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I just bought a KitchenAid oven which, has both convection and conventional settings with a convection conversion setting. I have been baking for over 40 years, and nothing I have made in this oven is edible. I am using the conventional feature (as with a typical conventional oven) to make breads, quick breads, cheesecake, etc.

I have had 5 technicians out who say that my temperature is correct. They have calibrated the temp up and calibrated it down. Nothing works. I have had to increase the baking time on the recipe by double (or longer), and at times, I still have raw liquid dough in the center. I am not doing anything differently from the 40+ years of baking these recipes.

What is the problem and how do I fix it?

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    Are you baking recipes from cookbooks and similar, or are you baking your own recipes which have worked in the past? Going purely from what you describe, it could be that your recipes are matched to your old oven which was miscalibrated, and so don't work for a correctly calibrated oven.
    – dbmag9
    Mar 9 at 12:37
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    what is actually going wrong with the bakes that makes them inedible? Is food undercooked, overcooked, raw, burnt, cooked unevenly, or something else? The cause of any of these problems would be different
    – Tristan
    Mar 10 at 9:36
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    i have been baking with these recipes for over 40 years. so i have used SEVERAL ovens. I cant imagine every other oven was incorrect and this is the correct one. There is no one reason it is inedible. Typically i am baking at 50% or more longer than the recipe typically takes. Everytime i make something it is hit or miss. And this is set at Farenheit which is what i have always used. I guess i count this as a $1300 loss and go back to a basic conventional oven with no bells or whistles. What a waste.
    – jkhcast
    Mar 10 at 13:08
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    Model number please. I have an idea that I might be able to flesh out into an answer if I could find the manual
    – Chris H
    Mar 10 at 13:38
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    How do you usually cook? Do you preheat the oven, or do you start from cold? Did your old oven have exposed elements? Does the new one? Ovens with embedded elements don't radiate as much during preheat - if your recipes are relying on going in cold and getting a big initial broil-blast from the bottom radiant element then an oven with embedded elements won't work the same way at all.
    – J...
    Mar 10 at 17:40

3 Answers 3

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The first thing to do is buy an oven thermometer to see what temperature your oven actually is. Technicians have no real way of knowing what the temperature is when you are using it; what you need is hard data. Oven thermometers are very cheap, and it will give you a better idea of what's going on. Put one in your oven and then turn it to the temperature you want, then see what temperature it actually gets to.

Next, read your oven's manual thoroughly to make sure there's not something you're missing. One of my ovens wasn't working--I set the temperature and mode but it wouldn't heat. I thought it was broken before I figured out it wouldn't work if the clock's time wasn't set. Don't ask me why it was designed that way, it doesn't make sense but there it is. Some ovens have a start button and won't change the temperature unless you press it.

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    I'd argue that it's worthwhile for him to get an "expensive" oven thermometer, like a ThermoWorks, just to be sure. Cheap thermometers are often, themselves, inaccurate.
    – FuzzyChef
    Mar 9 at 18:11
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    @FuzzyChef - I agree that good gear is often a worthwhile investment. (I own a ThermaPen and although it was expensive I've never regretted the purchase.) However, for a really basic "reality check" an inexpensive oven thermometer would probably be sufficient. Or, get two different inexpensive ones to compare and if they both give reasonably close readings then keep one and give the other to a friend or family member. (I've "gifted" a few fridge/freezer thermometers over the years.) Mar 9 at 20:28
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    @Mazura my 0% digital electric oven will turn off the element even while the knob is set to broil (presumably if it overheats) Mar 10 at 7:02
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    I have read the manual. i have talked to KitchenAid. I have had technicians come out. One spent an hour here with the oven on so they could check the temp as it cycled through. I have used a thermometer on my own. This is not the problem. My question is if anyone has experience using one of these convection/conventional ovens and if they know if there are specific items that can be adjusted to make them work more like a typical conventional oven. ie; set at higher/lower temps, longer/shorter baking time, or a combo of both? Specifically for BAKING.
    – jkhcast
    Mar 10 at 13:04
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    @jkhcast, you need to know what the actual temperature inside the oven is. If you have a thermometer what does it read? When you set it to a temperature does it get to that temperature?
    – GdD
    Mar 10 at 13:08
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My suggestion is simple: return the oven. It's likely that you purchased a defective oven. Many countertop ovens have manufacturing defects, and the easy way to handle this is return-and-replace. I suggest also browsing online reviews for the model you purchase, as some countertop ovens are defective-by-design.

