Even when you know your way around a kitchen, baking can be a whole different challenge. Ovens are often finicky, but Epicurious suggests a handful of decent rules to follow for proper oven use when baking different things.
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As they point out, baking requires precision, and your oven rack’s position can make a big difference. Here’s a quick and simple primer on which rack to use, depending on what you’re baking.
Top rack: Good for rich, even browning. Epicurious points out that, once the oven is preheated, its heating element turns on and off to maintain evenness. Heat rises at the top, so the temperature is more consistent on the top rack. They add that it’s ideal for dishes that need to be browned, like casseroles, gratins and chips.
Bottom rack: The oven’s heating element is on the bottom, so if you want to brown the underside of a dish (like pizza, bread or a pie), move the rack to its lowest position, because it will be closest to the source of heat.
Middle rack: Generally, this is the safe spot for making sure food is cooked evenly. According to Epicurious, this only applies when you baking one thing at a time, though. If you have two sheets going at the same time, move the racks on the top and bottom thirds. Then, rotate them halfway through cooking to make sure your food bakes evenly.
They include a handful of additional tips in the original post, so be sure to check it out at the link below.
How Your Oven Racks Can Make You a Better Cook [Epicurious]