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When it comes to baking in gas ovens, things can get a little tricky! For the most part, it’s easy to learn how to bake in a gas oven, but it may take a bit of time to learn and a few failures in order to get everything just right. This is especially the case if you are used to using an electric oven, steam oven, or fan-assisted convection oven.
The main thing to remember is that your grandparents and possibly parents most likely used a gas oven for most of their lives, my granny had an aga and a free-standing gas oven, and it has been part of our kitchens for well over a century!
Practice makes perfect over time – you’ll need to learn how to adjust your cooking time, the oven temperature, choosing between the top and bottom shelves, and to keep a close eye on your food, at least at first! Also, I always admired how my gran could make anything without weighing anything…and it was always perfect!
In this article, you will learn some top tips for baking in a gas oven, what you can bake in it, how to use it, and why a gas oven is actually great for baking and cooking loads of different kinds of food! Ready to brown off bread or batch up some brownies? It’s baking time – and your gas stove is here to help.
5 Top Tips for Baking in a Gas Oven
Baking in a gas oven for the first time can be a little daunting. As you know, a lot of baking requires precise recipes and instructions on how to use the oven to get the best results. As gas ovens tend to be a little more finicky than their more modern counterparts. These tips for baking in a gas oven will have you well on your way!
Thankfully, it really isn’t that difficult once you get the hang of it! With that in mind, here are a few top tips for baking in a gas oven to give you a head start:
1. Learn About Gas Oven Hot Spots and Rotate Your Trays
As previously mentioned, the best way to get to know your gas oven and to cook all of your foodstuffs evenly is first to locate its hotspots. Although it can seem like a bit of pain, it really doesn’t take long to find them, and knowing where they are will help you turn out the best bakes.
All you will have to do is remember to rotate your trays. Rotating them at the right time will ensure that whatever is on your baking tray or in your dish will be evenly cooked and evenly crisp!
You will usually have to rotate them about 90 degrees midway through the cooking time to ensure that baking is completely even.
If you are cooking on multiple shelves or racks, then you will need to switch said racks and shelves out, too. That means putting the bottom shelf on top, and vice versa. As the heat does not radiate evenly around a gas oven, the higher shelf will likely cook food quicker than the bottom shelf. Therefore, rotating the selves is just as important as turning the dishes!
2. Learn How To Use The Top Rack in Your Gas Oven
As above, the top shelf of a gas oven usually heats things faster than the lower rack. Now, this may seem like a bit of a nightmare, especially if you are cooking a large amount of food that needs to come out at the same time; however, there is a way to use it to your advantage. In fact, you may come to love the top rack of your gas oven!
Everyone loves a soft interior when it comes to baking things like bread and cookies, but nothing beats having a crunchy and crisp exterior. That’s where your top shelf comes in.
When you are sure that your food is thoroughly cooked through, then you can put it for a on the top shelf for a few minutes just to let it brown off as much as you need. Now, remember that the top does heat up fast and strong, so keep an eye on the food as you do this to avoid it getting burnt!
Aside from baking, this is also a great trick for cooking other foods like casseroles and meats (such as pork and pork crackling), etc.
3. Control Your Gas Oven Temperature
Yes, the top rack does heat up more than anywhere else in the oven; however, some extra manipulation is needed for that browning action. As the air in the gas oven is quite moist, it can take a while for your food to become crispy and brown. You will not want to have to wait for too long for it to do it, as you could easily end up overcooking the food.
So, now would be the time to turn the temperature up on the food. Thankfully, a gas oven will not take long to adapt entirely to the new temperature set, which means that you do not have to take the food out as you wait for the higher heat. Even making it hotter by five degrees C should be enough just to help your food be that little bit crispier. Again, as the oven and the food will heat up quickly, remember to stand by the oven and make sure that it doesn’t burn!
4. Take Advantage of Your Baking Stone
If you already have a pizza stone or baking stone, then you are about to start using it a lot more; if you don’t have one yet, then definitely go out and buy one! You can find relatively cheap pizza stones online, and if you have a gas oven, then they are totally worth it.
As you can imagine, pizza and baking stones are great for making excellent homemade or store-bought pizzas, but did you know that they are also great overall baking tools for gas ovens?
Pizza stones absorb heat very well and are also incredibly adept at radiating that same heat outwards evenly. Therefore, it can help to make the heat in your gas oven radiate around it in a nice, steady, and even way.
All you need to do is place the stone on the very bottom of the oven, or even on the lowest rack should help. Place the food that you plan on cooking, directly above the pizza stone, on the higher shelf. Being directly above it will help the food to receive steady heat and will encourage the heat to circulate around the food more evenly.
For the best results, it is better to have a large, rectangular pizza stone so that it covers more of the tray, and therefore more of the oven.
It is also not a great idea to place your baked goods directly onto the pizza stone, as they can stick to it and easily become burnt.
