You know what they say – if you can’t handle the heat, change your oven temperature…
Can you imagine the days when our ancestors had to cook everything over an open flame and coals? Today, we’ve got fancy dials, thermometers and state-of-the-art meat probes to monitor our cooking temperatures and help us make the perfect home-cooked meal.
But despite the technology at our fingertips, there are still some myths and misconceptions about the science behind the perfect temperature – do I really have to follow the recipe’s temperature instructions? Can I turn the oven up to bake my dish faster? Does it really matter if I open the oven door?
Oven heat is a science
Even a mere 20°C can make a huge impact on the success of your meal. If you’ve ever baked a cake in an oven that’s too hot, you’ll know how frustrating it is to watch the crust burn while the batter on the inside stays gooey.
If you’re cooking something more complex, then you need to follow your instructions to the letter (or number) if you don’t want to see another baking disaster.
Follow the recipe
Temperature instructions don’t just take the guesswork out of home cooking. They’ve been tried and tested to bring out the best flavours and textures in your dish. So if your cake recipe suggests 160°C, stick to it. Turning it down to 140° will give you sunken, dense cakes. And unfortunately, 180° won’t help cook it faster – it’ll just deliver rocks for tea.
Use a temperature probe
Having a thermometer on hand can help monitor your oven temperature, just in case things get out of hand or need to change at any point – especially in more sensitive recipes like a medium-rare lamb that needs an internal meat temperature of between 60-65°C, or a roast chicken recipe that calls for a core temperature of around 73°C. NEFF’s MultiPoint Meat Probe can even regulate the oven temperature itself, letting you get on with your sides and desserts.
Don’t open the oven door if you don’t have to
Every time you do, heat can escape and the temperature can drop but you don’t want to risk losing that golden, even bake just to have a peek at your dish. Tricky recipes like choux pastry will be a disaster if you open the oven before they’ve had a chance to rise properly – all the escaped heat and steam will leave your buns a little flat. With the NEFFLight oven feature you should never need to open the oven door. A special prism in the oven door distributes the light evenly on all levels so even the farthest corner of the oven is visable without opening the door, and you can rest assured that your food will cook evenly.
Try using a steam oven
It’s generally less important to monitor your temperature if you’re using a steam oven, as the cooking method usually retains moisture and cooks more gently and evenly. If you’ve got an oven fitted with NEFF’s Variosteam function, injecting some steam into the process can help prevent your recipes from drying out. While steam can be a far gentler method of cooking, it still won’t mean that you can crank up the temperature and cut your cooking time in half.