Not all homes have the same kind of oven. Some of us may have countertop ovens or smaller oven toasters with the features of a full-sized oven. Some of us may have a cooking range with a built-in oven or even an embedded wall oven.
The kind of oven you have in your home should not affect your dish, especially if you are baking at the right temperature and follow the recipe as indicated. We think we managed to prove it with this simple test: we baked brownies in two different ovens.
The results were conclusive for us: the brownies emerged almost identical. It’s all about following the recipe and ensuring that you bake at the right temperature.
This is what we did:
- • We whipped up a double batch of the espresso brownie recipe. This ensured that both brownies batters were identical to each other.
- • We used three different kinds of chocolate: semi-sweet chocolate, unsweetened baking chocolate, and natural cocoa powder. (We used Cacao Ivory dark chocolate buttons, Malagos unsweetened chocolate, and Auro natural cacao powder, both from Davao, the chocolate capital.)
- • We divided the brownie batter evenly between two identical aluminum baking pans. The 8-inch or 20.7-cm square aluminum pans weighed 12 grams each. After using the tare function and then dividing the brownie batter, each weighed exactly 774 grams on our digital kitchen scale.
- • Both ovens are electric ovens with the fans turned off and the racks placed in the middle of the oven.
- • We baked each pan at the same temperature for 30 minutes to test for doneness and returned the pans to the oven until each was baked through as desired. (We aimed for fudgy.)
- • We cooled the pans to room temperature and then chilled both overnight to test the textures.
Here are our findings of the differences between baking in a range oven and a countertop oven.
1 You need an oven thermometer.
The biggest difference between using the range oven and the countertop oven was temperature. We set both ovens to preheat at 350 degrees F or around 177 degrees C for 20 minutes.
While both were set at these temperatures, the range oven was the most accurate of the two according to the oven thermometer we placed in both ovens. The countertop oven registered 25 degrees F or 4 degrees C cooler than the range oven.
It may not seem like a big difference but it can mean the difference between a cake that rises perfectly and one that is not quite as high. For brownies, this can mean the difference between a fudgy brownie and a cakey brownie. That’s because a fudgy brownie is baked hot and fast on the outside while remaining gooey and soft on the inside. A cakey brownie can be a fudgy brownie that you baked a little longer than normal so the brownie is baked on the outside as well as on the inside for that drier texture.
2 Brownies baked at different times.
You might think that the oven which baked the brownies faster would be the bigger range oven. It wasn’t. The brownies baked for longer, about 10 minutes more than the brownies in the countertop oven.
This might be because the oven heat needed more time to stay constantly at the right temperature than a smaller oven. The smaller the oven, the more efficient it is to run.
3 The brownies emerged moderately identical from the ovens.
Since both brownie pans were baked at the ideal temperature, both developed the signature crackly tops, were fudgy as desired, and both tasted similarly delicious.
Making a double batch of the same brownie recipe and using the same batter for both brownie pans made sure that the ovens were the only other factor in determining if a brownie recipe is affected by the oven or the recipe. This test proves that no matter what oven you use, if you follow a good recipe as directed, this will lead to delicious brownies.