Why 350°F is the magic number for baking

Why 350°F is the magic number for baking

Turns out there’s a lot of chemistry in cooking.

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Ever notice the first step for baking a cookie is almost always to preheat the oven to 350 degrees?

Even when you’re baking something else, an oven with a digital temperature reader typically defaults to 350. What’s so magical about this number and why is it that so many recipes call for it?

I spoke with longtime pastry chef and Institute of Culinary Education creative director Michael Laiskonis and found that – as with most “magical” things – it’s actually science.

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80 Responses

  1. Emily Em says:

    This video looks really promising!

  2. Gavin says:

    At that temperature, the little elves inside the cake are forced into labor.

  3. Tahlia Seirlis says:

    how did you get steve buscemi on here?!

  4. silvervixen007 says:

    For those wondering: 350°F = 177°C

    • JayzOned C says:

      DarktrooperDalek It doesn’t ‘say it’. It’s written in the video so could be easily missed if you are just listening.

    • thevioletskull says:

      silvervixen007 thank

    • Dᴏᴡʟᴘʜᴡɪɴ says:

      176.666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666667°C to be more precise.

  5. Our Founding Liars says:

    So did ovens melt steel beams? Investigate ovens. Keep asking questions.

  6. The Trammell says:

    It’s gotta be about _Tree Fiddy_

  7. Catam Vanitas says:

    I just love how Vox uploads videos about things I never knew I was interested in

  8. surfie007 says:

    In the outside US world, 180°C is the normal baking temperature (356°F)

    • Maeve Franklin says:

      surfie007 She literally said ” in America”

    • Nizte Nitze says:

      The people who came with the number specifically used 350 F, then the world changed it from 176 to 180 C for roundness. So it’s not 180C, it’s 176 C rounded up to 180.

  9. Edwin Contreras says:

    the video shows the Celsius conversion in the first five seconds, plus Vox is an American company. so everyone complaining about Fahrenheit, you just look like idiots lol

    • Sahib Abdul says:

      but does being an american company justify using a outdated and idiotic system? it would be much easier if america just catched up with the developed world

    • Hyper_Warrior says:

      Pretty sure you do Edwin. They don’t show conversions for the rest of the video, and Vox is not only for American audiences (certainly much less than some other channels). Also, I think some people still face the shock that America is using a system completely different to everyone else (a system that Sahib correctly pointed at as outdated). Without being on the internet for a long amount of time, I would have never known that.

    • LegendMeadow says:

      Being an American company justifies using the American system, that’s all that matters Achmed

  10. NIAtoolkit says:

    I bake at 420 and the brownies are always perfect

  11. raye says:

    simple answer: _420 was already taken._

  12. Sam says:

    Yeesh, pretty bad time to head a baking institute called ICE.

  13. ncooty says:

    Vox produces a lot of junior high school reports.

    No mention that our recipes change to respond to available technology. (Consider pizza recipes for wood-fired vs electric ovens.) You can bake cookies at a lower temperature by adding more moisture to the dough, just as you do for a pizza in a residential oven.

    • Mowbrayyy says:

      ncooty I don’t get the first part of this comment. The point of Vox isn’t to create PhD level dissertations, it’s to create a concise and digestible piece of engaging content that educates viewers. I was already well informed on this topic, but the format was interesting and I learned something and I’ll bet you did too so there’s no need for any shade to be thrown like that.

    • Budo Ka says:

      He’s just being an ass hole.

    • ditto303 says:

      But he’s right. Who doesn’t know about the Maillard reaction? I don’t mean the specifics, it’s just that most people know that putting food which has a good amount of protein and sugar under high heat will give a browned, crispy dish. And that it’s called Maillard reaction. A lot of recipes even educate you about that. And vox does a lot of videos on topics you should already know about.
      Edit: But they also have very interesting videos, of course. So maybe it’s a good mix for everyone.

    • ncooty says:

      I can see from the replies that many viewers feel enlightened by reporting that’s barely of the quality and level of analysis we should expect in middle schools. I guess Vox has pegged its viewership correctly… or is sadly accurate about the level of education in the U.S.

  14. Mewtwo21 says:

    Insert triggered comment about not using Celsius.

    • t c says:

      Also “slow” oven, come on. Special needs oven, it’s 2018 for God’s sake

    • Dᴏᴡʟᴘʜᴡɪɴ says:

      t c, let’s hope you didn’t just inflame New Atheists. (Or true Christians who’d object to using The Lord’s name in vain.)

  15. Science with Katie says:

    I kept thinking this was Zooey Deschanel!

  16. Vox says:

    350° Fahrenheit = 176° Celsius. If you’re curious why America still uses Fahrenheit, watch our video to find out: http://bit.ly/2JAuXcN

  17. Vox says:

    Leave your favorite cookie recipe in the comments! We’re researching them for …. science.

    – the vox video team

  18. JazzyNym says:

    OH MY GOD will you all stop whining? Vox is an AMERICAN company. Making videos IN AMERICA. They interviewed an AMERICAN chef. They even talked about the history OF AMERICA on this topic. OF COURSE THEY’RE GOING TO USE FAHRENHEIT! Yet still, they were kind enough to show Celsius FOUR DIFFERENT TIMES (0:05, 1:25, 1:28, 1:34) but y’all STILL complain. You know, I rarely see Americans complain when another country uses its system of measurement, from the Metric system to the stone (yeah, only the British really use that so don’t even come at me with the ‘bUt EvERyoNe ElsE UsEs iT’) You suck it up, either know both or google it. It takes half a second. You want to watch American content? Welcome to the American system of measurements.

  19. Maria John says:

    when in doubt, bake at 350 degrees ☺️

  20. Sai Skanda says:

    Video is 3:33 long instead of 3:50.

    I’m going to riot!

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