November 15, 2014

How to calibrate a cheap, single kitchen thermometer

With all the cooking and baking I do, I've never owned, nor needed (nor wanted) a thermometer.  I make candies like toffee and other items that have to be cooked to a certain temperature but if you follow the 'soft ball" to "hard crack" testing of putting a drop of the candy into a glass of ice water, it tests perfectly.   I don't even need one for making my homemade soaps, as my foolproof 'grandma' recipes don't require one. 

When it came to making my homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheese however, I knew I was going to need one.  Being oh-so-frugal, I wasn't willing to purchase a digital version when a dial faced food thermometer would suffice.  I added one to my order of rennet tablets and citric acid and I have to say I have been quite happy with it.

IF you have one of this style however, you may need to know how to calibrate it.  It's quick and simple.

Take the thermometer out of the plastic casing it came in.  That is the thing that looks like a pen with a little metal pocket clip!

Put about 1/4- 1/2 cup of water into a glass and fill with ice.  Let it set for a bit to equalize the temperature.  Stick the metal prong down into it.

Check the face to see what temperature it reads.  If it reads anything but 32 degrees, you will simply adjust it using the same plastic 'pen' looking covering it came in.  It's NOT just a protector, but it's your 'wrench' as well.

Place the metal prong through the opening at the top of the plastic cover.
You will turn it as needed to fit directly and snugly down into the slots.
Turn it a bit to the right or left (you may have to use a tiny bit of muscle... it should not slide easily or your thermometer would always be off and never hold calibration!).  A tiny bit to the right or left will turn the dial.

When you have it reading 32 degrees while it's in the ice, then it's calibrated and you can proceed with your cheese or other cooking.

Various thermometers are available - all styles and all price ranges.  You can find these anywhere; from your grocery store to Walmart, to kitchen stores, even TJMaxx and Marshalls have them.  I ordered one (the middle one) online from Amazon because I was ordering cheese making items anyway and it saved me a trip to the store!


These are the products I ordered from Amazon and Used for Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese;

Lipase Powder-Italase-(mild) 1oz
NOW Foods - Citric Acid 100% Pure - 4 oz.
Organic Liquid Vegetable Rennet, 2oz.
Gerber Birdseye 10 Count Flatfold Cloth Diapers, White (24in x 27in)


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