Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kitchen Ovens

We have talked about counter top toaster/ovens and the broiler part of a regular oven in past blogs.  Today I want to touch on the biggest piece of equipment in most kitchens, the oven.  Most kitchens have a standard stove.  It will use gas or electricity for the heat source.  The standard stove has burners on top and an oven underneath.  There will be a broiler under the oven, if it is gas.  The broiler for an electric stove is in the oven.  A standard oven comes with 2 racks (adjustable) to be used in it.

For those kitchens that don't have a standard stove, you usually find counter top burners (gas or electric) and a built-in wall oven.  They operate the same as the ones in the standard stove and are typically electric.

Your typical oven will have a heat range of around 170 to 550 degrees (Fahrenheit).  I mention Fahrenheit because we have people from outside the United States reading this blog.

The great thing about this temperature range is what it allows you to do in an oven.  That low temp of around 170 lets you keep food warm as you finish up batch cooking.  The high temperatures let you put a nice crust on meats to help hold in the juices.  Most recipes for the oven will call for temperatures that run from 300 to 450 degrees.  The most typical temps used are 350, 375, 400 and 450.

I mentioned above the adjustable racks used in an oven.  The reason they are adjustable is that some recipes will call for where to place that dish in the oven.  There are recipes that want you to keep a dish in the lower half of the oven and others that want it in the upper half.  If a recipe doesn't state an oven location, it is best put in the middle.

Many of the ovens these days are of the self-cleaning type but not all.  So if you want to help keep your oven clean, it is sometimes a good idea to put a sheet pan on the rack under the dish in the oven.  This will catch juices of one kind or another from dripping on to the floor of the oven.  It can make a mess that is not much fun to clean up.  Of course there are times when you forget or don't have time to clean up a mess.  Then you use the oven again and wonder why there is smoke and smell in the kitchen that is not wanted.

I was a boy scout along with each of my 6 brothers and the motto "Be Prepared" just always makes sense.  Why create a mess if you can avoid it?

This is all I'm going to mention on ovens unless someone has a question or two.  If you do, just write a comment.  Tomorrow and Friday I will be talking about what you need to make and bake pizzas along with a recipe for easy homemade pizza dough.

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