How to Use an Infrared Thermometer Gun for Cooking
When it comes to cooking, there’s nothing more important than temperature control. Without the right temperatures, your pizzas won’t develop the right crust, and other foods might not cook through.
Though oven and probe thermometers are good at monitoring temperatures, they don’t come anywhere close to the accuracy and safety of an infrared thermometer.By using an infrared thermometer for cooking, you’ll be able to monitor both oven and food temperatures without being exposed to high temperatures.
While infrared thermometers are a relatively new technology, they’ve become a favorite tool for both professional and home cooks. Read on to learn more!
What Is an Infrared Thermometer?
An infrared thermometer takes temperatures by measuring infrared light through a built-in lens. Foods, ovens, and other objects give off a certain amount of invisible infrared light, depending on how hot or cold they are. By concentrating this light onto a detector known as a “thermopile,” infrared thermometers can instantly measure the temperature of any object with a high degree of accuracy.
Thankfully, you don’t need an engineering degree to enjoy the benefits of using an infrared thermometer for cooking! Since they detect temperatures through light rather than direct contact with heat, infrared thermometers allow you to measure hot temperatures without getting close to hot objects. This benefit has made infrared thermometers the perfect solution for pizza ovens and other high-temperature applications.
Why Are Infrared Thermometers Ideal for Cooking Pizza?
Whether you’re using a pizza oven or a conventional oven, almost all pizzas require high temperatures and short cooking times to achieve the right crust, texture, and flavor. Measuring such high temperatures, however, can be a bit tricky—and a bit dangerous!
While many people use oven thermometers with some success, most conventional thermometers are inaccurate and can’t withstand the high temperatures required for pizza. With many pizza ovens reaching temperatures upward of 900 degrees Fahrenheit, oven temperature can only be measured by extra-durable (and extra-expensive) commercial thermometers or an infrared thermometer. Since the infrared thermometer can precisely measure oven temperatures from outside the oven itself, there’s no safer or more accurate way to measure high temperatures.
Another benefit that makes infrared thermometers ideal for cooking is that they can also measure the surface temperature of the pizza itself. By measuring the temperature of the crust and toppings, you’ll gain a better idea of how done your pizza actually is—and potentially avoid an undercooked pizza or two!
Using an Infrared Thermometer for Cooking
Though the name might sound complicated, infrared thermometers are incredibly easy to use: Simply point the thermometer at the object you’d like to measure, pull the trigger, and the exact temperature will be instantly displayed on a built-in screen.
Depending on what you’re measuring, however, you may need to be careful where you’re pointing! Since infrared thermometers only measure surface temperatures, getting an accurate read on oven and cookware temperatures requires a little creativity.
Measuring Oven and Grill Temperatures
- Place a pizza stone, barbeque grate, or cast iron skillet into your oven or grill as it heats up.
- Point the infrared thermometer at the pizza stone or another object once your oven or grill’s built-in thermometer reaches the desired temperature.
- Make sure that the infrared thermometer is pointed at the object and not an interior or surrounding surface, such as the area below the barbeque grates.
- Continue holding the thermometer trigger while pointing at the object until the temperature reading stabilizes.
- If using a cast iron skillet, apply cooking oil or non-stick spray to increase the accuracy of the reading.
Measuring Cookware Temperatures
- Begin heating your pan, skillet, or pot as you normally would.
- If measuring cookware without liquid, apply cooking oil or a non-stick spray to the inside surface before measuring. Point the infrared thermometer at the oil (not the dry surface!) and hold the trigger until the temperature reading stabilizes.
- If measuring cookware with liquid, stir the liquid before measuring and measure only a small sample in a ladle if possible. Point the infrared thermometer at the liquid and hold the trigger until the temperature reading stabilizes.
Infrared Thermometer Tips and Other Uses
Your infrared thermometer isn’t just for cooking! Since all objects give off infrared light, your infrared thermometer can also measure fridge temperatures, body temperatures, and more.
Note, however, that infrared thermometers only measure surface temperatures and not internal temperatures. As a result, if you want to measure temperatures inside an oven or fridge, you’ll need to measure an interior surface such as a pizza stone. Similarly, infrared thermometers can’t measure internal temperatures of food, so you should still use a probe thermometer for steaks and similar foods.
Buying an Infrared Thermometer
Though infrared thermometers are often a bit more expensive than most conventional thermometers, they’re an indispensable tool for the pizza cook—especially when pizza oven temperatures start to exceed 800 degrees! The Fontana Forni infrared cooking thermometer can quickly measure surface temperatures up to 986 degrees Fahrenheit on your oven’s pizza stone. Our thermometers also run on a single 9-volt battery and come backed with a one-year warranty.
High-Temperature Pizza Ovens: The Ultimate Upgrade
Where most home ovens rarely exceed 500 degrees Fahrenheit, pizza ovens often reach up to 900! Why bother with such high temperatures, especially when they require specialized infrared thermometers to safely measure?
While you can definitely get away with cooking pizza at lower temperatures, nothing beats the result of using a high-temperature pizza oven. By cooking pizza between 700 and 800 degrees Fahrenheit, the crust develops a crunchy, flaky exterior while keeping the interior soft and chewy. High temperatures also allow toppings and sauce to cook through, all while reducing cooking time to under 10 minutes!
If you’re looking to make the best possible pizza at home, a high-temperature pizza oven is the best upgrade you can invest in. For more information on our pizza ovens, pizza oven accessories, and convenient monthly payment plans, explore our product line or call the Fontana Forni team at 877-842-9822.
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