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New oven with hidden bake element

hcookie's picture

I did a kitchen remodel and have a new oven. Yesterday I baked some date-nut loaves which seemed to be done but were not. The bottom was still uncooked. One loaf was rather destroyed but the other was only slightly injured so after some time had passed I put it back in the pan and baked it longer.

This new oven is so much different from the old one. Any tips on using an oven with hidden bake element? Any way to tell if the element is not working? I wonder if something is wrong because the other times I used the oven cooking meats I would hear a bang or two during preheat.

Gretchen's picture

I'm not sure I understand (post #68542, reply #1 of 16)

I'm not sure I understand what is "hidden". Is it a gas or electric oven? Do you have an oven thermometer to test the temp with.

Gretchen
hcookie's picture

Gretchen It is an electric (post #68542, reply #3 of 16)

Gretchen

It is an electric oven with the bottom element under the metal floor. It makes it easier to clean the oven but one cannot see the element. Also known as clean-bake, etc. Most new electric ovens are made this way. I don't have an oven thermometer yet; it is on my shopping list as well as a longer cake tester.

I have barely used the oven since I got it and this is the first time I have tried to bake a wet quickbread. Maybe I just need time to play and get acquainted with the oven. I haven't yet tried the convection bake or convection roast. I remember others have said to let an oven preheat more after the signal sounds and that could have been part of the problem.

ashleyd's picture

I am assuming that you have a (post #68542, reply #2 of 16)

I am assuming that you have a "European style" oven where all the elements are concealed? Does it cook meat OK?

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

hcookie's picture

Ashleyd The broiler element (post #68542, reply #4 of 16)

Ashleyd

The broiler element is visible and I haven't tried using the convection element. I have baked chicken thighs o.k. and a pot roast in a French oven but they are a lot easier to check than a deep quickbread.

The reason I focused on the hidden bottom element is the bread tested done in the middle but wasn't done on the bottom so it needed more heat there. I had the loaves on the second to lowest rack position with a pan of water on the lowest rack position.

I'll have to buy more dates after Christmas and play around.

ashleyd's picture

Mmmm, I think I'd try the (post #68542, reply #5 of 16)

Mmmm, I think I'd try the convection, it's supposed to help in circumstances like this. I'm not a baker, but the physics of it tells me having a pan of water directly below would block the direct heat from the element, whether it is covered or not.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Gretchen's picture

Out of curiosity, why did you (post #68542, reply #6 of 16)

Out of curiosity, why did you have a pan of water there?

Gretchen
hcookie's picture

It is an old old recipe and (post #68542, reply #7 of 16)

It is an old old recipe and that is the way it was written. The water does cause the crust to crackle a bit when eaten.

After Christmas I will try another loaf without the water and placing the loaf pan in the lowest rack position. Baking date-nut loaves is the only thing I do for the holiday because it is a link between Christmas past and Christmas present. Because it is a tradition I don't want to change it too much.

Adele's picture

I wonder if it's a safety (post #68542, reply #9 of 16)

I wonder if it's a safety feature to not have the bottom element go on if there is pressure on it? ie- a pan actually resting on the bottom, like the water you used? Ashleyd's answer sounded right too, the pan could be blocking the heat from the bottom of the pans. PLUS, if you were to put a pan of water down on a regular oven you would fit it between the elements.

Do your quick breads have yeast? (Asking because the recipe calls for adding water to the oven)

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

hcookie's picture

I am sure the pan of water (post #68542, reply #11 of 16)

I am sure the pan of water had something to do with it. The new oven has 5 rack positions and the old one had only 4 so the racks were further apart. I switched from a cake pan to a sheet pan for the water so I am sure the pan blocked much of the heat. I didn't put the pan on the floor of the oven but on the lowest rack which is not very close to the floor. It was not a yeast bread but I like to bake yeast bread so I will have to change my technique when baking them.

The recipe is basically the one for date-nut written about in the Baking section but using a pan of water in the oven got added somewhere. I will try again without the water. I also plan to try baking the loaf with the convection feature.

Quilter's picture

I read through the whole (post #68542, reply #8 of 16)

I read through the whole thread before replying - just to make sure I didn't repeat anything anyone else had already posted. I have a Sears Kenmore Elite wall oven with a concealed bake element. During preheat there's some noise as the metal in the oven contracts and/or expands. I assume that this is normal. I almost always use the middle rack in the oven, and have no problems at all with the end results. My bread is always nice and brown on the bottom, and everything is cooked through. I seldom use the convection feature, although during the preheat the fan runs continuously, shutting off when the required temperature is reached. The concealed element shouldn't cause any problems. I assume that the panel shows the progress of your preheating - mine shows which elements are actually on at any one time. Once it's finished preheating, the elements cycle on rather infrequently. I'd suggest getting an oven thermometer as well - and if the temperature is accurate, you may find you just need to adjust your baking times to compensate for the fact that the bottom element is under the oven floor.
By the way - I love my oven.

hcookie's picture

Quilter Thank you for your (post #68542, reply #13 of 16)

Quilter

Thank you for your comments. I know I need to get some practice with the oven. Later I plan to bake some biscotti and try the convection element and I have some bananas in the refrigerator that are quite brown.

Does your oven have 4 or 5 rack positions? My use and care book suggests using the two lowest rack positions when baking quickbreads with conventional bake.

Quilter's picture

My oven has 5 rack positions. (post #68542, reply #14 of 16)

My oven has 5 rack positions. I have to confess I've never even looked at my use and care book - the oven was a replacement for a really old wall oven, and I just started using it as if nothing has changed. Well, except for the fact that I seem to be cleaning fingerprints off the black glass almost constantly. Boy, do they ever show up!

Adele's picture

Oh yeah! Congratulations on (post #68542, reply #10 of 16)

Oh yeah! Congratulations on the new oven & kitchen re-model. Like anything new, it will take a little time to get used to it and then it will ROCK!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

hcookie's picture

Adele I also got a convection (post #68542, reply #12 of 16)

Adele

I also got a convection microwave that I need to learn to use.

MrBill's picture

I dont think the fact that (post #68542, reply #15 of 16)

I dont think the fact that the element is hidden has anything to do with the baking temperature. All the bake element is doing is heating the air in the oven to the correct temperature. Once the air in the oven is at the correct temperature the element shuts off anyway, then just cycles on and off as needed to keep the air at the correct temperature. When baking, it is the heated air that does the cooking, not the element itself.

You probably should get a good thermometer and see if the oven is actually at the same temp that you have it set for. Our GE actually has a way to adjust the program so that the temperature is correct.

Bill Koustenis

Advanced Automotive Machine

Waldorf Md

philvk's picture

Sorry for a late reply here. (post #68542, reply #16 of 16)

Sorry for a late reply here.

My most recent GE wall mounted ovens incorporate the bottom element "baffle", and I love that feature. It's a great improvement over an uncovered element. Why? because the baffle tempers the heat- and the oven becomes less prone to scorching the bottom of ____ (cookies, ckes, etc.)

An uncovered element heats the air, but also can deliver a "sunburn" to pans on the lower 2 shelves. In my experience, Uncovered electric elements bake quite unevenly. With the baffle, he oven warms a little more slowly, but provies more even heat. Not perfectly even, but a big improvement over no baffle.