ACS Hack Shows If Your Oven Is Lying

sugar experiment

Proof Traci's Oven Is A Liar

I admit I have trust issues when it comes to my oven. I’ve long suspected it wasn’t as hot as it claimed. And so over the years when a recipe calls for 350 degrees, I crank it up to 375 instead. It’s just something I’ve come to realize about our relationship. It works. I have never proved that it’s not living up to its temperature readings – until now. A recent American Chemical Society (ACS) Reactions video offers a simple hack to determine if your oven is lying to you. It’s based on the caramelization point of sugar. In my photo the sugar packet on the right should have caramelized. It was close, but no caramel. (Warning: Shameless plug for the December 2015 issue of Chemical Processing.)

Want to check your oven? Watch the short ACS video below for the process.

Traci-bio-photo.jpgTraci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor. Her skeptical nature makes her good at her job – and baking. You can email her at