Have you been wondering why you get such inconsistent results for your oven-baked culinary masterpieces? If your baked dishes don’t come out right every time, don’t blame the chef – blame the oven! It’s possible that your oven’s built-in thermostat  isn’t working as it should. Here’s some troubleshooting advice that may restore your confidence in the kitchen.
To check your thermostat, set the oven temperature, and use a separate thermometer inside the oven . The most accurate thermostats tend to be the glass bulb types. To get an accurate reading, let the oven cycle on and off at least three times, which takes at least 20 minutes. Once you’ve let the thermometer sit long enough inside the oven, check the temperature. If it doesn’t reflect the temperature set on your oven dial, then you know something isn’t right.
So what could be wrong? There are several possibilities. Over time, the rubber gasket around the oven door can become torn, stretched out of shape or otherwise deformed. This will cause heat to escape from the oven. So inspect your gaskets to make sure they’re in good condition and still doing the job for which they were invented. If not, replace them.
Another way heat can escape from your oven is if the oven door isn’t closing properly. Your oven door should close  evenly and form a nice tight seal. If it doesn’t, check for broken or bent door hinges or door springs. These, too, can be replaced.
Finally, there’s a tricky timer issue that has confused even the best of cooks. Many mechanical clocks and timers on ovens (the ones without digital LED displays) have a setting called “cook and hold”. If the clock is accidentally set to this position, the oven may not work at all – at least not until the clock or timer is set back to normal. Dig out your oven’s instruction manual to find out how to set the clock or timer correctly.
With some inexpensive replacements or adjustments, you could become an impressive cook literally overnight!