5. Avoid Using Baking Trays Made of Dark Metals in Your Gas Oven
You will undoubtedly have heard that dark colours absorb more heat than lighter colours. Believe it or not, this is just as relevant in cooking ware. As it happens, baking in dark coloured dishes and trays will make the food inside bake far quicker. Placing them in a metal dish will help with that, too, as the thin metal will heat up faster than pot or glass, for example, and will retain the heat for longer.
Now, in some cases, it’s great to have something that burns quicker, hotter, and for longer; however, when it comes to baked goods, this is not ideal. In fact, the dark metal is more likely to burn the bottom of the food while leaving the middle and the top undercooked. As you can imagine, no one wants burnt, runny cookies.
Therefore, the best thing to do is to use light coloured or clear pots and dishes in your gas oven. They are far more likely to handle the heat in a slower and more tempered way.
If, however, you only have metal and/or dark dishes and trays, then consider placing the tray on the lower shelf of the oven. As this part should be less hot than the top, it will help to avoid your buns and biscuits burning.
It’s also a good idea to use a lower temperature if you are using dark metal trays. Even if the temperature is only slightly lower, it should cook at the same rate as it usually would, but without the uneven, burning possibilities.
What can I bake in a gas oven?
You will be happy to know that you will be able to bake all kinds of baked goods in your new oven! In fact, there are certain things that will taste even better in this type of unit.
Be it bread, cookies, crisp golden pastry, cakes, etc., they all do exceptionally well in gas ovens.
For example, thanks to the moisture in the air of a gas oven, your bread will emerge with a nice crust on the outside and soft and moist on the inside.
The cookies will come out nice and brown, with soft interiors, and traditional cakes will do just as well.
The critical thing to remember when it comes to baking in a gas oven is that you will need to locate your oven’s hotspots in order for your food to come out evenly and thoroughly cooked through (without being burned on one side) as quickly as possible.
Of course, if you do not have a thermometer, then a good way of checking foods is by sacrificing a batch of cookies (or at least half of it) to the oven. You will notice where on the trays the cookies have come out more burned and harder in composition. This will naturally mean that those spots are where the heat is higher than anywhere else in the oven.
Is Baking Bread, Cookies etc Difficult In a Gas Oven?
Absolutely not – it’s a fine art to brown foods rather than burn them, but you don’t need a thermometer to get good at it.
The only thing that could genuinely be difficult to bake in your oven is a soufflé. As you may need to open the oven to rotate the dessert, in order for it to cook evenly and thoroughly, the chances of the soufflé rising are reduced. Of course, it is not impossible!
Soufflés have been made for a very long time, without being able to rely on electricity to help with the cooking! So you may just need to take the time to learn how to perfect the recipe and the cooking technique in order to get it just right. Of course, it is essential to remember that even professional chefs have difficulty with this kind of dish, so do not be disheartened by your oven if it does not seem to cook it right the first time around.
It is also important to remember to adjust your current recipes to your new oven. You may need to slightly modify the cooking time, the recipe, the temperature of the oven, etc. But really, who doesn’t love making loads of batches of cookies to test out an oven? It may take a while, but it could be a fun way to spend the day!
What Temperature Do You Bake a Cake in a Gas Oven?
As is the case with any oven, the temperature at which you should bake any cake depends on the specific cake recipe.
Generally speaking, however, most cakes are cooked between 170° and 180° C.
As you may know, the temperature at which certain things are cooked and baked will vary between the different types of ovens. As their heating mechanisms are different, so too are their effects on the food within.
For example, an electric oven tends to cook food faster than a gas oven. This is due to the fact that electric ovens are generally better insulated and distribute the heat around the oven, far better than gas ovens do. Although gas ovens are very powerful, they lose heat relatively quickly and easily and are not the best at circulating the heat around the oven cavity!
That is why fan assisted ovens are even better! Thanks to the fan, the heat is circulated evenly around the oven, making the food heat faster and more efficiently.
These factors have to be taken into account when it comes to deciding on the temperatures of the oven for the food inside. You will not simply be able to choose the temperature based on your existing recipe or based on the general temperatures that are used for cakes in gas ovens.
Thankfully, there are so many cookbooks and online recipes that are easy to access and often free that now detail the temperatures required for specific recipes in specific ovens.
However, if you are working from a family recipe that has not yet been tried or written down in gas oven temperatures, then you will have to rely on your gut instinct, and possibly a fair few tries and fails!
If you enjoy baking, then doing so in a gas oven might just make your life that little bit easier. In fact, some say baking with gas – compared to baking with electric ovens – is an absolute joy!
Learning how to use your gas oven properly simply requires getting to know the machine. It will take time and effort but is worth it, knowing that this is the tool that you will use to feed you and your loved ones for years, even decades to come.