Your oven can either start a fire in your food-loving soul or one that requires an extinguisher depending on how you use it. Try these tips for getting the tastiest results without burning down the house!
Know your oven varieties
Do you have a gas oven? Electric oven? Convection oven? Toaster oven? Microwave oven? Ok, those last two are kind of in categories of their own! Each oven type works differently, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with your specific oven type if you want to use it wisely.
For example, heat tends to fluctuate in gas ovens and electric ovens, which means it’s a good idea to rotate your trays while cooking to ensure the food cooks evenly. Convection ovens, on the other hand, have interior fans that ensure the temperature is consistent throughout the cooking chamber, and that means evenly baked food every time. Convection ovens are also more energy efficient for this reason.
Opening the oven door when you’re baking or roasting anything can cause the heat to escape and affect cooking time. Rely on your timer, use the oven light if you’re curious and only open the door during cooking when absolutely necessary.
Perfect your rack strategy
Which rack should you use in your oven? The top rack is for quick, high heat cooking, the middle rack is for moderate temperatures and the bottom rack is best for slow cooking. If you’re cooking more than one tray of the same thing and want everything to cook evenly, switch racks halfway through cooking for best results.
It’s all in the vessel
Did you know that you get different results if you bake something in a metal pan versus a glass dish? Glass and ceramic holds heat much better than metal! If you’re cooking something in a glass dish you can even turn the oven temperature lower than if you’re cooking the same thing in a metal vessel… unless you’re using the incomparable cast iron skillet of course!
Don’t forget about the vent!
Ovens usually have a vent near the back of the stovetop. Make sure it’s free and clear of blockages when the oven is on, and don’t be afraid to use your range hood fan to keep steam and smells at bay.
Broil like a pro
You should always be super careful when operating large appliances, but this is especially the case when you are using your oven’s broiling function. Broiling involves high heat at close range, so things can easily catch flame if you don’t keep a close watch. Here are a few guidelines:
- Turn on the broiler and let it heat up for about 5 minutes before putting the food in.
- Broiling only takes a few minutes, so keep an eye on your food because it can burn quickly.
- Leave your oven door partially open so it doesn’t get too hot.
- Use your broiler for quick-cooking items like tender veggies and thin cuts of meat.
- OR use it to brown or add a nice crust to a dish (such as a casserole) after it has finished baking.
Roast like a pro
With a few techniques up your sleeve, you can become a master roaster! Here are a few rules to live by:
- Make sure everything on the pan is cut to the same size for even cooking.
- Don’t crowd the pan when roasting if you like it crispy! Leave enough space between veggies and meat on the tray so they can crisp up. If things are too crowded they will just turn out limp and soggy.
- Toss in oil with a high smoke point to prevent burning (olive oil has a low smoke point, but canola and grapeseed oil are higher and therefore better for roasting).
- Roast at 425 F for about 30-40 minutes for tender insides and crispy outsides!
A clean oven is a happy oven
If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning function (or even if it does), cleaning your oven is a necessary project that may take some time and elbow grease, but it’s for the best! No one likes setting off the fire alarm because random oven debris is burning to smithereens every time you turn it on. Here’s Martha Stewart’s guide to oven cleaning: How to Clean the Oven.
Did you know that all of Luvo’s products can be prepared in an oven? Feel free to share your best oven cleaning tips in the comments section.
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