Useful aid - infrared surface thermometer


 This is my first post here... I'm new to sourdough breadmaking, and absorbing everything I can from this wonderful site, so there's not much useful I can add yet to the body of invaluable information on making breads.

I have stumbled across a useful aid to my breadmaking, which I haven't seen mentioned (maybe I just haven't looked hard enough!). Even though I have had it only a few days, it's helping to streamline my processes and improve accuracy - a digital infrared surface reading (non-contact) thermometer, something I picked up on eBay for around $20 delivered to me in Melbourne.

At a glance I can check whether my baking stone has heated to the required temperature, or the surface temperature of the dough while fermenting - or whether it has warmed to room temperature.

At this ridiculously low price, it was cheap enough to take a gamble - and so far it seems to be reasonably accurate. After 45 minutes with my fan forced oven set at 240°C, the stone was showing a surface temperature of 242°C. At the end of the bake, having opened the oven door several times and reduced the oven temperature to 200°C, the stone was showing about 180°C, a greater reduction than I would have expected.

This particular device has a temperature range from minus 50°C to plus 380°C, with a laser beam to target the measurement area (from a centimetre diameter or so close-up to 12cm diameter at a metre). A button swaps between Celsius and Fahrenheit. The accompanying pic shows it in action - though the very bright red laser spot is barely visible to the camera.

I have now also ordered a digital probe cooking thermometer ($5 delivered!) for checking internal bread cooking temperatures.

157 users have voted.


panfresca 2011 March 21

I hope information on this great device is useful to someone.

I am learning so much from this website, and the in depth posts from yourself and other posters such as LeadDog, Shiao Ping, Johnny and many others. 

And the really lovely thing is that unlike so many other internet sites/forums, there is so much goodwill and helpfulness, along with a very high level of expert knowledge - without the downside of flame wars and nastiness that bedevil other places. Maybe all those healthy ingredients in "our" breads have other beneficial effects. 



mlucas 2011 March 22

Hi Kym,

I have been looking out for one of those infrared thermometers but haven't found one for a good price, but I will try eBay now, thanks for the tip.

Over on these thermometers are all the rage.


Note the forums are a tremendous resource by the way for anyone interested in that very related hobby, pizza baking, which definitely beneftits from sourdough as well. You should check out the Tartine Country Bread thread over there which documents the members efforts at producing a 100% sourdough recipe from "Tartine Bread" by Chad Robertson, with fantastic results.

Happy baking,

pattycom 2011 March 23

I bought one of these gadgets about a year ago and have found it to useful for all sorts of things - from determining the temp for my grandson's bottle to checking the temp of wine to checking the temp of proofing bread! 

panfresca 2011 March 26

 Hi pattycom,


Its uses are expanding all the time. The fact that it reads instantly is so useful - I'm also using it to check fridge temperatures, and located a couple of nice warm spots to place the starter or bread dough to proof.

It will be good to find where all the heat's going in winter (my 1920s house is no paragon of eco-efficiency!), or where insulation is failing in summer.

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