We use our ovens every week, and we think we have a good idea of how to use them, but do we? It’s a fantastic invention that has made cooking significantly faster and easier, but there are still simple mistakes that can be made.
1. Using Wax Paper Instead of Parchment Paper: They look and feel similar, but they are very different. One is made for high heat and the other will incinerate, making a giant mess or start a fire.
2. Leaving Food Droppings: A quick way to have a smokey room is by leaving food drippings on the bottom of the oven. Spills happen, but you want to clean it as soon as you can. If a piece of food falls from the tray to the bottom, grab an oven mitt and carefully remove the dropped piece. Avoid liquids from spilling over by placing a sheet underneath them. Pies, casseroles, and other dishes are prone to overflow. Always lay a baking sheet under the container that it’s baking in.
3. Using The Wrong Temperature/Setting: Before you put the dish in the oven, double check your recipe. You don’t want to overcook something on a low setting, nor do you want it to be extra high, causing the outside to burn. Low settings will make the liquids dry up and the drippings smoke after too long. Higher settings will char the outside and leave the interior uncooked and inedible. Neither are ideal. Review your recipe. If you aren’t sure how to prepare your dish, do a quick search to see expert advice on how to prepare certain meats, vegetables, and casseroles.
4. Adjusting the Temperature for the Bakeware: Different materials conduct heat differently, which means that your dish will cook slower or faster depending on the bakeware you use.
Glass is a great insulator of heat, but it’s not a good conductor. An insulator will absorb more heat rather than let the heat pass through it. That means that your glass bakeware is going to need more time or a higher heat to cook the same as metal containers.
Ceramics are also another insulator. It has it purposes like Dutch Ovens that slowly cook, which keeps the juices locked inside the meats. 375 degrees will act differently with ceramic vs 375 degrees of metal.
Metal containers are excellent conductors of heat. This is great because the food will cook faster, but it also has the potential to burn at the points of contact. Most baking sheets are made from aluminums and other alloys, making them ideal for baked goods. The color of the metal can also affect how much heat is absorbed. The darker the metal, the more heat it will hold.
If you aren’t sure, then the best course of action is to check. We have access to so many resources now with the internet. Avoid simple mistakes to prevent accidents and smokey smells. The best part will be eating all of the expertly prepared meals that you’ll make.