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Why Can't I Boil Water in an Oven?
The ambient temperature in the oven is higher than the boiling point of water. The water goes right into vapor due to the very low vapor pressure surrounding the water. And, as you correctly note, Mike, there is no condensing taking place so no "plume".
The "boiling" you see in a stove top is the formation of steam, captured as bubbles below the waterline (usually at the inside surface of the pan at point of release- it often follows the flame pattern below the pot).
In the case of the oven, the conduction is about the same between pan and air above it, so there is no "boiling", is what I suspect. The steam release is as much on the surface as any place else, there are no captive bubbles created below the waterline so the process is not so violent.
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