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Do you have to adjust oven temperature and cooking time when cooking in glass loaf pans? My Ricotta Pound cake never seemed to get done in the middle (took another 10 minutes beyond recommended cooking time) and got overly brown on the outside. Then it broke in half when trying to get it out of the pan. Thanks.

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Yes, but not the time so much. The dish itself is not a good conductor of heat, like cast iron or other metal for example. And it allows radiant heat directly on what is being cooked. One thing I do is that I have a pizza stone in my oven that helps keep the oven temperature stable.

Another thing that is very common is that oven temperatures are notoriously inaccurate. So, it pays to use an oven thermometer in order to get accurate oven temps (instead of going by the oven temperature dial).

Here's another tip. Place a cookie sheet on the rack below the glass/pyrex baking dish. This keeps the radiant heat from the lower element from directly heating the dish.

I must say though, that the #1 thing that has improved my baking is the oven thermometer. The oven dial in my kitchen is off from 15 to 25 degrees. This is a tip I got from "On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee. The second thing is the pizza stone that helps regulate the temperature. A standard oven cycles on and off to maintain the temperature.

All that being said, I'd use metal cookware for cake. But I do get good results when I wind up using glassware by controlling the oven temps.

Update I made brownies last night and noticed in Marion Cunningham's (The Fannie Farmer Cookbook) recipe this advice, "If you're using a Pyrex dish, place it on a baking sheet during baking". What that does is to act as a buffer between the heating elements and the dish.

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Pizza stone: great recommendation for oven temperature regulation. More info: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/4012/… - Also, I'm in agreement about the oven thermometer, that's a "must-have" in my kitchen. I move it to different quadrants of the oven regularly so I can monitor for hot/cold spots. A big ol' +1 from me for those suggestions! – stephennmcdonald Aug 13 '10 at 16:44
    
Also, covering the cake with a piece of aluminium foil will prevent the top from burning. – nico Mar 10 '12 at 16:21

I noticed that the directions on a box of cake mix have different oven temperatures depending on the material type of the baking dish, higher temp for glass.

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When baking bread in a glass versus metal loaf pan, I have had no difference in the oven temperature or cooking time to achieve the same bread.

But this question is specifically tagged for cakes. The answer there is yes. Shiny metal pans will heat less readily to begin with than glass ones. Dark metal pans behave more like to glass in that they absorb the heat. When using a glass pan, the common suggestion is to heat the oven to 25 degrees less than a metal one (one source).

When baking pies it is commonly suggested that glass is preferable to metal, as you want that bottom crust to get as crisp as possible (and definitely not soggy), so you want the bottom to heat as fast as possible.

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Depending on your oven, there could be a radiant heat factor that affects baking results when using a glass pan. Because it is made of glass, radiant heat passes through the dish, directly heating the surface of the food. This may be a reason why glass cookware manufacturers recommend preheating an oven before putting in the dish to cook.

So, if your oven cycles on frequently or for some other reason emits a lot of radiant heat, instead of just browning on top, your pound cake is essentially being toasted on all sides. That would explain why it took longer for the center to be cooked and also why it was so difficult to remove from the pan.

After getting a silicone loaf pan, I would never want to use glass bakeware again. However if you want to try again with your glass pan:

  • Make sure the oven is fully preheated. You could even preheat it to a somewhat higher temperature, because the oven will lose a lot of heat when you open the door and put in the pan. Of course, if you do this, don't forget to immediately turn the oven setting down to the proper temperature!
  • Instead of placing the glass dish directly on the oven rack, try putting it on a baking sheet or similar metal pan. That will shield the glass dish from some, if not most of the radiant heat.
  • If you still have a problem, try reducing the baking temperature (or get a silicone pan!)
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