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    Yes. The longer you wait, the harder this becomes.
    – JimmyJames
    Mar 9 at 21:53
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    Also, just because you had a good experience with a brand in the past, it doesn't mean you will have a good experience now. The unfortunate reality is that corporations consider brands to be assets and sometimes they 'burn' them. That is, they take a brand known for it's quality and start slapping it on bad quality items and mark them up. In business terms, this is called a 'value add' from branding.
    – JimmyJames
    Mar 9 at 21:59
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    Why do you assume a countertop oven? At that price, it is likely a range or wall oven, and is something you can’t just pickup and tote back to the store.
    – Debbie M.
    Mar 10 at 0:32
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    i cannot return as i have had for over a year. And this is not a countertop oven. And when i said 'paperweight' i meant it was a useless $1300 product. Not that it didnt weigh anything.?????
    – jkhcast
    Mar 10 at 12:59
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    Original question says "i just bought a KitchenAid oven..." and "my new convection/convention oven" but it's over a year old? Something's not adding up here.
    – barbecue
    Mar 10 at 22:25
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Not a full answer, but some steps to troubleshoot/may help:

  1. Hang a manual oven thermometer in as close as possible to the place as you would normally put your food. Make sure you read it through the window without opening the oven. You may have to move your racks so that you can get the thermometer to the same height as you food would be at. Do a dry run of cooking your most basic recipe--preheat, open and close the oven exactly as you would normally, etc., just without food and keep notes of what the thermometer says (start, end, and maybe 4-6 times evenly spaced through the process). Let your oven cool completely, then same process again, but with convection mode on. If you have a friend or relative who will let you repeat the process in their oven, do that, too. (Manual thermometers are extremely cheap, so you can also get several and hang them in different places.)

  2. Buy a box cake mix (yes, yes) and prepare it exactly as specified on the box, cook at exactly the time and temperature specified, etc. Weigh it before and after cooking to calculate moisture loss. Take notes about the doneness in various spots: edge, one third of the way in from the edge, center, top, and bottom. Report back here.

  3. Try putting your food in a Dutch oven inside the oven, turn convection mode on. If you don't have a Dutch oven, you can put your normal dish on a cookie sheet with an oven safe bowl covering it, or you can use foil (but make sure the foil is fully encasing your food and secured so it doesn't get blown around). (It might be worthwhile to sacrifice another box cake mix here just for consistency, so you can compare the same doneness points as from step 2.)

Thoughts: Convection oven is basically the same as a normal oven+fan, but of course there are options even with normal ovens.

Normal ovens usually have a significant temperature gradient from top to bottom (hotter at the top), the fan on a convection oven distrutes the heat more evenly. If the power is the same, with the fan on it will be--compared to fan off--cooler at the top and hotter at the bottom. Since most people tend to cook closer to the middle or bottom, for most people the convection mode will be hotter (at the same power) than conventional. However, some convection ovens try to adjust the power for you based on mode, so the power might be different for the same temperature setting depending on if the fan is on or not. (This might also be a place where things can go wrong.)

The exact shape of the interior and the arrangement of the heating elements/burner can also cause hot or cold spots in an oven...you only really care about the spot your food sits at.

Some ovens also have options re: which heating elements are on (top, bottom, both). Convection ovens may have fan speed, etc., options, too. It may be worthwhile to cuddle up with the manual and list out all of the options which your oven has, then try each one from a cold oven with the temperature set the same and thermometer in the same place, note temperature as intervals that make sense for the types of recipes that you normally cook. (It can also be helpful to do this for the minimum and maximum temperatures which your oven supports, so that you know the full range actually available.)

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