Uneven baking can cause all sorts of terrible problems. It can make your cakes rise unevenly, burn half or your cookies, or dry out your roasted chickens. If you’re not sure why some things that come out of your oven seem a little off, try these tips to prevent uneven baking.
Use the center oven rack to encourage even air flow
There’s a reason most Blue Apron recipes begin with “Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F.” Whether your oven heats from the bottom or top, the middle rack will make sure the heat is evenly distributed throughout the baking process. If you’re baking more than one item at a time (say two sheet of cookies) be sure to rotate their placement halfway through. Which brings us to our next point…
Rotate items halfway through baking
Even if you have just one pan in the oven, rotating it will make sure the heat isn’t hitting one particular area harder than another. Ovens can have hot spots, which can be a big contributor to uneven baking and browning if the pan isn’t rotated.
Check your oven for hot spots
A good way to check for hot spots is to take 4-6 pieces of bread and lay them flat on an oven rack in a preheated oven. If they all brown at the same cadence, your oven is free of hot spots. If one piece of bread burns to a crisp before the others look toasted, you’ve found your hot spot.
Make sure your oven is the right temperature
An internal oven thermometer is a cook’s best friend. Digital oven thermometers (the one that comes on the oven and also functions as a clock) can wear over time, so it’s great to keep an analog thermometer inside of your oven to cross check.
Keep the oven door closed
It may be tempting to peek in at your rising cake or cookies, but even the slightest opening of the door can vastly reduce the oven temperature. If an oven fluctuates in temperature while an item is baking, you’re more likely to experience browning on the outside while the inside is undercooked. Similarly, make sure your oven is fully preheated before putting your delicious batter inside.
Now that you’ve mastered the basics of even making,