Tricky Oven Temps
Wow, guys, I just learned something highly valuable about cooking…from an oven repair guy!
It turns out that most ovens have the temperature sensor at the top of the inside of the oven. Science tells us, of course, that warm air rises, which means that the top of the oven gets hot first. Then the oven beeps to say it’s ready.
If you put your cookies (or whatever) on the middle rack of the oven, as instructed, right after your oven tells you it’s reached the preheat temp, the cookies will start out baking at a temperature that’s too low! This can mean spreading you don’t want or a failure to brown within the time the recipe says they should.
The oven repair guy says not to put your cookies into the oven until about 15 minutes after the oven tells you it’s ready, so that the middle of the oven has time to preheat completely. This is especially true if your oven’s heating coils are beneath the oven floor (where you can’t see them). Of course, you could always put an oven thermometer on your middle rack so you know for sure. That has seemed old-fashioned and unnecessary to me, but I guess it’s not! I’ve also been told by People Who Know that if you keep a pizza stone on the floor of your oven all the time, it evens out the temperature and makes it so you don’t have to wait. (If you’re using a convection oven, you don’t need to worry about any of this!)