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Hi, Nancy. I am a new baker and I am having trouble with baking cookies and breads. My cookies get burned at the bottom and my breads are not cooked thoroughly in the middle but burned on top. What am I doing wrong?

Charlise - from Milwaukee, WI

It sounds like your oven temperature is incorrect – as ovens get older they get hotter! Invest in an oven thermometer, hang it in the center of the oven from the oven rack. After the oven has preheated, wait 15 minutes then check the temperature on the thermometer. If you oven is off just a small amount (50 degrees or less), you can simply adjust what you set the oven at. If it is off more than that, you should call in a repairman to fix the problem. When baking, make sure you place your cookie sheet or baking pan on a shelf in the top half to third of the oven. Also, make sure the pan/baking sheet is centered on the rack and air can circulate around the pan. This will assure that the oven temperature is consistent inside the oven (i.e. there are no hot spots).

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The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.