I've been reviewing kitchen equipment for more than 30 years and I've seen it all, from potato-peeling mitts (fuhgettabout 'em) to cooking robots (for those who don't actually like making dinner). It takes a lot to impress me, and yet this month at the Smart Kitchen Summit in Seattle, I saw something that made me think, I want that in my own kitchen!
It's called Precision Bakeware and it connects with your oven and figures out exactly when your cheesecake or quiche is done. (Bye, jiggly centers and dry crusts!) Unlike so many new-to-market or pending high-tech products, this allows you to have the fun of using your own recipes, and lets you measure and mix your own ingredients. (Seriously, so many use a database of online recipes or somehow take out all the DIY parts of cooking!)
The bakeware simply monitors things to make sure you don't spoil the cake by taking it out of the oven too soon or too late. In other words, it doesn't require that you make a major change in what or how you bake — or wring the joy out of it.
Developed by FirstBuild, an innovation center funded by GE Appliances, it uses a probe to take the cake's temperature, then relays it to the oven so it can adjust the baking temperature and time. When your creation is perfectly done, your oven beeps and you can also choose to get an alert on your phone. No more hovering around the oven, peering in the window, opening the door, shaking the pan, or scrounging around for a toothpick.
So far, only a springform cake pan has been developed, but FirstBuild plans to expand the technology to loaf pans, pie plates, and other standard shapes. When it rolls out in 2018, Precision Bakeware will only work with GE connected ovens, but the company expects to eventually sell the technology to other manufacturers. Also, there's no word on pricing just yet, so I have no idea if a pan will cost $30 or $300 or $3,000.
Precision Bakeware might not be the wildest or the weirdest new product showcased at the Summit, but it wowed me because it was invented with real cooks in mind.
About me: For more than 30 years, I was in charge of testing and reporting on everything from wooden spoons to connected refrigerators at the Good Housekeeping Institute. My street cred? I worked as a chef in New York City restaurants for seven years. In my free time, you'll find me banging pots in my own kitchen.