The Great Hall
Is there such a thing as a reliable instant-read thermometer??? The Great Hall: Is there such a thing as a reliable instant-read thermometer???
By Adelie (Adelie) on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 09:42 pm: Edit

I bought a new one last year for about $15. The other night, I used it to make my eggnog for a party. The damn thing was registering 130* when the mixture started to boil. I was able to save it by moving it off the heat and adding the rest of the cream, but my thermometer seems pretty worthless.

So I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a good one that gives accurate temps.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 11:57 pm: Edit

You need to recalibrate it once and a while. Especially when dropped.

By Tortesrus (Tortesrus) on Friday, December 23, 2005 - 12:23 am: Edit

I like the cheap digital ones- our's worked great until we dropped it tonite...ironic that I just read your post Cheftim... Adelie if you have the type with the round dial top with the small set screw underneath the dial- place it in the center of a plastic or styrofaom cup filled to the top with crushed ice and a little water. After 5-10 minutes adjust the screw to the point where the line is set on zero centigrade,(or 32 degrees F) that should recalibrate it.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Friday, December 23, 2005 - 06:59 pm: Edit

Good advice. I've never dropped it, and have never noticed a set screw under it, but will go downstairs and take a look. Thanks.

By Briangig (Briangig) on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 01:05 am: Edit

the ones i've always used have a nut under the base of the dial, just turn it using a wrench, or the holder sometimes has a tool to adjust it.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 06:44 pm: Edit

OK, I did what Tortesrus suggested and noticed something strange about it.

The lowest temperature marking on the face is 0*F. Not 0*C. 0*F is way below freezing. The next marking is 60*F. So there's no way of knowing where 32*F is.

So this is where my ignorance kicks in: How cold is a glass of ice-water? Is it 32*F or colder?

Maybe it would be safer to try it in boiling water, because I'd know that whatever it's showing, it's 212*F.

Wait a minute - I live at 2200'. So maybe that's not right either.


By Tamsin (Tamsin) on Friday, December 30, 2005 - 08:49 am: Edit

Adelie, ummmm maybe just go and buy a new one.
I use the digital ones in the kitchen, they get dropped and so on, we check them every month either using the ice and water method or sometimes the boiling water method, and they are always accurate, I think in the past year we might have thrown out 2 which isn't bad considering we have atleast 30 in the kitchen.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 04:57 pm: Edit

I think I'll do that. I once had a digital one but the switch got bumped in the drawer and it ran through the battery. I just don't have much good technology karma!

By Chef_Rdub (Chef_Rdub) on Monday, April 10, 2006 - 02:25 am: Edit

I've had a Cooper dial thermometer for 9 years, I calibrate it once a week in ice water. It reads plus or minus 2 degrees depending how many times I drop it. Ice water is supposed to be 32, if that puts you a couple of degrees cold for your readings in this day and age of everything foodborne is going to kill somebody, the better.

By Adelie (Adelie) on Tuesday, April 11, 2006 - 06:14 pm: Edit

I have no problem if it reads a degree or two cold, but mine has no calibration marker between 0*F and 60*F, so 32*F freezing isn't marked. I guess I could just split the difference...

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