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Do you flip your cookie pans while baking?

I just noticed my cookies at the end of the pan baked much faster than the rest in the oven of my new rental. I tried baking at a higher temp and cutting the cook time but still see the same thing. Most of my cookie recipes don't say to flip the pan and I never had a problem in 3 previous ovens I've used.

Is this something I'll have to do for all cookies now or does the oven need to be repaired?

I'm more concerned if I were baking a cake and half is cooked faster than the rest! (Plus in an earlier post I also mention how I'm also trying to figure out baking at an altitude, but having a new oven complicates matters!)

Thanks for any suggestions!!

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  1. I always flip my cookies. I find they cook much more evenly that way. I think there's less to worry about with a cake since it is smaller than a sheet of cookies that will usually go completely from back to front and side to side in the oven. In any event, nothing would stop you from rotating the cake toward the end of baking.

    2 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      Hey roxlet, do you flip them at the end or right in the middle of baking?

      The ones I flipped right in the middle (after figuring out the baking time in an earlier batch) did not flatten as much as the earlier batches but it did solve the uneven baking problem.

      1. re: Lorry13

        About halfway for the cookies. I have convection in my oven, but I don't use it. I'd do towards the end for the cake just to make sure it's set before you jostle it.

    2. when I had a conventional oven, I would rotate the pans front-to-back AND swap top for bottom at about halfway through the baking time.

      Now that I have a convection oven, I find everything bakes very evenly, so I don't flip.

      3 Replies
        1. re: rockycat

          Just the opposite for me.. my fairly basic Whirlpool oven cooks more evenly than my Dacor convection oven that I always have to turn front to back to get even cooking.

      1. Always, front to back and top to bottom half way through, same with most/all of my baked goods...

        1. I always rotate pans even tho my oven cooks fairly evenly. Just not quite even enough for my preferences.

          To get a good idea how even the heat is in the oven, put a layer of plain ol' bread on the racks with the oven at about 350F. After a few minutes you'll see the bread browning to indicate the heat pattern.

          2 Replies
            1. re: ricepad

              Now I know what to do with my soon to expire sandwich bread!

            2. "Most of my cookie recipes don't say to flip the pan..."
              That seems odd to me. Almost every cookie recipe I read or see demonstrated on my favorite cooking shows say to rotate the pans halfway through cooking.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ttoommyy

                Yes I've always heard about it but wasn't sure if it was necessary since it something I never saw my mom/grandma do and everything came out perfect. I didn't have a problem myself in my other rentals (and I bake cookies on a weekly basis).

                I figured it was another of those personal options as the people who insist on adding cold water after boiling pasta or running water on raw chicken (neither which I do).

                Interestingly, looking at the first 5 cookie recipes on my binder (NY Times Choc Chip and recipes by Alton, Giada, Dorie, and Martha) only one says to flip (Alton).

                1. re: Lorry13

                  That's surprising about the NYT and Martha recipes. Maybe I just assume most recipes call for rotating the pans. I'll have to check out some of my favorite recipes and see. I do know for sure that on America's Test Kitchen TV show they always rotate their pans.

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    I don't rotate my pans unless I have seen things cook unevenly in a particular oven.

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      I went and checked out my favorite cookie recipes that I turn to again and again and... none of them said to rotate the pans! So, what do I know! :)

                      Also, I have had a convection oven for the last two years and two sheets of cookies on separate racks always come out evenly cooked when I use the convection mode, so I don't even know why I chimed in to begin with, since I haven't had to roatate cookie sheets in over two years!

                      Sometimes I just need to be an observer on these forums and learn to shut up... :)

                  2. re: Lorry13

                    I think it depends on the oven. I have a very old electric range which is down to two functioning cooktop burners but bakes evenly. There's no need to turn the baking sheets. It's another reason why I have no interest in replacing the range. It's my understanding that modern models don't last anywhere near as long.

                2. I'm surprised that everyone rotates. In my small oven, opening up the door causes the temperature to drop precipitously, so I never rotate. There's a little front to back variation in doneness, but I say "vive la différence."

                  1. I've seen a lot of recipes that tell you to rotate pans but I'm lazy. I just shove my pan as far back as it will go in the oven and find that I don't have a problem. Mine is pretty new. About 4 years old. In my parents' old oven I find you have to do the rotate or one side will actually burn while the other hasn't browned yet so do whatever works for your oven.

                    1. What type of cookie sheets/ sheet pans are you all using?

                      I use heavy-ass restuarant supply 1/3 sheet pan rimmed sheet pans and preheat before use.

                      I use parchment and never flip.
                      I;ve never had a problem.
                      Too much oven heat loss in my world by flipping. And lack of a constant cooking time. It's timing to me. Often within 10 to 30 seconds per batch. Do and figure out once. Rinse. Repeat. Consistant results. All. Day. long.

                      Sheet holds so much residual heat that it takes two oven mitts to not burn when removing.

                      Pull parchment onto wire rack, new parchment, new batch, into oven.
                      Military precision.
                      No variance front to back nor side to side.

                      I gotta do V-Day tollhouse big batch tomorrow.
                      Work worthy of the effort.

                      1. I have baked in a boatload of different ovens over the years and some require turning and maybe even changing racks. Some do not. In three different brands of convection ovens I have had, one was extremely uneven and burned stuff in front of the fan. The manufacturer bought it back. The other two are pretty even on convection. It is not all that uncommon to have to turn pans in a conventional oven. To me it has more to do with how your oven bakes than a specific recipe. It might be mentioned in the part of a book that gives general instructions.

                        1. I suggest you consider keeping a pizza stone in the oven, it will greatly help to stabilize the temp if preheated thoroughly. I also think that rotating and switching racks depends on the amount of sugar in the recipe, for example, sugar cookies might tend to burn if baked strictly on the upper third of the oven.

                          Besides the bread test described, you might consider taking the temperature of the oven at various heights and front and back. Of course, if you open the oven, the front is going to drop precipitously so move fast.

                          I also use heavy duty aluminum half sheets lined with parchment, they seem to bake more evenly with cookies. With cakes, I'd definitely rotate/switch once the batter is set. A water bath should require no rotation.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: blaireso

                            I keep unglazed quarry tiles (that I bake bread and pizza on) on the bottom shelf in the oven so it keeps the temperature more even. When you open the door, it also retains the heat better. Even more, they catch run off from anything that might overflow.

                            1. re: chowser

                              Agree that this is a good solution. I would go one step further, however, and load 2 shelves with quarry tile, one on the topmost position, one on the lowest. Then the shelf where the cookies are baked is between them in a middle position. You get very even heating indeed this way.

                              However turning is usually a good idea regardless, because unless you have a controlled-environment autoclave, getting absolutely uniform heat is almost impossible.

                              If I'm baking 2 sheets I also rotate them top-bottom, swapping positions halfway through.