Baking in an electric oven can be rewarding, especially if it is your first time. There are precautions to take when using any appliance and especially when the temperature in that appliance can exceed 500 degrees F. This article will go over the basic information needed to bake in an electric conventional oven, and getting to know your electric oven.
Select the item you wish to bake and prepare according to directions. If the dish you are baking requires the oven to be preheated, turn the oven on at this time and select the proper temperature per your recipe. To ensure even baking, unless otherwise specified in your recipe, select the rack in the center of your oven for best results.
Set a timer for the recipe's recommended time after your dish is placed in the oven. If the recommended time given varies over several minutes, for instance 18 to 22 minutes, always select the lower time. By selecting the lower time, you will be able to get used to how your particular oven cooks. It is easier to add more time to an undercooked recipe than it is to undo a burnt cake or casserole.
Do a visual check on your recipe about three quarters of the way through the cooking process, to make sure it is cooking evenly and not cooking too fast. This can be accomplished by looking through the oven door or by gently opening the door a few inches. This is usually the time when some ovens appear to be cooking too fast and the temperature may need to be lowered 25 or so degrees.
When the timer sounds or when you think your recipe is cooked, gently open the oven door all the way. To prevent burns, use an oven mitt or pot holders to slide out the rack. To check for doneness of your recipe, refer to the directions given in your cookbook or mix. For a cake, many times the recipe will say that the cake will be golden brown, bounce back when lightly touched, or to insert a toothpick in the center to check if it comes out clean.
Check to make certain your recipe is completely cooked and if you are satisfied with the results, remove the item, close the door and turn off the oven.
The center rack often provides better results because heat rises and will circulate around your dish more evenly.
If you have multiple items in your oven on different racks, the cooking time make need to be slightly increased due to items on the top rack blocking the heat flow within the oven.
Do not attempt to use a dish towel to remove hot food from the oven; the uneven amount of material between your hands and the hot pan can cause serious burns.
Always use undamaged oven mitts or pot holders when handling hot food or oven racks.
Athena Fox has been writing for various online publications since 2005. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from Saint Leo University and a Master of Science in management information systems from Colorado Technical University.