What am I doing wrong? Is it my pan choice? Please advise!

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Joined Jul 29, 2015
I'm a moderately good baker, follow recipes very well, but lately have been struggling to get a few baked goods to come out baked evenly. Some examples are:
"sl
  • utty brownies"
  • a chocolate cake
  • and a pretzel crusted/sugar cookie/brownie bar (basically a layer of pretzel crust, a layer of sugar cookie, and then topped with brownie batter).


I'm usually the star baker that everyone at work is counting on for the next best treat. Lately, I've been more of the guy coming home with a full pan. My problem isn't taste, it has been doneness. I've always baked in a clear glass, 13x9 pan, and until lately, I don't recall having so many issues. Basically what happens is the edges are over done (hard and dry) and he centers are half baked at most. The pretzel crusted/sugar cookie/brownie bar I made last night baked at 350 for 45 minutes. The directions called for 40-45. I didn't dare bake it more or the edges would have been rocks.

My first thought is it is my pan choice. Should I be using a metal pan?

This is getting frustrating. Any advice? If you need more details, please ask.

Thanks for your time!

OH, I should add that I'm using a conventional electric oven for home use.
 
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4,093
923
Joined Dec 18, 2010
Definitely consider metal pans. Much easier to bake in. Light and dark metal bake slightly different but either is better than Pyrex.
 
4,463
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Joined Aug 4, 2000
Checkout the baking pans from Matfer and Vollrath and pay close attention to their thickness.  IMO the thicker the better.
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
Most recipes will usually suggest what to pour batter into. Most are metal. If you are going to use clear glass you need to cut back the temp 25 deg. Glass is a great conductor of heat and will retain it.

The things you were baking were not underbaked in the middle, they were overbaked on the sides.
 
4
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Joined Jul 29, 2015
Thanks, so definitely seems like people agree on the pan as the issue.

I'll first try the one metal pan I have, if I don't have any good luck, I'll investigate some of the other options you gave.

Are darker and lighter metal pans better, or doesn't really matter? Also, non-stick or other?
 
4,093
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Darker pan tends to "bake hotter" than light pans so timing may differ slightly. Test early and often until you know how your recipe and the pan performs. Nonstick is great until they scratch. Regular pans will last longer but will need to be prepared more carefully.

There also may be similar differences between thick and thin pans.
 
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4,474
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
I totally agree with changing pans but if your oven is running true (well close anyway) and the dishes are all of a sudden going wonky then the pan may not be your problem.

What I mean is that just changing pans may not fix things.

Have you changed brands of ingredients?

Have any of your usual ingredients changed formulas?

With the soaring cost of baking products I have noticed changes in some of my go to products (I suppose the reasoning is to avoid yet another increase in price).

Cheap fillers...decreased amt in packages....

mimi
 
4,474
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Joined Jun 27, 2012
Or have you (thinking that more is better or trying to cut calories/fat/whatever) been tweeking your recipes?

mimi
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
If you are just baking occasionally at home, I would go with good non-stick pans. They are easy to use and offer a pretty consistent product. If you choose these

I would make sure you buy some plastic, silicone, wood, or rubber utensils at the same time. If you keep them scratch free, they will last a long tome. Warning, if you start buttering or greasing

these pans they seem to build up crud on the surface. Very few things will require release with these pans.
 

cerise

Banned
1,008
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Joined Jul 5, 2013
Altitude may have something to do with it.  Have you changed locations since you last made same recipes?
 
965
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Joined Apr 4, 2012
I remember when I first started baking decades ago that the advice was always to lower the temp by 25 degrees if you were baking in a glass baking dish. I don't see that written in recipes or cookbooks anymore but I do think it is sound advice. Glass is not a good conductor of heat. It is an insulator. Heat doesn't readily pass through it. Heat is held by the glass, so edges that come in contact with it tend to cook faster than the center.
 
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