Have you been encountering some issues with your oven as of late? It can be frustrating to want to bake things in your oven and then get mixed results at best.
Some people notice that certain portions of pies or cakes will be burned or crispy while everywhere else seems to be perfectly fine. If this seems to happen even when you take the time to rotate the things that you’re baking, then you might be annoyed.
You don’t have to fret and you don’t necessarily have to rush out to get a new stove. It’s just going to be best to try to be mindful of what is going on so that you can take precautions to protect yourself from these oven hot spots. Some ovens have hot spots that will cause things to burn if you place dishes in a particular spot.
How can you figure out where these oven hot spots are so that you can plan things out wisely?
General Temperature Rules
Before going any further, you can learn a bit of practical information that will help you out. First, you should know that all ovens are going to be hotter in specific places.
The hottest sections of your oven are naturally going to be toward the top, the bottom, and the two sides of the oven. This is because the closer to the metal wall that you get the hotter it will be.
Knowing this, you might be able to solve at least some of your problems without having to do much at all. If you decide to bake things in the center of the oven, then you should be able to enjoy the more moderate temperatures that are easy to handle.
Some people don’t think about this and they will place a pan closer to one side of the oven instead of having it be in the dead center of the oven. An adjustment to the way that you’re baking could be enough to get the results that you’re looking for.
What if you’re already baking things in the absolute center of the oven, though? If you’re experiencing some hot spots that aren’t doing what you would expect, then this could be more of an issue.
The best thing to do is to take steps to figure out where these oven hot spots are located. There is an easy way to do this that isn’t going to take a lot of time and you’ll be happy to have the information.
Finding Your Oven Hot Spots
The most practical thing that you can do to find oven hot spots is to use plain white bread to see what’s going on. You can place slices of plain white bread on cookie sheets or on the oven racks themselves.
Space them out so that you can look at the bread and determine which parts of the bread are burning. If you used enough white bread in this little experiment, then you should have a clear picture of where the hot spots are in your oven.
You can now use this as a visual guide to understand what parts of your oven you need to avoid. In all likelihood, the safest spot to bake things is going to be the dead center of the oven, as mentioned earlier.
However, there could be some peculiarities that will present themselves during your experiment. Take note of these hot spots and then do what you can to work around them in the future.
To do this little experiment right, you just need to preheat your oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the oven to finish its preheating cycle so that it will be at the proper temperature when you place the bread in the oven.
You can check the temperature of the oven using your own thermometer if you want to, but it’s fine to just use the preheating indicator light that you likely have on your oven, too. Now you just want to try to bake the slices of bread until they’re golden brown.
Depending on your oven, this is going to take a certain amount of time to accomplish. It’ll likely be finished in somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes.
Just keep checking so that you can see how things are looking. Once you see that most of your slices of bread are golden brown, you can slide the rack out and see what’s going on.
You should notice quite a few differences in the browning of the slices of bread. Take note of what you’re seeing and you’ll have the answers that you’re seeking.
This is not a complicated little experiment, but it does work wonders. Now all that you need to do is use common sense to get the best results when baking things in your oven.
Other Solutions to Consider
Now that you know about oven hot spots, it will be easier to bake things and get good results. However, this might not solve all of your issues.
For example, you might want to bake two cakes at once or make two pizzas in your oven. What can you do to prevent oven hot spots from ruining your experience then?
Well, the most logical thing to do is to try to rotate the pans halfway through. You can try to switch things out to get the most even temperature throughout the process that you can.
Sometimes this might be tough and it might not be practical for you to bake things side-by-side in your oven if it has significant hot-spot issues. You might have better luck baking on separate racks and then switching the top and bottom pans halfway through the baking process.
Just try to use your best judgment after figuring out the intricacies of the hot spots in your oven. When baking a single dish, it’s generally going to be best to stick to putting it in the dead center of the oven.
If you ever encounter issues where you need the crust to be a bit crispier on something, then you might have some good results by placing the pan or cooking sheet closer to the bottom of the oven. A little bit of practical thinking goes a long way here.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.