An oven is an appliance that cooks food by applying controlled heat inside an enclosed space. If we know how to use it, it helps us to prepare a fantastic roast of veal as an appetizing gratin vegetable. The grace of this cooking is that it preserves the internal juices of the food, making it tasty and nutritious. But like everything in the kitchen, it has its secrets.
It is essential to know well what we are talking about because today we have the traditional oven of a lifetime (with time and temperature selector and resistance above and below the cooking space), the convection oven (they incorporate a fan system that efficiently distributes the cooking heat) and mixed heat (they have a steam generator that helps compensate for the loss of moisture from the food)
According to some interviews and data collected from different chefs, I raise the following points about the most common mistakes to avoid when using the oven.
- 1 1.Don´t preheat the oven when necessary and do not control the temperature
- 2 2.Place the food at the height that does not correspond to them
- 3 3.Not knowing how to use the steam function in mixed ovens
- 4 4.Open the oven many times and put your face close when you open it
- 5 5.Don´t use the appropriate containers and do not remove them from the oven carefully
- 6 6.Cook baked fish for a long time with high temperature
- 7 7. Don´t use fleshy vegetables or respect their textures
- 8 8.Hurry with the chicken and do not take into account that it needs hydration
- 9 9.Use steak and do not give importance to the previous sealing of the meat
- 10 10. Attention with oven cleaning
1.Don´t preheat the oven when necessary and do not control the temperature
In general, it is advisable to preheat the oven 15 minutes before starting to cook. Not all dishes need it, but most do, an example of this is like when you are going to make a chicken and previously you need to heat the griddle, It is important to preheat the oven before starting to cook, place the food at the right height and control the times and temperature.
As the baking in the oven is by concentration (that the substance of the food does not expand, as when the soup is made and goes to the broth) in this way it is possible to lose fewer food juices and prevent it from becoming dry. If you need to cook at 180 degrees, turn on the oven and when it reaches that temperature, it will warn and then you can put the tray with the preparation, previously greased.
2.Place the food at the height that does not correspond to them
The heat in all ovens rises from the bottom up. Therefore, it should be taken into account that the highest part will be the one that will concentrate the most temperature and will be the ideal place for very fast cooking that needs sudden heat or gratins.
For example, to make a scalded with red pepper and roasted eggplant with skin and whole. Slower cooking, such as meat and lamb roasts, which need their time, should be placed at the bottom. If this is not done, they will be browned before they are well done inside. The central space is ideal for fish because it requires faster cooking than meat.
3.Not knowing how to use the steam function in mixed ovens
The traditional oven has been used for a lifetime, but now the most modern ones are convection (with an internal fan to homogenize the temperature throughout the space) and have a very useful steam function that you should know how to use.
They do not generate steam, they have a water vaporizer that, in contact with heat, becomes steam and allows you to take more care of the hydration and cooking of food. Now, it should never be used when you want the result to be crispy, it is also advised to combine it with the normal function.
4.Open the oven many times and put your face close when you open it
“The oven is like the fridge in summer”, it is not convenient for cooking to be continuously opening and closing the door because it loses temperature. You can open it, for example, if you make a round of veal and want to see how it is.
When an hour or so has passed, you open it and introduce a digital probe thermometer into the meat, which measures about 15 centimeters, which tells you the temperature reached, many chefs prefer this technique to the traditional one of pricking the meat continuously with a covered, to avoid losing internal juices. If we do not want to use a thermometer, many tables indicate how long the meat has to be in the oven according to its weight.
An important precaution is to avoid putting the face near or almost inside the oven as soon as it is opened because the internal temperature could burn us. “You have to wait a few seconds before removing the tray.
5.Don´t use the appropriate containers and do not remove them from the oven carefully
The oven containers may be glass, stainless steel or earthenware, preferably. With a flat bottom, depending on the dish to be made, they will be more or less deep, for example, if you want to gratin vegetables, a flat tray will be enough, but if you want to cook a chicken with a base of potatoes and onion you will need a container with more base for everything to fit, including juices resulting from cooking.
Handling can be dangerous, especially when removing containers or trays from the oven, and especially if they carry oil or juices, it must be done carefully so as not to burn yourself. With one hand you remove the tray and the other place it on the bottom to maintain horizontality.
It is very important to wear protective gloves if you use rags, which are completely dry because moisture immediately conducts heat to the hand. To avoid burns it is also advisable to have a part of the kitchen cleared to place the tray, and warn those around what you are doing.
6.Cook baked fish for a long time with high temperature
By its constitution, fish is cooked at a lower temperature than meat and its processing is faster. It is important that the temperature is mild so that it is not dry, and take into account the times because shortly after you spend it may be too much done, it is advised to do it shortly before setting the table to eat.
Although all the fish are suitable for the oven, the ideal ones are gilthead sea bass and sea bass because they are quite fatty. Monkfish and sole are much tastier grilled or fried.
If instead, you want to cook it in the oven with a base of potatoes, onions, and tomatoes, you should precook the vegetable by introducing it in the oven a little earlier. When it is almost done, in the same tray you can place the gilthead.
7. Don´t use fleshy vegetables or respect their textures
For the oven, the ideal vegetables are fleshy vegetables as opposed to leafy vegetables, which are better boiled. Even so, within this category one must distinguish between hard and soft to determine the cooking time. Onion, carrot, squash, tomato and eggplant need more time than others such as zucchini or leek.
You can have the hardest time in the oven and, in the same tray, add the others, the heat is more intense in the upper part of the oven, where we must prepare the fastest cooking.
8.Hurry with the chicken and do not take into account that it needs hydration
The chicken can be cooked in the oven in a bowl with a vegetable base so that they can add juice and not dry, or roast it whole with a spit or by placing it on a rail of the appliance. If you opt for this second option, you must choose a chicken with enough fat to make it tasty and place in the oven a container to collect the juices that will fall.
9.Use steak and do not give importance to the previous sealing of the meat
When you are going to roast beef or pork it is advisable to seal the piece on high heat in the pan with oil until it is a little golden brown. This way you will close it with a breastplate that prevents its juices from going outside, although it is not essential to do so. It is also important to bridle the meat so that it does not deform.
In the case of veal it is very important to know that it will be the less noble pieces that will best adapt to cooking in the oven. The entrecots and steaks need faster cooking like the iron, the second cuts, such as the shoulder and the round have much more collagen and work better roasts. Its cooking will be long, with a mild temperature, and it is advisable to accompany it with a bed of vegetables that helps hydration.
10. Attention with oven cleaning
Like any appliance, you should keep it in good condition and clean. Today many ovens have their cleaning functions such as pyrolysis. When activated, once all the rails and accessories are removed, the interior of the oven reaches up to 500 degrees of temperature and burns everything. You just have to remove the ashes with a damp cloth.
It is very efficient but also not very sustainable because it spends a lot of energy, another greener day-to-day cleaning program is aqualysis, for which you will need to deposit water at the base of the oven. You can also clean the oven as it has always been done, with water and some degreaser taking advantage of residual heat because it is easier to remove dirt.
If you need a versatile oven you may be interested in an Air Fryer/Toaster Oven. you will be surprised at the versatility of this oven, You can air fry, bake, broil and toast food in it. You could make two servings of frozen french fries in 10 minutes, no need to preheat, and they come out wonderfully crisp.