I always use just one rack because I've always been nervous about all of the cakes not baking thoroughly.....but it would sure save some time if I was able to bake on both racks.
I use a single rack also. I tried using both once before and they didn't turn out so well. Got new oven recently but haven't retried it yet.
I bake everything on 1 rack only. Things don't bake properly when I use both racks. The bottom rack burns and the top rack is under done. So I bake everything on one rack placed in the center of the oven. I do have a new oven and haven't tried it in this one. Not sure I want to. I don't have time to bake things twice.
Buddy from Cake Boss tried baking at home and had a heck of a time. He used all the racks and nothing cooked right, and I'm sure he has an excellent stove at his home. So I figure I won't waste my time, effort and money trying if it won't work for him.
Me too! Just one rack for me! Even with cookies. I don't ever get even baking otherwise. Now on the one rack, I might have 3-4 pans but never on both top and bottom.
I won't turn on my oven if I can't fill it up. Two rack baking rocks. You need to practice, practice, practice. Get over that fear. That's all it is - fear.
One rack for me. I don't feel that they bake the same on the lower rack.
I use both racks and often use both ovens. I have always had a double oven and would not do without. It is to time consuming otherwise.
My understanding is that using more than one rack for baking only works well if you have a convection oven.
Otherwise, not all of the oven is at the same temperature.
I've found that for baking cookies, I get the best results if I put the rack all the way up to the top of the oven, and that I end up with scorched bottoms if I don't. And a scorched bottom is not good eats.
I use both racks, rotating the pans about 2/3 of the way through baking time. I've never had any problem (well, after I started using an oven thermometer and found my oven bakes at 25 degrees less after it's set to 350!)
Never trust the thermostat on your oven unless you've personally calibrated it with a proper oven-calibrating pyrometer.
I use two all the time and three for cookies and anything else that is flat.
I agree with Mimi, as usual. You need to know your ovens. I have convection but I don't always use it because I find the swing in temp (different from temp) is larger.
All ovens, even the pricey ones, have their individual quirks. You need to get to know them. I have three in my bakery and I know every odd thing about not only the oven, but each shelf.
You can bake in an off temp oven with hot and cold spots. Just know what to do. Use an oven thermometer. You don't need a pyrometer. That measures surface temp. You can get a $5.00 oven thermometer. If you want to check that for calibration, use the sugar test. Just google it.
Once you have the calibration under control, set your racks in the middle thirds. Remember, the top of any oven is hotter and even convection is cooler near the vent. If your oven on the bottom shelf, invest in a $25.00 pizza stone and place it on the bottom rack. Now use the next two for baking. Bottoms burning problem solved.
For hot and cold spots, just rotate. Most, not all, baked goods have decent structure established by about 2/3 through the baking time. At this point, you can gently rotate, change shelves, or both.
If your oven swing is too wide (the temp it cuts on and off) this can't be fixed and will ruin your baked goods. All ovens work on a system of on or off. They cut on at a certain temp amd off at a certain temp. Most ovens will work within about a 35 to 40 degree swing. For example, your oven is never really at 350. It will be on until, for example, 365, and cut off. The temp will then fall to 335 and cut back on. It's the average that you are looking for. But if your swing is 380 and then dips to 320, you will usually find an underbaked cake or a sinking middle. A spring loaded thermometer is preferred because it is slow to move and more readily shows the average, which is what you are after.
My suggestion would be to get a roll of cheap sugar cookies at the store, slice them and start playing with your rotations. You want the white cookies because you are looking for the slight differences in color. You will find your oven's quirks very easily and will know what to do to maximize your space.