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Kitchen Ovens explained - 2

Kitchen Range Cookers - Continued:

• Grills available in a seperate oven.
• Lower plate warmer or storage drawer.
• Glass lid with Safety Cut-off.

• As well as stainless steel, many different colours as well as the classic white, cream and black, they can include bright red, regal blue, racing green and many other vivid colours including pink.

• Oven sizes can vary from to 25 litres to 84 litres, often with a combination of several sizes in one appliance.

Ranges vary between 900 to 1500mm, if you require two ′true′ full size single ovens side-by-side choose 1200mm. A 900mm double oven will give you one full size oven plus a very small oven, often difficult to find trays for and limited in use. When measuring the space for a freestanding cooker, ensure that there is a gap left around the cooker to prevent anything being damaged by the heat and to allow the appliance to be wheeled out.

Gas Ovens:

Most gas ovens are heated by a flame from a gas burner at the rear of the base, with the gas being ignited by an electric spark. The hot air circulates as it rises, but the top of the oven will always be hotter. Natural gas gives off moisture in cooking as the gas contains moisture in its raw form which is released when burnt. Recommended for all types of food.

Electric Ovens:

In a conventional electric oven, the thermostat controls the heat in the middle of the oven so it is always slightly hotter at this position. Conventional ovens take a while to reach cooking temperature so they need to be pre-heated. Fan-assisted ovens differ from standard conventional electric ovens, only in that a fan distributes the heat around the cooking compartment. Fan ovens circulate the heat around the oven creating a more even temperature, this ensures that food is cooked evenly and cooking times are reduced from the conventional (non-fan) type.

• Power to the oven elements is controlled by a switch, which then activates a temperature control knob which is mechanically turned up or down, or sometimes electronically, by a control panel and timer.

• The temperature is maintained at the selected level by means of a thermostat connected to the cooking compartment via a capillary sensor tube.

• When the grill function is selected, the grill elements at the top of the oven heat up. Normally the door must be left open during grilling to allow the excess heat to escape. The grill is normally controlled by a knob which can vary the temperature.

• On some models, lights on the control panel indicate when the oven has reached the selected temperature.

• A light inside the oven is on all the time the oven is working.

Multi-function Ovens:

Electric multifunction ovens give complete flexibility to cooking, using combinations of different heating elements and a fan to give various ways to heat the food. Most multifunction ovens combine a fan and conventional oven together with a grill plus various other modes as listed below. These ovens can have many cooking modes such as bottom heat only or top heat only and the functions can vary enormously from one oven to another. A rotisserie, or a probe may also be a feature, and even recipe and computerised settings.

Microwave Ovens:

A microwave, is a kitchen appliance that cooks or heats food by dielectric heating. This is accomplished by using microwave radiation to heat water and other polarized molecules within the food. This excitation is fairly uniform, leading to food being adequately heated throughout - except in thick objects. A microwave oven has in it a magnetron, which is a radio transmitter. Basically, microwave energy in the magnetron causes the water molecules in the food to move. That motion causes the water molecules to move more rapidly, which heats the food. Microwave energy can only penetrate about an inch into the food, and after that, heating is caused by conduction, i.e. the heated area heats adjacent areas, etc. It does not "cook food from the inside out", but works by exciting the water molecules.

Combi Ovens:

Sometimes listed under compact appliances. A combi-oven combines several cooking functions in one piece of equipment. Combi is a shortening of the description "combination". The combi oven can be either a combi-oven/microwave or a combi-oven/steam.

Combi-Microwave ovens:

The beauty of a combi model is that it can mimic all the benefits of a traditional oven - like grilling and browning - in a fraction of the time. They can be available with up to 52 different cooking programmes, and weight automatic cooking and defrosting. Microwaves only use about 1 kilowatt of energy per hour compared to 5 kilowatts in many conventional ovens. With a combi-microwave the microwave can be put into far more use for cooking than it would ever be used by itself as a single product.

Combi-Steam ovens:

The Benefits of Steam Cooking -

Electric ovens have now gone to a new level with using steam. The combination of steam and conventional hot air cooking produces browned, crispy food in an energy-efficient manner. Whether steaming, roasting or baking, perfect results are obtainable. The use of pressureless steam is one of the healthiest cooking methods and the best way to retain vitamins, minerals, consistency and colour of food. The natural taste is intensified - entirely without artificial additives.

Unfortunately for many, the steam oven is only found at the expensive end of the oven market.

Health benefits -

    • Preserves the vitamin and mineral content of food (vitamins dissolve in water),
    • No need to use cooking fat or oil,
    • Lower temperatures mean that less energy is used,
    • Gentle cooking process - no sealing of meat or boiling is required,

Quality of food -

    • Maintains form and texture of food,
    • Retains natural juices,
    • Preserves colour, flavour and aromas,
    • Food remains moist and does not dry out,

Ease of use and effectiveness -

    • No risk of over cooking or burning food,
    • Preparation of complete meals using multi-level cooking,
    • No intermingling of flavours,
    • Regenerates or refreshes previously cooked items,
    • Simple to use,
    • Lower temperatures so less energy is used,
    • Prevents build up of steam (as in hob top cooking for rice etc.)
    • Owners are more likely to use fresh ingredients for the extra benefits,

Oven Timers and programmers:

The 'minute minder' is the most basic and turns the oven off after a set amount of time. Most ovens now have a digital clock and some sort of timer. They sound an alarm when the set time is up. Advanced auto timers can be programmed to let you start and end times, by pre-programming the oven to start and finish cooking at pre-set times, so you can return home and dinner will be ready to serve.

Pull-out Oven Shelves:

Non-tip Oven Shelves:

Non-tip shelves offer you some extra protection when dealing with hot and heavy dishes. Instead of reaching into the oven, you can pull out the shelf itself.

Telescopic Oven Shelves:

Telescopic shelf supports let you slide heavy trays out without tipping. Telescopic shelf runners are a superior feature to standard shelves, as they enable the trays or shelves to be fully pulled out of the oven cavity without the risk of being unstable, and the possibility a heavy roast chicken falling on to the floor. Some manufacturers offer them as an accessory for approximately £50.


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