Like many of us, lockdown has turned me into an avid baker. Families all across the country have an abundance of banana bread to munch through. One obstacle I have faced when making bread, cakes, and muffins is that I follow the recipe perfectly, and after the suggested baking time, they are undercooked. As I have scoured the internet searching for answers, I thought I would share with you my findings so you don’t have to. There are so many easy, little changes that can be made and will help you with your baking time problems. Follow my tips to make your cakes Bake- Off worthy and learn why your baking time may be longer than the recipe says…
The oven isn’t up to temperature
The temperature inside the oven is the most important aspect to get right, ensuring the perfect bake. You need to consider that the recipe cooking time is based on when the food is placed into the oven at the temperature stated. It is so easy to be impatient and place our trays into the oven before it’s up to temperature. If you are cooking in an ILVE range cooker or oven, you can use the quick start function which heats your oven up to 200 in just 6 minutes! This setting will guarantee your oven is at the desired temperature in no time.
You’ve overfilled your oven
My next baking tip is to not to overfill your oven; try to bake on just two shelves. If you are doubling a baking recipe, you can use multiple ovens, or cook two batches in the same oven. It might be tempting to fill your oven with as many shelves as it can fit, but you won’t get that perfectly cooked bake. If you fill your oven with more than two shelves, the heat won’t be evenly spread across each tray. It may take longer to cook on only two shelves at a time, but you are sure to get better results!
The air inside the oven isn’t flowing correctly
If your baking creation only requires a single tray, you may have an issue with the airflow inside the oven. For example, when I’m baking banana bread, I only need one shelf. A trick to help the airflow is to add another empty tray underneath (or above) onto the shelf not in use. This helps the oven to flow the hot air evenly around the oven, achieving an even bake. If you notice your cake is beginning to brown on top before the centre has had a chance to cook, you can loosely cover the cake in foil to avoid over-browning. This will also help the airflow around the oven by stopping intense heat over-browning the surface of the cake. You need to do this as quickly as possible to avoid letting the heat escape out of the oven. Be careful to not bang the door as this can knock the air out of your bake, ILVE’s soft-close doors will ensure you can’t slam them.
Using a larger pan than the one used in the recipe
If you are using a different sized pan to that recommended by the recipe, you will need to adjust your baking time. The larger the pan, the quicker the baking time. This occurs because the larger surface area of the pan means the bake will reach a higher temperature quicker. My advice is to try to use the same size tin when you can, or alter your cooking time dependent on whether you have a larger or smaller tin than the recipe suggests. Remember: Smaller tin = Higher temperature OR longer cooking time Larger tin = Lower temperature OR shortened baking time.
Opening the oven door
Once your trays are in, try to not open the door to check on how they are baking. ILVE range cookers have perfect visibility through their glass oven doors, and also have dual lighting so you can watch your bake on perfectly on each level. If your recipe requires you to make adjustments mid-bake, try to do it as quickly as possible. As mentioned previously don’t slam the oven door!
So, if you have been disheartened after perfectly measuring out your ingredients, following each step carefully and you hear that “ding” of your oven timer to find that your food is uncooked - it may not be your fault! Use the gift of extra time this lockdown try out these baking tips, I am sure you’ll be able to make the most brilliant banana bread in the family. View all ILVE products here. Follow our Made with ILVE Instagram to see all of our baking and cooking attempts!