21 Apr How to understand your gas oven
If you have recently invested in a gas range, or are even thinking of buying one, you might be wondering: how do I use this strange new beast? Not to worry, gas ranges aren’t the ceramic behemoths of yesteryear requiring long wooden matches to light and putting you at risk of singed eyebrows every time you want to make a pie. Today’s gas ranges are sleek, elegant, efficient, and ultra-easy to use – well, at least a Caloric gas range is. Yet if you’ve only ever used electric, you might still be wondering what the tips and tricks are now that you’re cooking with gas.
Read on to find out what you need to know about how your gas stove works, and how that will in turn affect the dishes you make.
How gas ovens work
While the range is pretty straightforward (turn the knob to adjust the level of the flame) gas ovens can seem a bit more mysterious. Gas ovens have a main burner that is covered with metal and vented on the sides so that heat can radiate upwards into the entire oven (the Caloric gas range also features a powerful 16,000 infrared broiler on the roof of the oven for crisp, moist grilling). Gas ovens heat up very quickly, but oven temperatures can fluctuate more than you may be used to with electric. While we have eliminated hot spots and most of the excess humidity that can build up in gas ovens – and added a convection cooking option for those who prefer it – your gas oven may still not work exactly the same as your old electric one.
Here’s how to bake in a gas oven to ensure the best possible results.
- Switch dark metal cookware for the regular kind. You may find the heat coming from a newer model gas range to be more intense than what you’re used to; since dark metal cookware absorbs and conducts heat better, you may find your loaves tend to crisp at the bottom before they are done throughout. Instead, try glass Corningware, light metal and silicone. Bonus: you can finally use those huge disposable roasting and baking pans that just didn’t brown up your baked goods properly before, and save on cleanup when cooking large meals.
- Adjust your cooking time. Because gas stoves can be so much more efficient, it’s a good idea to set your timer for 10 minutes before you would normally check for done-ness, to avoid over-browning foods. Alternatively, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees or so. You may also wish to adjust the racks so they aren’t so close to the main bottom element.
- Rotate your trays halfway through the baking time. While breads and muffins are pretty forgiving, cakes can be less so, and rotating makes sure heat is evenly distributed throughout for better results.
- Turn up the heat for crispier food. Gas releases some moisture during cooking, so unless you are using a convection option (or the broiler for an extremely crispy result) you might want to increase the temperature by 25 degrees or so to prevent oven humidity from taking too long to crisp your roast potatoes. Just be sure not to overcook.
- Put a baking sheet above your food. It can be tempting to turn on the broiler, but a few seconds too long and you can singe the food you are trying to turn a delicate golden brown. So if you’re multitasking, try putting a baking sheet above your baking dish. This will cause heat to bounce back down onto your food, browning it slowly rather than incinerating it while you’re not paying attention.
To sum it up…gas ranges are generally more powerful than electric, so some minor accommodations may be needed to ensure perfect results. Bon appetit!