TLDR: The Great British Baking Show digital thermometer is the ThermoWorks Thermapen MK4s (Not available on Amazon).
On almost every episode of The Great British Baking Show you'll see the bakers measuring the temperature of something. The Great British Baking Show digital thermometers have long been ThermoWorks Thermapens, the most recent being the ThermoWorks Thermapen MK4.
The Thermapen MK4 is an exceptional thermometer as inferred by nearly everyone copying its look and some of its functionality.
The first, and only, really noticeable thing about the thermometer is its rotating probe. This allows you to safely store the thermometer when you're not using it. The functionality of this can not be understated, you don't need to protect your probe when not using it, and you don't need to worry about stabbing yourself either.
The rest of the niceties are not apparent but add to the thermometer's excellent quality. The Thermapen MK4 is IP67 water resistant - up to 1 meter submersion for 30 minutes. After drowning non-water resistant thermometers this becomes very nice. It has an auto-on feature which kicks the thermometer on when it is in use, basically you move it - it turns on. The display always rotates to the correct direction - so it is never displaying the temperature upside down. And lastly it has a smart backlight - so if it detects that it is dark, it turns on.
Lastly, the pen registers the correct temperature within 0.7 degrees F (0.4 C) in 3 seconds. This is only second in speed to the Thermapen ONE, which is the next generation of Thermapen. I'm betting we will see the Thermapen One on season 12 of The Great British Baking Show.
If colors are your thing, they also come in 6 different colors (The Thermapen One comes in 9). This is another nicety for The Great British Baking Show as it allows them to continue their eclectic color palate.
ThermoWorks is an American company. So seeing their product regularly used on The Great British Baking Show raises some eyebrows. Most of the time it seems like British companies are preferred for supplies, followed by EU companies, and then possibly, just maybe, perhaps, somewhere else. And this is one of those times.
ThermoWorks is based out of Utah, just south of Salt Lake City and they specialize in measuring temperature. That is all they do, they do it well, and they do it across nearly every industry you can imagine. They make everything from forehead thermometers to industrial probes. But most pertinent to us, they make digital thermometers for food as well.
They have decades of experience making temperature measuring devices and like to boast that they are still small enough to provide excellent customer service. Simply put they make an outstandingly good product. Oddly enough, I can not find any information on a warranty, but it seems like they're easy enough to send in for repairs and recalibration.
All that said - why would you want to spend
$100 $70 on a digital thermometer for cooking (Currently they are on clearance for $70 as the new version is coming out and will cost $105)?
If you're not measuring the temperature of what you're cooking - really you're just guessing at what is going on. And while this sometimes yields great results, sometimes it does not, and if you're striving for consistent greatness - it may be time to stop guessing.
When cooking meat there are tons of handy guides that read "when the internal temperature is X it is Y." Depending on the meat this can be rare, medium, or just plain safe to eat. Personally when I cook chicken I'm guilty of overcooking it to be on the safe side. When you measure the temperature you can stop cooking at just the right time and the result is perfection.
The same can be said for all sorts of meats, and roasts. Especially if you're cooking things for a long time... 8 hours and you want the temperature to be something specific... if you've spent the 8 hours make sure the temperature is correct!
And its not just meats, breads should be cooked until somewhere between 190 F and 205 F inside depending on the bread (The Bread Bakers Apprentice is a incredible resource). If you're tempering chocolate (make it shiny when it cools!) you want to bring it to 50 C (120 F) then let it cool to 28 C (82 F), then back up to 32 C (90 F) before working with it. Doing this sans a thermometer is just not practical.
There are some times when you want to leave the thermometer in what you're cooking. Such as when you're making a jam. In these instances an analogue thermometer, you can leave in place, is more preferable. However, even then a digital thermometer will work infinitely better than nothing.
If you're looking for the digital thermometer they use on The Great British Baking show you can not go wrong in any way shape or form with getting the ThermoWorks Thermapen MK4.
It is pricey at
$100 $70 (on clearance as of writing), and the Thermapen One clocks in at $105. If you're a baker on a budget there are some other decent options.
First the ThermoPro TP03 Digital Thermometer clocks in at a whopping $15 and has 87,000 reviews (78% 5 star) on Amazon. Its not nearly as featured, robust, or ... waterproof (ugh) as the Thermapen but if you just need a digital thermometer this is an easy gateway meter.
Secondly - the one I personally have is the Powlaken Instant Read Meat Thermometer which seems to be a little more durable than the ThermoPro model and is waterproof. But again, not nearly as fully featured or up to the level as the Thermapen, but is also $17.
My suggestion - if you have the money, and you want the Thermapen - do it. You cant lose, unless the price is a huge deal-breaker.
Note: As of now I can only find the Thermapen Classic on Amazon (Amazon Link). It is $99 - the same model on the ThermoWorks site is $83. Also as it is not sold by ThermoWorks or Amazon, it is sold by HFC Lotus (who is that?) it seems really sketch. If ThermoWorks gets a store up on Amazon I'll add links!
As it is not sold by ThermoWorks or Amazon, it is sold by HFC Lotus (who is that?), it seems really sketch.
If ThermoWorks gets a store up on Amazon I'll add links!