When a recipe is written for oven cooking the recipe writer provides instructions for cooking that worked in their oven. However, some people have electric ovens, some have gas, some ovens are larger, and some are smaller, yet we all follow that same recipe expecting to achieve success. Then there is the added issue of oven modes, since the recipe doesn’t reference choosing a mode which one do you choose?
Why is a Gas Oven Different
The heat in a gas oven comes from a gas burner placed beneath the floor of the oven and strategically placed ports in the oven floor allow the heated air to move into the cavity for even heating. The temperature sensor located in the rear of the oven monitors the temperature to regulate the flow of gas so that the average oven temperature remains consistent.
Gas ovens also have a burner in the top of the oven for broiling. This element is also usually gas; however, there are gas ovens that have electric top heating elements. One major difference between a gas and electric oven is that the Broil element can only be operated independently not in conjunction with the bottom heating element.
In an electric oven when you choose the Bake or Roast mode both the top and bottom heating elements are engaged and cycle on and off to maintain a consistent temperature (heat from electric ovens is considered a drier more stable heat). In contrast, the heat generated by gas is a strong lively heat as the flow of gas basically creates heated moving air which has more moisture.
Benefits of Convection in a Gas Oven
The heated moving air in gas ovens creates a natural Convection and is one reason why gas ovens produce such great results when roasting and baking bread and pizza.
Success when baking more delicate items is possible but paying attention to temperature, timing, and rack positions is key for even results.
When the Convection fan is engaged in a gas oven the benefits are as follows:
Cooking on multiple racks with even cooking results.
More even and faster cooking of large roasts.
Not having to change the positions of trays for even heating.
Overall, better moisture retention
Is Oven Size Important?
Oven size and even shape can influence how a gas oven cooks. In my experience of cooking with a variety of brands, the larger capacity range ovens cook really well and evenly. However, with some of the European models with smaller ovens and a more elongated oven shape the cooking is much faster.
I have had many people cry about the results of these “fast” ovens but have been able to successfully demonstrate that first choosing the correct rack position, watching the timing, and sometimes even reducing the temperature slightly can make all the difference.
Cleaning a Gas Oven
The gas ovens from some premium appliance brands feature a self-cleaning mode but it is not a common feature of gas ovens. I have certainly done my fair share of getting on my knees and scrubbing an oven clean but there are some practices you can adopt to help keep the oven clean.
Minimizing cooking splatters is the best way to keep the oven from having too much grease buildup.
Placing meat on a rack in a shallow pan not only will cook the meat better it also prevents the heat of the pan from leeching moisture out of the food and splattering it around the oven.
Placement of food in the oven is important. The closer food is to the bottom heating element the more heat is directed at that food so pay attention to the rack position.
Oven liners should not be placed on the floor of the oven. Baking fruit pies and casseroles on a rimmed baking sheet is the best way to capture any overflow.
Be sure to check your oven User Guide before using harsh oven cleansers as they can damage the enamel coating in the oven.
Products such as Bar Keepers Friend and Bon Ami are the go-to cleaning products recommended by the appliance industry because they scour without scratching. Sprinkle the powder onto a damp cleaning cloth and scrunch it up to make a paste. Apply to the interior surface then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
The inside of the oven door can be hard to clean, start with some hot water and dish soap to remove grease, and if a scrub with Bar Keepers Friend doesn’t do the job, then I find an SOS pad does the trick. Just use a light touch so as not to scratch the glass.
Stay tuned for my next post which will explain How to Roast a Chicken in Convection.
In the meantime visit my Convection Recipe page for some great ideas on roasting and baking in Convection.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast