Before you read on, let’s run through a quick checklist:
• When it comes to preheating, I solely rely on the temperature dial or the digital screen.
• When I’m done with my batter, I stick it into the oven right away.
• There should be no difference in using a metal or a glass pan for baking.
• I never think about where exactly in the oven to place my pan.
• When I’m really busy, I stick in more than two pans of cookies or pies and breads together.
• Once it’s in, I don’t touch the pan until it’s done.
• I constantly open the oven door to check on my stuff. I don’t want it to burn! (or I’m just impatient)
• I take my bread out when it looks…about done. Browned enough.
• I never clean my oven. Who does anyway?
0-1: You are already a master with your oven, but read in case you find something helpful.
2-4: Your cookies will turn out more evenly if you read the post and keep in mind some of the tips.
5-7: Now don’t blame the burnt muffins on the lack of professional equipment.
8-9: Must read on.
Cooking is impossible without heat. Or it is about heat. (By the way, have you read Heat by Buford? An extremely rich, entertaining read. Highly recommended.) More specifically, it is about the transformation of the molecules caused by heat, in combination with many other reactants and catalysts. No matter how carefully and skillfully you put together your cake batter, the cake will never rise if you don’t heat it up in the oven. But the story gets more complicated. The cake may not turn out well if you don’t properly control your oven to heat it appropriately. In other words, the right amount of heat in the right setup for the right length of time needs to be applied for all the chemicals in your batter and dough to do the right tricks on time.
The next post will highlight some of the common mistakes, both critical and subtle, that home bakers often make. I hope some of the tips will become useful to you. The more control you have over your oven, the more control you will have over how your kitchen creations turn out.
Go on to read the tips here.