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Old 05-15-2014, 09:37 AM   #1
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Oven rack position...again?

I'm so sorry, but I canNOT make a decision in real life, let alone in baking. I'm sure I asked this before and someone said that as a rule baked goods were to be done on the middle oven rack. My problem is I CAN'T DECIDE WHICH is the MIDDLE placement!

I'm making my sour cream coffee cake again today in a tube pan, and I've done it on the bottom rack in January and it was perfect, but then the last time I put it on the second rack up from the bottom and it actually wasn't quite as good and seemed a bit dry. Baking time was almost exactly the same, because I write these things down.

How do you judge the "center of the oven" ??? I've read where you are to actually consider the "bottom" as the lower electrical element, and the top is the "top" element. I'm so undecided. I want this particular cake today to be perfect, so any advice (while I go and make it) will be appreciated.

Thank you (as always...again, and again, and again...)
Jovin

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Old 05-15-2014, 10:22 AM   #2
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I just move one of the racks to the position nearest the middle of the oven. There may not be a position that is exactly in the middle if measured but the nearest position will do fine.

I'm not sure the difference in your two cakes was due to positioning. There could be other factors.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:38 AM   #3
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I know, Andy. I'm not sure if I perhaps didn't watch the time as closely on the second one or not. I just want everything to be perfect when I do it, and I'm never satisfied. Everyone who eats my baked stuff seems to be saying that I worry too much. Could that be? Well, I HAVE been told that many times in my life...maybe I AM worrying too much.

Thanks again for your feedback.
Jovin
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jovin View Post
I know, Andy. I'm not sure if I perhaps didn't watch the time as closely on the second one or not. I just want everything to be perfect when I do it, and I'm never satisfied. Everyone who eats my baked stuff seems to be saying that I worry too much. Could that be? Well, I HAVE been told that many times in my life...maybe I AM worrying too much.

Thanks again for your feedback.
Jovin

Now you're worrying about worrying too much. Relax. Everyone eats and enjoys your cooking.

A difference of a couple of minutes can make a perfect cake dry. So check a little earlier and take it out as soon as it tests done.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:18 AM   #5
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Well, it LOOKS okay...

and I only turned it once during the bake time. I did it for 35 minutes total, but I followed the directions that I had used in January when I wrote down that it was "perfect." That's rare, believe me, for me! I actually had baked it on the bottom oven rack, so I tried it again. Like I said, it LOOKS good..but I don't want to cut it till later. I'm taking some to a special friend this afternoon who is getting me some Elvis dvd's. I'll let you know if it IS perfect!

This actually is an old recipe from my mother-in-law, but of course you can probably find one almost exactly the same on the internet...that's life today.
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Old 05-15-2014, 01:48 PM   #6
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and I only turned it once during the bake time.
Turned it? What do you mean? Rotated the pan? Is that what you mean?
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Old 05-15-2014, 02:02 PM   #7
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In my oven there are four positions where I can put a rack. When a recipe says middle of the oven, I use the second rack from the bottom. I figure that most of the item I am baking is near the middle that way.

Jovin, I would just keep doing what works for you in your oven.
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Old 05-15-2014, 02:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Roll_Bones View Post
Turned it? What do you mean? Rotated the pan? Is that what you mean?
This previous post should answer your question, RB.

Turning cake half time, comments?
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Old 05-15-2014, 03:37 PM   #9
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Someone somewhere told me it's okay to turn your baked stuff once during baking time so it will not get too well done at the back...I always have that problem.


Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
In my oven there are four positions where I can put a rack. When a recipe says middle of the oven, I use the second rack from the bottom. I figure that most of the item I am baking is near the middle that way.

Jovin, I would just keep doing what works for you in your oven.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jovin View Post
I'm so sorry, but I canNOT make a decision in real life, let alone in baking. I'm sure I asked this before and someone said that as a rule baked goods were to be done on the middle oven rack. My problem is I CAN'T DECIDE WHICH is the MIDDLE placement!

I'm making my sour cream coffee cake again today in a tube pan, and I've done it on the bottom rack in January and it was perfect, but then the last time I put it on the second rack up from the bottom and it actually wasn't quite as good and seemed a bit dry. Baking time was almost exactly the same, because I write these things down.

How do you judge the "center of the oven" ??? I've read where you are to actually consider the "bottom" as the lower electrical element, and the top is the "top" element. I'm so undecided. I want this particular cake today to be perfect, so any advice (while I go and make it) will be appreciated.

Thank you (as always...again, and again, and again...)
Jovin
Can't help technically as it sounds as though your oven is electric and I use gas but if the bottom rack worked perfectly for your sour cream cake and the second rack didn't I'd be inclined to go with that experience for that recipe.

Most ovens in my experience are notoriously inaccurate so it might help if you sought out an oven thermometer. I have a little one which sits on or hangs from the oven shelf It cost about £5 from the local kitchen and other odds and ends store and is worth its weight in gold. I notice that "Cooks Illustrated" magazine endorses a similar one over and above more complicated and expensive ones.

As for the "centre" of the oven, given that I have a gas oven with the burner at the back as is common in this country, and where the oven is hotter at the top than the bottom (heat rises!), I put the oven shelf on the runner below the middle one. This puts my cake in the middle of the oven. If I put the shelf on the middle runner it puts the cake in the upper part of the oven cavity and results aren't so good so position in the oven does matter but it's hit and miss until you work out how best to arrange things in your own oven.

The above does not apply to fan ovens and I can't advise on this as I have been fighting with my fan oven for over a year and have abandoned it for anything in the cake line that's delicate and fussy about temp. Fortunately the second oven on my range cooker isn't fan "assisted" (hollow laugh at that last word!)

Don't know if this helps and that it doesn't repeat what everyone else has said.
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