Every good baker relies on accurate thermometers to identify the correct cooking temperatures. An oven thermometer is essential—very few ovens are exactly calibrated, and a free-standing thermometer is a great backup. You’ll need a candy/deep-frying thermometer (from 0° to 400°F) for heating fat for doughnuts and checking the temperature of syrups. An instant-read thermometer (0° to 220°F) comes in handy for testing the temperature of liquids for dissolving yeasts.
You used to need all three of the aforementioned thermometers, but there is one great new tool that does the job of all three. Probe thermometers were originally used for roasting. The probe, which is inserted into the meat or poultry, is attached to a cord that connects by a flexible cable to the read-out unit, but it measures the temperature of anything from 0° to 392°F. It is especially great when measuring shallow amounts of syrup (an instant-read thermometer usually needs to be submerged ½ inch or more to reach the tiny notch on the stem). One drawback: if you run out of batteries, you’re stuck, so you may want to keep your old thermometers around as backups.
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