General Question

occ's avatar

For baking, is the oven hotter towards the top or towards the bottom?

Asked by occ (4173points) March 27th, 2008

I know that heat rises—so does it matter if I bake on the top shelf or bottom shelf? Or does a good oven circulate and distribute the heat evenly?

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14 Answers

DeezerQueue's avatar

For the best baking, your product should be placed in the middle.

gailcalled's avatar

Many of the less-expensive ovens heat unevenly. Get a cheap oven thermometer and test various areas. Haven’t you notice that a cake will often brown unevenly on any shelf (and rise in a slanted manner)?My sister, who is a master cook and baker, paid enough for her 32” gas stove to have bought a small used car. But her cakes are not slanted.

Ach, you are getting so domesticated- cooking and gardening.

b's avatar

Every oven is a bit unique, have a slightly different sweet spot. But I agree with DeeverQueue about baking in the center of the oven. It is your best bet.

amandaafoote's avatar

If you have speed bake that might help, it uses a fan to circulate the heat faster & it might make the food cooked evenly.

hannahsugs's avatar

I agree with those who have said that baking in the center is your best bet. Also, rotating your baked goods halfway through baking can do you good. If you have 2 cookies sheets or cakes or whatever in at once, rotate them top-bottom and left-right halfway through. I think convection ovens (which have fans, like amanda said), probably heat fairly evenly.

skfinkel's avatar

Heat, as they say, rises. So the hottest part of the oven is probably the top part. Yet, the burners seem to be on the bottom—so too close the them can burn your baked goods. So I would concur with the middle of the oven approach. And also with the notion of a thermometer if you are really getting into baking delicate things. I usually put most things to be baked in the top third of the oven.

bpeoples's avatar

Notably, this is what a convection oven does—it circulates the air through the oven so the temperature throughout stays more consistent.

mzgator's avatar

I recently purchased a convection oven. Baking in it is a dream. The directions in the booklet say to place the item on the center rack.

breedmitch's avatar

I second skfinkel. Top third of the oven is best.

susanc's avatar

skfinkel is (not to out her unduly) a wonderful cook and never offers information
she’s not sure about. Trust her.

gailcalled's avatar

And skfinkel can whip off a braided home-made challah for Friday nights effortlessly.

Beans4life's avatar

It matters what kind of oven. But normally at the bottom because the flame is usually lit at the bottom and the heat is what cooks your food.

Laurette's avatar

This could be a stupid question – what is the meaning of cooking in bottom thirds and upper thirds? Does anyone know?

gailcalled's avatar

Yes. The side oven walls has ridges so you can adjust the height of the shelves. There is the bottom third, the middle third and the top third. It is where you set the shelf on which you put your baking pan. The heat rises, so the top of the oven is the hotter.

And over thermometer will take the guess-work out of things. Also is the issue between gas and electric ovens.

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