My oven has only one setting

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and I don't even know the temperature! but I'd guess it's maybe 350-400 degrees (sorrry european friends i'm not sure what that'd be in centigrade). So, what do I do? Right now I cook everything with a close eye on the oven and hope I don't burn much, though I've burned some. What if the recipe calls for a low heat? What if...I'm kinda drunk and I'm trying to cook chicken? What if this is just a half-assed question whose only answer is 'suck it up and watch the stove, kid'?

more humid 4 u (jergins), Sunday, 18 February 2007 19:21 (fourteen years ago) link

Wow. Well, don't try to bake any cookies or cakes. But for meat, you should be okay. You can estimate how hot the oven is by letting it get to temperature, then sticking your hand in it and counting "one mississippi, two mississippi, etc" until the point where your hand is uncomfortably hot. Don't do this when drunk and don't actually touch the interior, just feel the air. 350 F is about a 5 mississippi and 400 is closer to a 4 mississippi. For a whole chicken, roast it for 20 minutes per pound (or 10 minutes per kilo) in a 5 mississippi. Cut the time back by 5 min/lb (2.5 min/kilo) for a 4 mississippi. Pork would be roasted at 30 min/lb in a 5 m oven; a beef roast (like a rump or rib roast, not the flatter, thinner potroast cuts) would be rare at 20 min/lb in a 5 m oven, medium rare at 25 min/lb in a 5.

Another trick, if your place isn't too warm already and you aren't paying for the fuel for the oven - keeping the oven door cracked open will drop the interior temperature 15 - 20 deg F.

I'd also advise getting a slow cooker or a toaster oven sort of thing from a pawn or thrift shop, if there are such around.

jaq (jaq), Sunday, 18 February 2007 19:56 (fourteen years ago) link

this is my favorite thread ever. perfect jergins question, perfect jaq answer.

luv u guys!

lxy (lxy), Sunday, 18 February 2007 20:04 (fourteen years ago) link

Mr. Jaq says that sticking your hand in the oven doesn't work if you are G. Gord0n L1ddy.

lxy, are you coming to the Canterbury tonight? I think we'll be there for a bit, around 6:30 or 7ish.

jaq (jaq), Sunday, 18 February 2007 20:34 (fourteen years ago) link

Ooo! Here's how to estimate the temp more scientifically!

Place a teaspoonful of flour in a small pie pan and put the pan on the rack inside the hot oven.

Shut the oven door and leave it for 5 minutes. Take out the pan.
If the flour has not turned brown the oven is less than 300 degrees.
If the flour is light brown, the oven is about 350 degrees.
If the flour is dark brown, the oven is about 450 degrees.

jaq (jaq), Sunday, 18 February 2007 20:45 (fourteen years ago) link

thank you for the help. i'll try the flour idea. and i'm actually not paying for gas (well, it's included in the rent) so i have no compunction about fucking around and experimenting.

(also i just make pizza in there and i think i only burned it a little, so perhaps i'll just get the hang of it)

wish i wasn't 3000 miles from the canterbury, sorta :(

more humid 4 u (jergins), Sunday, 18 February 2007 21:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Does it only have one setting because it's broken, or is it made that way?

Bellicose Veins (Rock Hardy), Sunday, 18 February 2007 21:30 (fourteen years ago) link

I think for pizza, the hotter the better (like those wood-fired places - those ovens are probably around 800 deg F!). But you do have to keep an eye on things (also, a pizza stone or tiles or a cast iron pan helps things to not burn so much)

jaq (jaq), Sunday, 18 February 2007 22:03 (fourteen years ago) link

j - there are some things you can bake/roast in a hot oven for a long time without too much supervision/worry:

jacket potatoes - scrub, set on oven rack
beets - scrub, cut off tops and roots, put in covered pan w/a little oil
hard squashes/pumpkin - cut in half, scoop out seeds, paint with oil and/or wrap in foil
parsnips - cut off tops, peel, put in covered pan w/a little oil
rutabagas - same as parsnips

jaq (jaq), Monday, 19 February 2007 00:59 (fourteen years ago) link

Does it only have one setting because it's broken, or is it made that way?

This is a good question. If it's broken, it might not be able to maintain one temperature consistently, in which case it'll be difficult to cook very much at all in it.

Madchen (Madchen), Monday, 19 February 2007 13:18 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm imagining a big ON/OFF button, like the earliest microwaves had.

jaq (jaq), Monday, 19 February 2007 17:42 (fourteen years ago) link

jaq, i missed the invitation :( that was last night (saturday), right? i am having gmt conversion confusion.

lxy (lxy), Monday, 19 February 2007 19:18 (fourteen years ago) link

I think last night was Sunday? But it was last night. I ordered hot chocolate with a shot of dark rum. You were missed! plz 2 chk email!

jaq (jaq), Monday, 19 February 2007 21:14 (fourteen years ago) link

yes (sheepishly), sunday. apparently i am having three-day weekend conversion confusion also. email being checked now. :)

also, your drink sounds dreamy!!

lxy (lxy), Monday, 19 February 2007 21:25 (fourteen years ago) link

Okay, net was out for a day, thanks for all your help and ideas, friends.

There are numbers, 1 through 8, but no matter what number i turn it to the temperature stays (or looks, i guess, looking at the gas) the same. Also, if the stove actually did work what would the numbers correspond to? but i guess that's not a question i have to worry about too much.

i am subletting so am disinclined to go to the landlord with this.

jelkino (jergins), Tuesday, 20 February 2007 10:40 (fourteen years ago) link

Those are called gas marks. Here's a conversion chart:

I'd try the 5-min flour test out at mark 4 and then at mark 7 and see if there's a difference.

jaq (jaq), Tuesday, 20 February 2007 13:55 (fourteen years ago) link

thanks jaq! 1-8 aren't any different, i don't think, but I'll check it out.

jelkino (jergins), Tuesday, 20 February 2007 17:38 (fourteen years ago) link

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