Why would you need to keep your oven out of drafts?
Most tabletop ovens don’t have a heat sensor inside the baking chamber. Instead, they have a “spring switch” behind the dial.
This bi-metal spring expands and contracts with temperature changes, and when it cools down enough, it turns the element on. Once the oven’s body warms up enough to turn the spring switch, the element turns off.
Even if an oven has a digital readout, it still has this kind of temperature control. (Having an actual PID heat controller is a specialized feature and your oven’s manufacturer will certainly tell you about it! The one pictured above actually DOES have one. It’s a Breville BOV900BSS.)
So if your oven is sitting in front of an open window or in line with your AC unit blasting on high, the oven’s outside box can become artificially cold. This will make the spring switch turn on, causing the element to turn on. This is a major cause of ovens spiking temperature and burning your things.
Keep in mind that small ovens are designed for baking frozen pizza or toasting your Pop-Tarts. They’re not designed to have the fine temperature control that we need when baking polymer clay.
So we have to help them out a bit! Here’s how:
- Locate your oven out of drafts
- Keep a ceramic tile in the oven, on the rack, to hold the heat (just set your baking pan on top of it)
- Preheat your oven so the entire oven (inside and outside) is hot and the temp is stable
- Cover your work so the element’s glow doesn’t brown it like a piece of wheat toast (yum!)
- Use a thermometer regularly to verify what’s going on in there and make adjustments accordingly
- Be aware that the season changes mean that your adjustments might have to change
- If your oven is in an unheated porch or garage, the day’s temperature will vastly affect how the oven performs
Dive deep into everything you need to know about proper baking times, temperatures, types of ovens, and baking supports in my tutorial Baking Polymer Clay.
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