A common question regarding cooking and baking in the oven is whether it matters which rack to use.
The short answer is yes, there are different levels in the oven for a good reason, this article will explain how it works.
The oven is like a little box designed to isolate heat as much as possible. Most ovens have two sources to heat up the oven, one heat source at the bottom and one heat source at the top. Both heat sources are turned on when the oven is programmed to reach a certain temperature.
When the temperature of choice is reached the top heat source is turned off and the bottom heat source is used to maintain the temperature by turning it on sporadically.
The bottom source is used because heat rises to the top to make sure the heat is distributed from the bottom to the top of the oven box. Since the heat rises to the top, the top is consequently hotter consistently, however, due to the heat source being located at the bottom and the oven sporadically is busted with heat intended to heat the entire it can be used to produce specific results according to your liking.
The top rack
Heat rises in the oven and because of that, the temperature will be more consistent at the top. The top placement is thus ideal for dishes with a browned top. You can also finish dishes at the top by using the broiler for the last couple of minutes.
The middle rack will cook and bake food more evenly than the bottom and the top rack and is the best choice for most dishes, and cakes.
Keep in mind that for the center of a large turkey to be in the middle of the oven, you’ll have to place the rack lower than if you’re roasting a small dish or baking cookies.
The bottom rack
If you want to brown the bottom of the dish you are cooking or baking for example in order to get a delicious crust on a pizza you should use the bottom rack in the oven.
What if I would like to bake two dishes in the oven at the same time?
If you need to use more than one rack, for example, when cooking or baking two dishes at the same time, use the bottom and the top rack and switch place halfway through to make sure the dishes are cooked evenly.
You can of course also move the rack up and down even if you only cook one dish and start in the middle according to taste.
For cast iron lovers, to season two cookware at the same time works great without the need to switch up and down.