Your oven is absolutely essential for baking; you simply can’t bake without it! That’s why it’s important to understand its capabilities and setting aside time to maintain it. Our New Gen Baker staff share their proven oven tips and tricks to turn out near-perfect baked goods.
#1 Clean it Often
First things first: cleanliness. A dirty oven is an inefficient one. It will also compromise the taste and smell of your bread, cookies, or cakes. Plus food bits are a fire hazard.
We won’t lie; it’s a huge task! But it’s worth the effort. First, take out the racks and use some kitchen towels to remove any dirt and food remnants. Clean it as much as you can and then soak them in hot water mixed with mild dish soap.
Take some baking powder and mix it with water. Apply it to your oven, except for the parts that heat up. Wait until the next day to wipe your oven with a rag, making sure you scrub off the baking powder completely. (The baking soda and water mixture is great for cleaning windows, too!)
#2 Don’t Cram Your Oven
This is an especially useful tip for those who bake in batches. Stuffing your oven with pans can turn out unevenly baked goodies. Air needs to circulate, so make sure there is space between pans and that they don’t touch the walls of the oven.
If you’re just using a single pan, it’s important to place it in the center of your oven rack so it bakes evenly.
#3 Avoid Opening and Closing the Oven Door
We know you want to make sure your baking is done right, but constantly opening the oven door isn’t the way to do it. Your yummies need a consistent and stable temperature, and frequently opening and closing the door results in temp fluctuations that negatively affect your finished product.
If you must open the oven door, do it for just a few seconds and keep it to a bare minimum. Use an oven thermometer you can place inside and view from the window.
If your oven has two racks and you’re using two pans, place one on each rack and make sure that one is not directly on top of the other. The one on top will prevent heat from reaching the pan on the bottom.
#4 Avoid Aluminum Foil
While this may be a common practice in some households, think twice about baking your food in foil. Aluminum is everywhere, and it’s even found in fruits and veggies. There are safe amounts and there are unsafe amounts. And yes, it is going to get into your baked goods. Consider another baking pan as a cover or a silicone one made especially for this purpose.
Finally, don’t line your oven with foil. The shiny surface reflects heat and may cause parts to burn.
Remember: love and know your oven and it will thank you with delicious results. Feel free to share these tips and tricks if you found them useful!