Who has the time to spend the afternoon waiting for a chicken to roast, or even an hour for that carrot cake to bake? The gas bill alone is enough to put you off! These days, many families are turning to pre-prepared meals for their efficiency in getting food on the table. However, more and more families everyday are finding that thanks to modern innovation, you don’t have to sacrifice healthy eating and home cooking for efficiency in the kitchen. The halogen oven is one of these modern innovations that helps hardworking parents or busy university students get good food on the table, and fast. Here’s every thing you need to know about cooking in a money-saving halogen oven…
WHAT IS A HALOGEN OVEN?
A halogen oven is an electric kitchen device that uses a bright halogen light located in the lid to produce heat. The heat is then spread throughout the oven using a fan. A thermostat controls the interior temperature of the oven, so that the heat-producing light turns on and off when more or less heat is needed.
A halogen oven can cook food nearly three times faster than a regular oven so you save money on the usual cost of the gas or electricity you would use if you baked in a traditional oven. Plus,halogen ovens are much smaller, making them ideal for kitchens with limited space. In today’s blog post I’ve shared the essential things you need to know when baking in a halogen oven and I hope you’ll pick up some useful tips along the way. What’s more, with so many options on the market, you have plenty of choices when it comes to finding the best halogen ovens for your life and your needs.
HOW TO BAKE IN A HALOGEN OVEN
Baking in a halogen oven may seem like a daunting task, but after you’ve had a look at the steps, you’ll find that it’s actually pretty straight forward. Here’s how to make sure you bake to perfection in your halogen oven time after time:
COOKING TIMES AND TEMPERATURES
First you need to make sure that you are either using a halogen oven recipe or converting your cooking times and temperatures from your normal baking recipe. See these following recommendations for temperatures and cooking times for common baked goods when using a halogen oven:
- Muffins: 12 to 15 minutes at 350° F or 180° C
- Drop cookies: 8 to 20 minutes at 320° F or 160° C
- Rolled cookies: 10 to 12 minutes at 320° F or 160° C
- Brownies: 18 to 20 minutes at 300° F or 150° C
- Layer cakes: 10 to 12 minutes at 390° F or 200° C
- Carrot cake or banana bread: 30 to 35 minutes at 300° F or 180° C
- Bread loaves: 25 to 30 minutes at 320° F or 160° C
So you can already see that it’ll take much less time (and therefore less electricity!) to cook your favourite bakes. If you are using a non-halogen recipe, you’ll need to lower the cooking temperature to avoid your food burning. Follow these basic guidelines to get started:
- For all recipes besides cakes you will need to lower the temperature of uncovered dishes 70 to 100° F or 20 to 40° C in a halogen oven.
- For cake recipes, you will need to lower the temperature by 50° F or 10° C.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT BAKING DISH
As you may have noticed, a halogen oven is probably not the same size as your regular oven. Thus you will need to make sure you find a baking dish that fits inside of your oven. Also, just like with regular ovens, your baking dish should be ovenproof, so you can use materials like:
BEWARE OF FOIL
Aluminium foil was king when you were using a regular oven, but not so much now that you’ve upgraded to halogen. In your halogen oven, the fan inside of the oven is extremely strong, and loose foil will easily be blown off of your baking dish. If it blows off, it will float around freely inside of the machine and could damage the heating element. However, it should be noted that just like with your old oven, aluminium foil can help food from getting too brown too quickly, so if you need to use it, just make sure it is wrapped tightly around the dish.
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN
Many proud new owners of halogen ovens skip this step, but it may be the difference between a proudly fluffed soufflé or a sad collapsed attempt. It’s true that you will no longer have to wait 30 minutes for your oven to slowly reach the desired temperature and will therefore be shaving £s off your electric bill. In fact, many recipes won’t even mention preheating since halogen ovens take such a short time to reach high temperatures. But you should take three to five minutes to preheat your oven to ensure your dishes cook to perfection.
Before setting the temperature, make sure the lid is on and the safety handle is in a down position. When setting the temperature, turn the temperature dial clockwise until you reach the temperature you need. Your halogen oven has a power light that will turn green letting you know it’s on, but you should still wait a few minutes before introducing your dish.
PLACE THE DISH IN THE HALOGEN OVEN
Now that you’ve got the heat turned up and you’re ready to get cooking, place the baking dish onto the lower rack of your halogen oven. Make sure it is securely placed and then close the oven lid. Your halogen oven most likely has two racks:
- A bottom rack for baking, roasting, defrosting, steaming and reheating
- A top rack for grilling, browning and toasting
Make sure to leave a 1-cm gap between the bakeware and the sides, bottom and top of your oven, as this will provide more uniform heating.
During the baking process, and initially if you preheat your oven, you can remove the lid if you need to, and this will stop the heater and the fan. To begin cooking again, just place the lid back on and move the handle back to the down position. The light should turn green to let you know it has resumed baking.
SET THE TIME
Your halogen oven has a timer that you simply need to turn clockwise to the desired cooking time. Timers in halogen ovens usually go up to 60 minutes, since more time is rarely needed. What’s more, your oven will turn off automatically as soon as the timer goes off. This means no more burnt cupcakes!
REMOVE YOUR DISH
Your halogen oven may come with a special utensil that will help you safely lift your food out of the oven. Otherwise, you should use tongs so you don’t burn your hands. Remember your baking dish will be hot, so be careful with your fingers and be careful with surfaces that may not be heat resistant.
OTHER TIPS FOR SUCCESS WITH YOUR HALOGEN OVEN
- Keep the heating element safe: Your oven may feature a removable heating element which should be properly cared for so as to extend its life and save you money. Remember, the heating element is in the lid so your oven probably comes with a lid stand. You can either use this to store your lid, or use a sturdier grill tray rack.
- Clean the lid: A small price to pay for the efficiency of a halogen oven is that it is probably not self-cleaning. So that means that grease is likely to build-up around the edges of the lid and next to the heating element. To clean the lid, wipe it down with a wet cloth after each use.
Et voilà! You now have a perfectly baked dish and in a fraction of the time that your old oven would have required. And costing much less in electricity or gas than the previous oven too! What would you bake with a halogen oven? A recipe that usually takes hours perhaps? Nothing is off limits. Your halogen oven can cook all of your old comforting favourites as well as new dishes you want to impress your friends with. And for the busy parent, it will help you get hot, whole and healthy meals on the table without losing valuable time you could be spending working, with your family or trying a new DIY project to optimise your garden this summer.
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