Most of us think we’ve maximized our oven’s everyday uses with baking, broiling, and roasting. But are there oven tips and tricks that make cooking easier? When you have limited time to preheat, turn the broiler on first to heat up the oven faster. Take advantage of these oven cooking hacks to make the most of this versatile appliance and streamline your time in the kitchen.
Maximize Potential and Minimize Effort With These Oven Cooking Hacks
Like our favorite microwave hacks, the best oven cooking hacks save time and effort, making daily tasks easier. From faster preheating to reviving stale bread, here’s how to expand your oven’s repertoire and use it to its fullest potential.
1. Reduce Preheating Time With the Broiler
Anyone who broils regularly knows that the oven can get very hot, very quickly. So when you’re short on time and preheating is going to take too long, turn the broiler on for 3-5 minutes instead. This easiest of oven hacks heat up the oven enough so that preheating to your desired temperature takes half the time.
2. Proof Bread Dough
Oven baking tips for bread makers abound but did you know the oven benefits your loaves before even turning it on? It can provide the ideal environment for proofing, allowing the yeast to ferment and dough to rise before baking. Simply place your covered dough on the oven’s middle rack and a half-filled bread tin of boiling water on the lower rack. Close the door and let the resulting warmth and steam proof the dough to perfection.
3. Soften Stale Bread
Baking tips and tricks don’t have to end with a fresh loaf of bread. Your oven can be used again to revive the bread if it goes stale. Preheat the oven to 350℉ and quickly wet the loaf under running water before placing it in the oven for five minutes. The steam that results from the heat and wet crust will soften the bread to near-freshness.
4. Adjust Cooking Temperatures for Convection Cooking
One of the benefits of convection vs regular ovens is faster cooking times. However, this can lead to burnt cookies and overdone roasts when cooking with conventional recipe temperatures. Wondering how to operate an oven for baking and roasting on a convection setting? Lower the recipe’s recommended temperature by 20-25℉ to balance out the faster cooking time. You’ll still be able to follow the recipe’s timing guidelines without dry or overcooked results.
5. Caramelize Onions with Ease
The soft sweetness of caramelized onions enhances numerous recipes, but standing over the stove to achieve the perfect flavor and texture takes forever. Use one of our favorite oven cooking hacks to bring onions to caramelized perfection without fussing over the stovetop.
Here’s how to caramelize onions in the oven:
- Arrange 4 thickly-sliced onions on a sheet pan.
- Season with salt, pepper, olive oil and two tablespoons of brown sugar.
- Lightly toss the onions with the above flavorings, cover with foil and place in a 375℉ oven for 50 minutes. Toss the onions 2-3 times during cooking.
- If onions haven’t fully caramelized, uncover and broil for 3-5 minutes.
6. Clean with Steam
Part of knowing how to use an oven safely is keeping it clean, improving both its performance and appearance. To quickly clean your oven after cooking, place a bowl of hot water on the middle rack while the interior is still warm. Close the door for 30 minutes before opening it and removing the bowl. The steam from the hot water will loosen any grime so that it can be wiped away with ease.
Not even the best oven cooking hacks can save it from the occasional breakdown or malfunction. When you need an oven repair service, call Ortega’s Appliance Service for fast and professional care!