Learn how your appliance is supposed to operate so you can determine if it is malfunctioning.
The air inside the oven must circulate for proper cooking to take place.
Room air usually enters the oven cavity at the base of the door as it is not sealed air tight. As the elements heat the oven air, it rises. At the top of the oven cavity there is a small vent that allows a small amount of that hot oven air to escape into the room, which in turn allows more air to enter the oven cavity. This continual cycling allows the oven to heat uniformly from bottom to top.
On coil-top ranges the oven vent is usually in the center beneath one of the surface elements, the rear most often. To allow for proper air circulation in the oven it is important that the vent is not blocked. A pot, pan or kettle left on top of the element above the vent can hamper oven air circulation, resulting in poor cooking results. If the element above the vent is in use, it will not affect the venting as the heat generated by the element will continue convection currents in itself, allowing the oven gases to escape normally. Only if not in use should that vent element be left uncovered for best oven cooking results.
Ranges with a glass top also have a vent for the oven but it is usually in the back panel. Large pots left standing in front of such a vent area could also contribute to poor oven cooking.
Totally covering oven racks with aluminum foil or stuffing the oven too full with cookie sheets, etc. can also hamper the natural oven air circulation preventing proper cooking. Baking delicate items like cakes is usually most affected by improper oven air circulation.
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