Use a timer


Use a timer: a reader asks…

Do you have a handy piece of consumer technology that can help me? I’m a cook and have to time a number of things throughout the day, from letting bread rise to baking times. Sometimes I have several things on a timer at once. My oven only has one timer.

Do you have a smartphone? As they say, there’s an app for everything. Besides the built-in timer capabilities of your average smartphone, there are several apps with the capability to set multiple timers. If you have an iPhone, I suggest Timer+ (get it on the App Store). It will let you name your timers to help you keep organized. The basic timer that’s part of iOS (Clock > Timer) only allows one timer to be set at a time, so having something like Timer+ would be really helpful for you.

If you have an Android-powered smartphone, then the Google Play Store has Stopwatch & Timer+ (from Jupiter Apps) which you’ll have to upgrade (for $3) to allow multiple timers and let you group timers. Another option is Multi-timer Free, from Catfantom.



If you happen to have an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, you can set your timers by voice without having to interrupt your flour-covered hand work. These are popular and really handy devices, perfect for a lot of your potential needs in the kitchen. They are both 100% voice-controlled, so all you need to to is ask them. In addition to setting timers, they can tell you the latest news, answer questions about anything (try asking for measuring conversions), and even give you ingredient substitutes.

I think the best option for you would be to use what you already have, so unless you don’t have a smartphone nor an Echo/Home, then what other timer devices do you have? I look in my kitchen and see a magnet timer on the refrigerator, a timer on my microwave, a timer on my oven, and a nearby laptop PC. Your watch might even have a timer.

If you are looking to add something, then either an Amazon Echo or Google Home would be a nice addition to your kitchen and add a lot more than just the timing function. The Amaozn Echo is $180, the Google Home is $130. Amazon also has a smaller version of the Echo, called the Echo Dot for $50. This is a smaller version (sized like a hockey puck), that offers the same capabilities as the larger Echo, except it has much tinnier speakers (so not as good to listen to music).

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