries, chopped plus 2 T Cherry Herring or half Kirsch half water.

A New Frontier for the Home Cook: Sous Vide

Anova.jpgMany years ago, when chef Daniel Patterson had his first restaurant Elizabeth Daniel in San Francisco, I had a marvelous dinner with my friend, the journalist Leslie Harlib. What was most memorable was the lamb chops that were extraordinarily plush in texture. When we asked Daniel the secret, he only had to say one word: "sous-vide." Translated from the French it means cooking "under vacuum." The method for sous-vide cooking, is to place the food that is to be cooked in a water tight (preferably vacuum sealed) bag, which is then heated in a water bath close to the temperature at which the food is to be served. Some foods that benefit from a browned exterior are then finished off briefly by another cooking method, such as pan frying or grilling. As I explored the possibilities of how I could do this in my home kitchen, I discovered that beyond needing a vacuum device (which I already had), it also required an expensive and high rent counter space "circulator" to maintain a constant low temperature and movement of the water for even cooking. It was at this point that I came to the conclusion that sous-vide was best performed in restaurant kitchens. A few months ago, along came J. Kenji López-Alt's terrific new book The Food Lab, in which, among other great ideas, he detailed a brilliantly simple way of cooking sous-vide using reclosable freezer storage bags and a beer cooler. I tried it, loved it, and quickly graduated to a dedicated "circulator" from Anova. Not only is the design stunning, it can attach to just about any pot of appropriate size, and it is reasonably affordable. I love the convenience of not having to check the temperature every 30 minutes and then having to add more hot water. (The water in the Anova drops only 1 inch every 8 hours, which is a lot longer than I need to sous-vide the things, I'm cooking. I cook steak and chicken 2 hours, and burgers only 1 hour.) After sous-viding, I grill or brown the meat on the cooktop for just a few minutes. The Anova even has a free app, which enables one to program time and temperature from a cell phone. Kenji has partnered with Anova to create recipes with wonderfully detailed explanations and choices of how to achieve precise final results. These guides, along with step-by-step color photos, are on the ap and on the on-line site listed in the link below. A new guide will be released every month. Here's a link to the first one on cooking steak. Here's a link to several other guides. Woody and I have been using the Anova several times a week to cook steak, hamburgers, and chicken breasts. Not only is the meat more tender, it's a lot more velvety and moist. As far as I'm concerned, sous-vide cooking has graduated from a thing of the future to a cutting-edge thing of the present. Thank you Kenji and Anova for making the leap so fun and effortless. To find out more about Anova click here. And here's the link to purchase on Amazon: Anova Culinary Precision Cooker (Black)

A Fantastic & Affordable Cast Iron Pan for the Best Pie Crust & Pizza

IMG_2975.JPGI've tried oven stones and baking steels, preheating them for the recommended one hour at my preferred temperature of 475°F/250°C. The stones were somewhat helpful, the baking steels a better choice, but I have recently made a great discovery: Preheating a cast iron pizza pan in the same way will give you a pizza crust that is just as perfectly browned and crisp. And it also works on the grill! It is so fantastic I no longer order pizza out. My 12 inch pizza crust, as shown in the above photo, is thin but with a bubbly rim. When I set the dough on top of the preheated pan, I can see through the oven window that it immediately starts to bake and bubble up just like in a beehive brick oven! I first stretch my dough on parchment and slide it onto the preheated pan. I bake it for 5 minutes and then remove the pizza by sliping a large metal pizza peel between the parchment and the pan so that the pizza is directly on the peel. After topping it, I slide the pizza back onto the cast iron pan and continue baking for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. In summer, rather than heating up the kitchen, I use my Weber 4 burner gas grill. I set the cast iron pizza pan on the grill and preheat it with all burners on high for 10 minutes at which point it is over 500°F/260° C. Then I open the lid, turn all 4 burners to medium, and allow the grill to cool for about 5 minutes to bring the surface of the pan to about 475°F/250°C. I slide the pizza onto the pan (be sure first to trim any overhanging parchment), lower the lid, and bake for exactly 3 minutes without opening it. I then remove the pizza pan to a rack, turn off the center 2 burners, and after topping the dough, set the pizza (without the parchment) in the center, directly on top of the grill grates. It takes about 9 minutes to finish baking the pizza, which becomes exceptionally crunchy with grill marks on the bottom. PIZZA_ON_GRILL.jpg IMG_9637.jpg IMG_9639.jpg IMG_9642.jpg The Lodge cast iron pizza pan is 14 inches in diameter and also has the advantage of having handles which make it easy to remove from the oven or grill. Lodge Pro-Logic P14P3 Cast Iron Pizza Pan, Black, 14-inch The cast iron pizza pan is also the solution to achieving a crisp, nicely browned bottom crust on a pie. The photo below is a slice of cherry pie, inverted, so that you can see what a first rate job the pizza pan does. The pie was baked for 35 minutes with the pie pan set on the fully preheated pizza stone. I used my "Rose's Perfect Pie Plate" which is ceramic. IMG_3073.jpg The apple galette, which is like a dessert pizza, also works splendidly, when the pan is set on the preheated cast iron pizza pan, to get a crisp bottom crust! IMG_3102.JPG

The UK Makes a Most Persuasive Argument in Favor of Weights!

Image.jpgI am beyond delighted to see that so many baking authors and home bakers are making the transition from measuring ingredients to weighing them. Any one who is on the cusp of deciding which way to go MUST read this great article in the Telegraph Media Group for the United Kingdom's audience. And even if you are already a devoted proponent of weighing, read it anyway. It is not only persuasive, it is very clever and fun reading.

Baking with Convection

Woody-putting_deep passion_in_oven.jpgI have long understood that with convection baking the oven is usually needed to be set at a temperature about 25°F lower than for conventional baking. I assumed that when an accurate thermometer was used to measure this temperature that it would register the same temperature as conventional baking, but I was wrong. Using two highly accurate thermocouples to check the temperature of four ovens, I found that although when setting the ovens 25°F below the temperature normally used with conventional baking it actually registered lower but it baked within the same time parameters. Conclusions: With convection, heat is transferred more efficiently, so the effect is that of a higher heat than what is registered on a thermometer. The benefit of convection is more even heating. Every oven is different so use the range of time given on a recipe, such as one of my cakes, to determine the best setting. This is the ultimate gauge and more reliable than any thermometer. Note: Baking at a higher setting for less time, or for a lower setting for more time will have markedly different results in texture and shape of baked goods.