The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help! I moved and the new oven sucks

halfbreed's picture

Help! I moved and the new oven sucks

Hi there, first post, but I've read this forum before and it's been really helpful since I started baking about 2 years ago.

Anyway, as the title says, I recently moved from a place with a solid mid-level gas/electric convection oven to a new place with a super low-end gas oven (only one long burner underneath the oven floor that doubles as the broiler).   Needless to say, my bread, pizza, and pastries have gone from quite good to mediocre. The oven barely browns crusts no matter where I place the item or adjust the temp/time, and nothing rises as well as it used to - leading to thicker/chewier crusts and denser bread. Bleh.

The new oven has no temp readout, but I use a Thermoworks probe so I know the following temps are correct. As far as I can tell, the oven seems to vent a *ton* of heat from the top (I can't hold my hand in a certain spot for longer than 10 seconds maybe), causing the oven to be quite cooler at the top than the bottom. The oven has a major problem keeping temps up also, I normally cook pizzas at 450 and the oven can't keep that temp up (preheated to 500 it hovers at 430 or so once the pizza is in even though the burner stays on non-stop).

Anyway, my question is beyond replacing the range (which I probably will do if nothing else really works well), are there any cheap solutions that would lead to better results? I've always just used baking trays up until this point because the results were great with the old oven anyway (even my french bread). Also, dunno if it matters for suggestions, but I live at altitude (8000'). Old place was in the same town, so the altitude itself hasn't changed.

Thanks for any suggestions/advice!

Also, just included a pic so you guys can see the results I was getting with the old oven. Don't have a pic with anything from the new oven as of yet, mostly because the results never look all that great.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

my heart goes out to you.  Even with an upgrade in ovens it takes time for you to adjust to a different one and learn how to use it.  

Remember the date, and when taking notes, date & mention the oven type.  Taking notes right away should help speed up the learning process.  I've baked a lot of breads in gas ovens.  It vented so well I had a problem with rats crawling into the oven.  One time they ran off with my hollowed out chicken eggs I had blown for Easter decorations  left to dry inside the oven.  That was in Indonesia and to save money, the new gas range came ordered without the extra rat protection net.  Ah, yes.    :)   Anyway, be glad you don't have rats... yet.  

I do believe there are many suggestions in the archives here, you just need to find them.  One of the big problems is dealing with the vent, the other too much bottom heat.  Plan to cook on the back burner at the same time as a bake to use the energy.  Don't block the vent.  Diffusers can help directly under baking tins and trays.  So can shiny pans.  

Try looking up burnt bottoms, camping gas oven, and heat diffuser and see what you find.  Shouldn't have too many problems using a DO.  Aluminum foil is your friend.


cfraenkel's picture

I have similar issues with my gas oven.  Here is what I have done to help. I put a baking sheet with foil (shiny side out-on the under side of the baking sheet) on the bottom rack of the oven - and then put my baking stone on a shelf as close to the top as I can.  It isn't perfect, but I will say that without the stone or the baking sheet below it, everything burns on the bottom. Years ago someone posted a long post about gas oven fixes and this was my take away from the thread.  Good luck, I feel your pain.

halfbreed's picture

Thanks to both of you for the advice. I'll try to search some more. Looks like I'd at least need to buy another rack as I only have 2 currently.

One question, any reason just foil (shiny side towards the bottom) on the bottom rack wouldn't work just as well as a foil wrapped cookie sheet on the bottom rack?