Best Stove Feature: Temperature Probe

We’ve got a KitchenAid stove, and it’s got a lot of features.  One of the stranger ones is “sabbath mode”, which is designed so that people who are of a religion that prohibits them from operating electronic devices (like stoves) can program them to operate automatically on the forbidden day, so that they can still heat their food.  Don’t believe me? Here’s an excerpt from the manual:

The Sabbath Mode sets the oven to remain on in a bake setting until turned off. A timed Sabbath Mode can also be set to keep the oven on for only part of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath Mode sets the oven to remain on in a bake setting until turned off. A timed Sabbath Mode can also be set to keep the oven on for only part of the Sabbath.

When the Sabbath Mode is set, only the number and start pads will function, no tones will sound, and the displays will not show messages or temperature changes. The heat sources icons will appear lit on the oven display throughout the Sabbath Mode. When the oven door is opened or closed, the oven light will turn on or off and the heating elements will not turn on or off immediately.

If a power failure occurs when the Sabbath Mode is set, the oven will return to the Sabbath Mode in an untimed bake with a temperature of 350°F (177°C).

I don’t think they’re fooling God, and I’m not sure God would be impressed at people finding loopholes in his laws.  But that’s not what I’m writing about here.

The best feature our stove has is a temperature probe.  It’s a short wire with a metal spike on one end, and a 1/4” headphone style plug on the other. 

Let’s say you want to cook a roast.  Here’s how you do it:

  • Preheat the oven.
  • Put the meat in.
  • Hook up the probe.
  • Set the desired internal temperature (the default is 170 degrees).
  • Wait for the beep.

The oven now cooks until the meat is done, and starts beeping.  You can have it automatically shut off as well.

You’ll never overcook and never undercook a roast or a turkey if your stove has this.  Plus, if you need to go out while the roast is on, no problem. Worst case, you come home and the stove has cooled and you need to heat the roast up a bit more.  But it hasn’t turned into charcoal from cooking at full temperature the extra time.  I believe you can even have the oven switch to a lower temperature when the meat is cooked, just to keep it warm.

So, why am I writing about a stove feature?

Because this feature is incredibly useful, and incredibly rare.  Not only is it rare, but most manufacturers are discontinuing it.  Why?  Because of a lack of consumer demand.

There are two reasons for the lack of consumer demand.  First, most people don’t even know it exists.  I think the right marketing could make this feature into a “must have”, the way automatic side doors on minivans became “must have” features once we saw TV ads showing all the ways they could be useful.  I didn’t find out the stove we bought had the probe after we bought it.

And the other is the price.  Although any electronic stove (any stove with a wee bit of brains in it, which is more than half of them) could add this feature for just a few dollars cost, it’s only available on the most expensive stoves.  Dumb.

So when you’re shopping for a stove, ask for this feature.  Even if you don’t get it, at least asking about it will let the sales folk know you’re interested, and maybe some of that will trickle back to the manufacturers. Surely this is more useful than Sabbath Mode.