Cooking in an oven

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Don't Trust Ovens
Baking may be a science, but it's a bit of a risk, too, since every oven is different. Molly Hanson, executive pastry chef at Grill 23 & Bar, in Boston, learned this from one of her instructors at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. If a recipe says the brownies should be done in 30 minutes, "you should use that as an estimate and not a fact," Hanson explains, since oven sizes vary and some have exposed heating elements while others have those that are hidden. Both of these things have a big impact on how quickly or slowly the heat moves around in the space. Hanson usually checks on cookies, brownies and other items about halfway through their suggested baking time, rotating the pan for even baking and giving it a "general well-being test": If the brownie pan has dark edges and a pale center, the oven is probably too hot; if it has an overall greasy, pale look, the oven is probably too cool.