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Baking multiple pies at once

Hi! I am making 31 pies this Thanksgiving (have strong-armed friends, family, and lovely coworkers to buy pies from me so that I have the great joy of making them and then can also donate the proceeds to a good cause). I have a normal--not amazing, not bad--oven in my home. I've baked two pies at a time before, but am hoping to do four (or even six) at a time to get these 31 pies baked off more quickly.

Does anyone have advice for this? Am I silly to worry that four pies at a time (on baking sheets) will make my oven work differently than normal? Should I add five or ten degrees to the baking temp, or be prepared to add a few minutes to the baking time?

Thank you!!!

asked by Alexandra 25 days ago

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7 answers 1092 views
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Lindsay-Jean Hard

Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.

added 25 days ago

Hi Alexandra, I would make sure to rotate their positions midway through cooking. I'm also going to check to see if one of our pie wizards has additional wisdom to impart, stay tuned!

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added 25 days ago

Thank you! I will absolutely stay tuned!

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added 25 days ago

Yes, you can definitely do this, Alexandra.

In a standard 30" oven you can usually do 2 racks with 3 pies each. The pies are placed on a rack somewhat like a pyramid with 2 pies in front and 1 pie in back on one shelf, and 1 pie in front and 2 pies in back on the other rack.

In a 36" oven you may be able to get four on a rack; 2 in front and 2 in back.

Before you attempt the bake, make sure the pans will actually fit on the rack. When the oven is off, place the pans on the rack to get an idea of how many will or won't, fit. Pans with extra wide rims can take up a lot of room and make it difficult to fit multiple pans. The pans will need some space between them so the heat can distribute.

Instead of a sheet pan, you may want to put an oven proof drip mat on a third rack, if you have one, at the bottom of the oven, or directly on the floor of the oven, but be sure to check your manufacturer's recommendations for both the oven and mat.

If you have an oven that has a reliable multi-rack convection setting, use it.

Keep an eye on the sides of the pies. If they are placed too close to, or are touching, the metal upright supports that hold the racks you may get burn on the sides.

You may also need to move the pies around, especailly if the oven has hot and cool spots.

You will not need to increase your oven temp, but since you will be baking a mass of pies, you may have to add a bit more time at the end of the bake to make sure they are done.

I hope these tips will help you.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Kate McDermott
artofthepie.com





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added 25 days ago

Kate! Thank you so very much. All of this is so valuable and makes me feel confident!

Regarding your suggestion of not using a sheet pan on each rack, under the pies--if I CAN fit my desired number of pies on the sheet pan, without the sides of the pies touching each other, would it be OK to use sheet pans? I'm nervous that if I don't, the top rack pies will drip onto the pies below (particularly with the batches of fruit pies).

However, if your suggestion of not using sheet pans is because using them will prevent heat from distributing evenly, I will absolutely not use them.

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Erin McDowell

Baking consultant at large at Food52, and author of The Fearless Baker (Fall 2017)

added 25 days ago

Echoing the call for lots of rotation - the downside of lots of rotation is escaped oven heat which can lead to problems in multiple ways. I’d suggest starting with 4 pies at a time (I’ve done this successfully in my home oven - also nothing special!) and see if you have any issues - if not maybe you can stretch it to 6 from there on out!

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added 25 days ago

Alexandra- The heat distribution issue is why I would do them without the sheet pans.

There are drip catchers (that have a little hollow spot in the center) that can help with that, but because they are so large, it makes getting multiples (more than 2) on the rack challenging. You can to a search for them online so you can see.

But you might make a homemade version by using a piece of lightweight foil around the bottom of each pie and coming up on the sides. You may have to splice to pieces together depending on the size of your pan. I took a little photo to give you the idea. You could also bring them up slightly over the edges to make sure they don't get too brown and pull them back if more color is needed. In my experience, foodservice heavyweight foil does not allow the bottom of the pie to bake up well when making this moat.

I absolutely agree with Erin that opening the oven to move the pies around will affect the baking heat. Plan your moves and then do them calmly and quickly.

Kate McDermott
artofthepie.com

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added 17 days ago

Hi Kate and Erin!

Thank you so much for your wise words last week. I wanted to report in that, though it was a long night (with as you predicted/suggested, LOTS of rotating), the pies all got made!

I learned a lot from both of you and this process! Thank you again and I hope you both had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Best,
Alexandra

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