The demanding world of ever-faster results extends to the kitchen in many ways with accurate, fast temperature readings being the most important to me.
Is the chicken done roasting? The bread baked? The custard cooked? There are millions of culinary occasions when you need fast, accurate temperatures. Think of that super-expensive holiday roast beef, Porterhouse steak, or burgers on the gill. You want to be absolutely certain, if you like them rare, to whip them off the heat source the instant they reach 125 degrees F. Then there are egg-based sauces when you want to be sure not to overcook the eggs and wreck your sauce.
A reliable instant-read thermometer may well be the cook’s best friend and secret to consistent cooking success. I have two mechanical instant-read thermometers and have used them for years with good results. They have several great benefits, not the least of which is price. They don’t cost much, are sturdy, dependable, plus you can often recalibrate them yourself, if necessary.
But I’ve discovered that when it comes to certain tasks, such as heating milk for yogurt, there is nothing like the ease-of-use and rapid results given by a digital, instant-read thermometer. It’s so fun to use, you can go a little crazy taking temperatures. For instance, it’s now 65.4 degrees F in the kitchen, 64.5 in my office, the dog bed airing outdoors is 80, the bread flour is 64.4, and the milk is 43.2. Hmmm, does that mean the refrigerator’s own temperature gauge is off?