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Old 07-09-2003, 03:25 PM   #1
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Uneven baking - bad oven or bad cook?

You all know so much about cooking, and I'm out of my element in the kitchen. Hopefully one of you can help me.

Everything I bake (most noticeable in cakes or bread) comes out dry and over cooked on about the outter 2 inches, yet the center is under cooked.

Does anyone know what could cause that?

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Old 07-09-2003, 06:24 PM   #2
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Well, the most obvious and probable explanation is that you are baking everything at a too high temperature because your oven is not calibrated properly. I'm assuming that when the recipe says "Bake at 425 degrees etc, etc." you are following the directions, but do you have an oven thermometer inside your oven to check the temperature? A lot of times, home ovens can be as much as 25-35 degrees off, so using an oven thermometer to achieve the right temperature may help.
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Old 07-09-2003, 09:04 PM   #3
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Hi Pam,

I think ironchef is right. I speak from frustrating experience: I am stuck with a 20" landlord-provided electric stove whose oven, when set at 350 degrees F, is NEVER the same temperature two times in a row. Not only that, it isn't even the same temperature at different locations within the oven! If I hadn't gone out and blown five bucks on a thermometer, I'd be up the well-known creek, because I wasn't around my grandmother long enough as a kid to absorb her method of ascertaining an oven's temperature by sticking a hand inside. Of course, if I'd had the mother wit to ASK . . . man, GBS had it right when he said that youth is wasted on the young. I am constantly amazed at how much brighter my ancestors are now than they were then.

Anyway, get thee an oven thermometer! :) (Bad cook indeed. I think not! )

Let us know what happens. Also, here's hoping you join us - we're a relatively sane bunch here - most of the time - and we do have fun!!
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:19 AM   #4
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I do have an oven thermometer and have checked the temperature. I considered buying another thermometer to double check, but instead I started lowering the temperature when I baked. I get the same results at a lower temperature. It just takes longer.
Thanks for the reply.
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Old 07-11-2003, 12:11 AM   #5
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Oh dear. Well, let's see . . . it's pretty clear you're not getting the same temp in the middle as on the sides of the things you're baking. Cold middle . . . hmmm . . . is your oven gas or electric? If gas, there could be some clogged jets under there that aren't burning owing to lack of fuel. If electric, my guess would be that you have a bad element. A third possibility might be that there's some sort of buildup on the middle of the oven floor that's impeding heat transfer - or there could be a hairline crack in the oven somewhere in the middle of the floor or door or back wall - or the door itself might be a loose fit towards the middle (you can check this with the old dollar-bill-in-the-door that we use for fridges). Let us know what sort of oven you have and what you find in and under there. There has got to be a mechanical reason for this - and by George, if I have anything to say about it, it WILL be found!!!

(You'd never guess that one of my top two lid-blowers is recalcitrant equipment/machinery, would you?? Oh, the tales I could tell . . .)
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:21 PM   #6
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Wow! Those are all things I never thought of.

My oven is electric.

I did buy a new oven thermometer, so I'll check the temperature again this weekend. And I'll ask my husband to help me do a thorough exam for any flaws as you mention.

Thanks so much for your input.
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Old 07-13-2003, 02:19 PM   #7
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Pam,

Since you have 2 oven thermometers place them both side-by-side in the center of the oven then try them on two different sides of the oven, or one in the middle and one on the side - and try to find the cooler spots.
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Old 01-12-2004, 06:53 AM   #8
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Lemme ask you a question Pam...I bet you're using nice dark pans to bake with right? That alone can cause your problems. Darker pans will conduct heat better than lighter pans, thereby causing the outside to overbake.

Try a lighter pan if possible. You might try lining the inside of your dark pans with aluminum foil if you can't get lighter pans. Dark pans work great for some things, but not for breads or cakes.

The other thing that comes to mind is how much are you filling your pans? Don't fill more than 2/3 of the total volume of a pan when you're baking.

Hope this helps
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