When I started writing Baking Basics, I had no idea that it would be a popular page in my blog. Most of the beginners who read my baking basics find it so useful and when I hear those nice great reviews about the page, I am inspired to write more. If you are a regular reader, then you might know that I did a post on my old Morphy Richards OTG but with new models in the market, the post looks too out dated. So I decided to write a new post with my new Sunflame oven ( though it is one year old) Many like my videos so I also made a video explaining the interiors and functions of my OTG. If you love reading, read on, but if you like visual presentation, then view the video below. I have tried to cover all the functions you need to know for successful baking. If you are a beginner, don’t forget to take a look at my Baking Basics Page (click on the name to visit page)
Selecting An Oven:
My oven is Sunflame 66lt, but most of the ovens available in the market have the same type of knobs, so it would be easier for you to read this post what ever the brand you may have. Before selecting an oven, the brand or the capacity, figure out how much you will be baking. If you are baking for a small family and if you do it occasionally then go for a smaller oven. But if you want to bake regularly and have a slightly large family, you could go for 30 – 40 lt ovens. And if you are aiming to start you home bakery go for a larger one. Many ask me whether to buy an OTG or a MW Convection. My advice would always be to go for OTG. Convection ovens are too small and when it comes to bread baking, you need to do small loaves. So if you are really interested in baking and want to successfully proceed in the field, my advice would be to go for an OTG. You can always buy a solo MW for your cooking needs (that is what I have done)
Know The Inside Of The Oven:
The main difference between a MW convection and an OTG is the filament. The MW convection oven uses a fan to circulate hot air which bakes the dish, but in OTG, there are two filaments one on top and other on the bottom, which heats up and bakes the dish. Nowadays the OTGs also have the fan, which circulates hot air inside. By using the combination of filament and the fan, the heat inside the oven is even inside reducing the hot spots.
Every oven comes with three trays, one for baking cookies and for placing your tins for baking, one is a wire rack which can also be used for grilling kebabs on the flip side and one as a drip tray which stays at the bottom of the oven and helps you keep the oven clean by catching all those drips. You also get a rotisserie rod which can be used to grill a whole chicken. As I am not into that, I have left it out in the post. But your manual will help you in figuring it out.
Coming to the side panel, the first dial you see is the temperature knob. Check the temperature settings. In India it is mostly in degree Celsius, but some may be in Fahrenheit. Mine is in °C. The min temperature is 100°C and the maximum is 250°C. You can turn the dial to choose the setting as you need or as suggested in the given recipe.
Next is the function selector. You can use OTG for so many functions such as baking, grilling, toasting and rotisserie. So according to the dish you are going to cook, you need to select the proper function.
The first one is a square. When you select it, it just switches on the light inside and keeps the oven warm. You can use this to prove your bread dough if the climate is too cool.
The second one switches on both the filaments and he fan. This is what I normally use to bake all my cakes, cookies and bread.
The next one switches on only the top filament and the fan and this setting can be used to grill foods. Place the tray on the top rack and select this function and you can grill all your dishes.
The next on the dial switches on only the filaments and the fan is off. This setting can be used as a toaster and some recipes which doesn’t call for the fan function. It can also be used to bake cakes and cookies.
Next is the Rotisserie setting. It switches on the top filament and the rotisserie rod which revolves when fitted. This will be useful when you grill a whole chicken marinated in spices.
The final one switches on all the heating elements inside, i.e, both the filaments, the fan and the rotisserie rod. So when you are doing combination dishes, you can use this. I hardly use it.
The final dial is the timer knob. You can either set the timer or you cna choose to select stay on so that the oven stays on until you switch it off. The timer comes to 60 minutes, but if you are using your oven the whole day, it is better to set it at stay on.
So many of you ask me about preheating. So why should we preheat an oven? Let me explain. When you switch on an oven, the temperature inside is the room temperature. But every recipe suggests some temperature for that particular dish. The oven takes some time to reach the particular temperature. So when you switch on the oven, the inside temperature is not what the recipe suggests. So the oven takes some time to heat up to the required temperature. Some recipes ask you to bake in a cold oven, that is you just set the temperature, switch it on and place the dish inside. But if not mentioned, you need to set the temperature, switch on the oven and give it some time to get to the required temperature. I always heat my oven for 15 – 20 minutes before placing my dish inside. This 15-20 minutes is the preheating time and this is so important to bake any dish properly. I usually write it as preheat your oven to 180°C. So some of my readers ask me what would be the baking temperature? If there is no other temperature mentioned in the recipe, the baking temperature is also the same as the preheating temperature.
After seeing every function in an OTG, now we come to how to set an oven before baking. Read the recipe carefully. Check which rack the tray needs to be placed, check the temperature given, check the baking time and see there are any other details regarding baking. First set the temperature needed. Next set the function as per the recipe, whether it is baking, toasting or grilling. and Finally either set the timer to stay on or add the preheating time and the baking time and set the timer. Switch on the oven and wait for the preheating time to be over. Then open the oven, place your dish and close it immediately. Then wait for the baking time to be over. Before that do not open the oven for any reason. Once the time is over, switch off the oven, remove the dish from the oven and your baking is done.
Understanding Your Oven:
This is the most important point I can give you. Every oven is different. After knowing all the functions, it is easy for you to set an oven for baking. But the results may vary and here is the reason. The author of the recipe gives you the recipe having his/her oven in mind. But your oven may not be the same and it may work differently. So it is so important to understand how your oven works, how it heats up, whether there are any hot spots inside, whether the heat is even or uneven, whether the temperature is perfectly aligned with the setting or not, and so on. This takes time. It may even take months to understand the oven and only you can do it. At first it may be quite frustrating if any dish fails, but once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy.
I have tried my level best to explain the OTG and I am sure you will find it useful if you are a beginner. Do share it with your friends and comment on the post. I love to hear new ideas from readers.
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