Oven Symbols and Functions
Most symbols and function details are more or less the same across ovens and cookers, regardless of manufacture. Obviously the functions vary across the make and model as not all ovens have the full range of functions and this is down, not only to the make you choose, but also the price you pay.
Before running through the symbols, it is well to say a few words on oven temperatures. Whether you are following a recipe, heating up food or cooking the Sunday roast you will need to know what temperature the food should be cooked at.
There is a temperature variance of 10-15%, and these variations can be different across all ovens. It is only through trial and error that you will understand how your particular oven or cooker works but you may have one or two under or over cooked meals in the meantime.
It is true to say that this is much more noticeable with lower priced appliances, the more you pay the less of a problem this is likely to be. Everyone purchases the best they can afford, but with a little more research, regardless of your budget, you may be able to avoid some of the worst products out there. Reviews are really helpful and can steer you away from wasting your money on a poorly performing oven.
Functions of the Oven
When your oven or cooker is new, you will need to spend a little time familiarising with the workings by reading the manufacturer’s handbook. Even when you’ve had your appliance for a while, you may need to go back to the handbook to check something when you want to try a new recipe for example, to get the best use out of your oven.
Grilling using Full Grill:
Be aware that not all grills glow red when they are hot. You are more likely to see this when the grill is infra red. You are not likely to see this red glow if your oven or cooker is manufactured outside of the UK. This is because it is far more common across Europe for people to use the grill element just to keep food warm, rather than as a cooking medium.
Half Grill or Economy Grilling:
In order to get the best out of this option, you will need to ensure that the food you need to cook is located directly under the area of the grill which is heated. This is so unsure that most people have given up using this function as a waste of time and effort. Bit of window dressing on the part of the manufacturers really, especially when they call it Economy Grilling. You will probably end up taking twice as long as if you had used the full grill. This is a personal preference and you may be lucky and this works will with your make and model.
This option is usually only available on the higher specification ovens and cookers, but is recognised to be a good way to grill quickly and efficiently.
When on full power, the fan is used to assist in even grilling. The fan produces a jet of hot air across the top of the food, ensuring that it grills very quickly. Best results are generally seen when the grill pan is located half way down the shelf locations. Not only does the food cook much quicker but it helps to lock in the moisture, whilst crisping the outside edges, as for bacon.
This symbol identifies the Quick Defrost Function on your oven, but not all appliances will include this function in its line up.Food is defrosted gently using the forced air of the fan. It will obviously be much quicker than leaving food out of the freezer, and is much better than using the defrost setting on a microwave, which uses heat to defrost food, and can partly cook it.
Cooking with a Fan Oven
Food is cooked in a fan oven by hot air being blown evenly around the oven cavity. Please bear in mind the previous comments about temperature differentiation which could affect cooking times.
Whilst getting used to your fan oven, it may be a good idea to slightly reduce the temperature/time at first to check whether the food is already cooked, or how much longer you should leave it to finish off the cooking.
It is as well to work this out before you attempt your first cake, so that you don’t end up with a sunken or burnt offering!
Different types of food can be cooked together in a fan oven without a cross transfer or smells, although the better the oven the better results.
You will have read in your handbook that wrapping shelves in silver foil is not recommended for fan ovens. This is because it stops the hot air circulating freely and can impact on the even cooking of your food.
If you have a double-oven, you may find that the larger oven will be fan assisted, and the smalerl oven will be a more conventional oven, and will also include the grill. Some of the more expensive models will have a grill in both top and bottom oven.
The benefit of a conventional oven is that it is more suitable for baking, as the heat is more static and allows a better finish for cakes and breads. It is fair to say that the better fan ovens are almost as good, and less likely to burn the cakes!
The conventional oven is also very useful to keep vegetables warm whilst your finish off the main meal, as long it is set to a low heat it is less likely to dry the food out.
Lower heat only
This function is generally only available on a multi-function oven.
It is a great function for cooking food where you want the base crisp but the top moist, as for pizzas for example. It is also brilliant for stews and casseroles which you want to cook gently and from the bottom only
Lower heat with fan
Again, this function will only be available on a multi-function oven.It performs the same basic function as Lower Heat without fan, but main benefit would be the food can be browned as well in a faster time.