I’ve moved a lot over the last 10 years: practically every semester in college and, like clockwork, every 2 years since. One of the things I hate most about moving is getting used to a new kitchen. Namely, getting used to a new oven. Baking is one of my stress-relief outlets so it’s really, really important to me to have a good oven that I like and that I understand how to use. My oven here in Mexico is not one of those ovens.
In spite of living within spitting distance of the U.S. border, for some reason most of the homes here have European ovens and stoves. Weirdly, most refrigerators and microwaves are from the U.S. but the ovens for some reason are all from Spain or France or Portugal. This isn’t in and of itself a problem, but it is annoying to have to convert all the temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit especially since our oven doesn’t really have the option to select precice temperatures so much as ranges of temperatures. The dial on our oven is divided into 3 zones which are labelled, respectively, “175-200,” “200-225,” & “225-250.” Thank goodness I packed the oven thermometer in the UAB because otherwise we would be screwed.
I tried to convert the temp from F to C and select what I guessed to be an appropriate place on the dial for said temperature, but that didn’t work so well and it took over 35 minutes to heat the oven for us to bake potatoes the other night. So Thursday when I made bread, I tried a different method: I turned the oven almost all the way up and watched the thermometer like a hawk until it was at the proper temperature and then I tried to adjust the dial accordingly. It mostly worked and my cinnamon challah turned out delicious but I could definitely tell that the temperature wasn’t quite perfect.
So in addition to high-altitude adjustments* that I’ll have to make to my baked goods for the next 2 years, I will also get to play oven-temperature-roulette. This is going to be an adventure.
*Juarez is at about 3,700 feet above sea level and I have the screaming lungs to prove it!