In South Africa, domestic ovens have wire racks and solid plate racks. Does each type have a specific function or can anything be cooked on either type?

  • Domestic to where? Can you provide a link to or picture of an oven of this type?
    – Jolenealaska
    Nov 17, 2016 at 10:52
  • 3
    I'm not actually familiar with anything but wire racks.
    – Catija
    Nov 17, 2016 at 11:05
  • @Catiha for a few ovens you can get full-shield baking sheets with holes round the back and sides for airflow but otherwise completely flat. Similar shelves are used in Aga ovens to reduce the heat in a section of the oven for baking.
    – Chris H
    Nov 17, 2016 at 12:59
  • South Africa. It's an AEG / Electrolux B1100-5. Manual directs wire rack "for cookware, cake tins, roasts and grilled foods". The solid plate they call a "baking tray" for "for cakes and biscuits". Wouldn't solid rack give more even / better cooking of bottom of almost everything?
    – Joy
    Nov 17, 2016 at 13:10
  • 1
    No, the solid rack will prevent the air from circulating properly.
    – Catija
    Nov 17, 2016 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


This sounds like you might be talking about a european style oven, which generally has 2 types of inserts, wire shelves and solid trays. Wire shelves are used when you want to cook something that is self-contained, like a casserole, baking dish, cookie sheet, etc. The space between the wires allows the free circulation of air, which is a good thing.

Trays usually come with a removable wire rack and are used when you are baking or grilling (in the US it's known as broiling) something loose like chicken pieces, burgers or sausages. The tray catches any drips and holds liquids that would otherwise fall to the bottom of your oven and make a very sticky and hard to clean mess. The tray slots into the same grooves as the wire shelves so you can put it on any level.

In the US many ovens have a separate drawer for broiling which comes with a slide-in tray, it's the same concept except you usually can't use the tray in the oven as the sizes don't match.

Here's a picture of the type of oven I mean, on the bottom you see the tray, on the top the wire shelf. enter image description here

  • Maybe add a picture for the US comparison as well?
    – Pysis
    Nov 17, 2016 at 22:08
  • In some areas, the solid ones are considered "the baking sheet they gave away with the oven" ;) Nov 18, 2016 at 14:28

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