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Counter Top Oven / Halogen Ovens - Convection Oven Recipes
GUIDE TO COUNTER TOP AND HALOGEN OVENS
I compiled this Guide to Halogen Ovens together to help you to decide if it's the cooking method that will best fit your needs.
A Halogen Oven is just like a normal oven in that you'd always put the food in a container, or a bowl, and you'd always use a shelf. Halogen ovens work by circulating the hot air past the food, so the hot air needs to be able to get underneath your food, which is why using a wire rack is essential. If you don't use a rack in your Halogen Oven then the underside of your food probably won't cook.
Halogen ovens are usually supplied with two wire racks. Use the low rack for your re baking and roasting and the higher rack for grilling food.
DISHES TO USE IN YOUR HALOGEN OVEN
You must use proper cooking dishes in a Halogen Oven - it isn't like a microwave, where you can use plastic. Plastic will melt in a Halogen Oven.
Pyrex and metal dishes are best to use, but if you're just heating up a ready-meal then ensure that the dish it is supplied with is suitable for an oven - obviously, the easy way to do this is to read the heating instructions on the packet. If the heating instructions say you must remove the contents from the package and put them in an oven-proof dish, then this instruction will also apply to your Halogen Oven.
The Convection Oven Bible
HALOGEN OVEN LIDS
The lid of the Halogen Oven contains all the electrical power and fixtures. It is very heavy and gets hot.
There are three types of Halogen Oven lid:
- A hinged lid that stays in place when you raise it
- A lid that slots into a groove on the unit, so you lift it off then rest it in the groove/
- A loose lid that needs to be put down on your worktop when you remove it..
Which type of lid works best for you will be personal choice and depends on the space you have available. Table top ovens with a hinged lid are the more practical for most people though.
A hinged lid that stays in place might be safest for the elderly or disabled, or those with limited space, but you do need to think about how much space you need around and above your Halogen oven. Halogen ovens are large and you need to ensure there is enough space above the oven for the lid to open fully. This type is therefore best used on a worktop that has no cupboards above it.
A Halogen oven that has a groove to hold the lid will also need good clearance above the oven.
The lids of most Halogen Ovens will simply lift off, you then need to find a place to put it down - remember it's still plugged in at the wall. The lid contains the heating element so is very hot. You can buy a lid holder, which would sit beside your Halogen Oven, so you need to have enough space to the side to be able to place this and still have enough room left to work. If your kitchen has granite worktops, you might be able to place the lid down without damaging it. Alternatively, you could try using a trivet or a standard wire cooling tray, or some other worktop protector. Just buying a table top oven with a hinged lid removes these problems.
Halogen Oven Guides
HALOGEN OVEN WEIGHT
Halogen Ovens can be quite heavy for many people. You should check any model you plan on buying to see h ow much it weighs, especially if you're buying it as a present for somebody else. For the weak, elderly and disabled, the weight can cause a problem.
Simply washing a heavy glass bowl can be tricky if you want to wash it more thoroughly than the self-cleaning cycle manages. People will often run their glass bowl through the dishwasher, but if it will be washed in the sink it can cause problems with weight and size in a smaller sink.
The lid contains all the electrical system of the Halogen Oven; throughout the cooking process the lid does need to be lifted off a few times and placed down carefully as it is hot. Some people will find this awkward.
Halogen Ovens weigh 9Kg/20 pounds or more.Check the weight of yours.
CLEANING A HALOGEN OVEN
Halogen ovens are promoted as being self-cleaning - and they are, but most owners don't rely just on the self-cleaning cycle, but will want to give it an extra rub or scrub, especially after cooking full roasts in it. A Halogen oven can get mucky and baked in over time.
for the glass bowl to cool down before you put water in it to clean it, if you pour cold water into a h ot glass dish, the glass dish will shatter.
About 2" of water should be enough to clean a Halogen oven, if you use more then you might find that it spills over while it's cleaning.
The glass bowl can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Many people will use the self-cleaning cycle most of the time and pop it into the dishwasher every now and again to give it an extra thorough cleaning.
Once a Halogen Oven has self-cleaned for 10 minutes, you might like to give it a good scrub down before you empty out the water.
The lid of your oven can be prone to being stained from splashes from your food as it cooks. Cleaning the lid is something you will need to give attention to, but how you clean it will depend on the actual model you have and how it fits together.
The lid of your Halogen Oven contains the electrical and working mechanism of the oven, it's the source of the heat, so just be careful when you clean this part. DO NOT immerse it in water as the top fo your Halogen Oven is an electrical item and you'll ruin it.
Most normal oven cleaning methods and products will get it clean, e.g. Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner. Try to wipe the lid down quite quickly with a damp cloth each time you use the oven so there's no build up.
Be sure, at least, to give the lid a good wipe over once you have finished using it, to avoid any burn marks building up.
With some Halogen ovens, you can unscrew the heating unit in the lid and remove the glass part to wash this bit in the dishwasher.
OPERATING YOUR HALOGEN OVEN
need space for a Halogen oven to stand, as well as space to be able to
either lift up the l id, or place the lid down to one side. As the oven is cooking food, it does need to be somewhere it can't be knocked over.
running, Halogen Ovens emit a bright light, this produces a lot of
glare. During the cooking process you'll
find the light will go on/off as it reaches temperature, this is normal.
The fan that moves the air around the Halogen Oven to cook the food can be noisy.
EXTRAS AND ACCESSORIES
When you buy your Halogen Oven, look carefully at what extras you get with it. There are extras and accessories packs you can buy that will make your Halogen Oven even more useful.
- Baking Trays: Get yourself a couple of round cake tins, these are the same shape as your oven, so will fit better and can be used as a pan. Also, get a small, round Pyrex type dish as they are very handy for cooking things in and are usually easy to lift out with the tongs that will come with your Halogen Oven.
- Temperature Probe: When cooking meat, some people have reported that the Halogen Oven didn't cook it right the way through and on their first attempt they had to chuck their chicken in the bin as it was bloody. A temperature probe, which you can purchase online or at a local cooking shop, might prove to be a worthwhile investment - simply poke the probe in to your meat and you can instantly see if it's cooked all the way through. Alternatively, you can just be aware that you need to double check your meat before you serve it up.
- Extension Ring: If you buy one an extension ring, it sits on top of the glass bowl, then the lid fits on top of the extension. This makes the sides higher, enabling you to cook more food, for example a large Xmas turkey.
- Steamer: This accessory will enable you to steam fish and vegetables.
- Frying Pan: Place the frying pan accessory on the high wire rack and with just a tiny amount of oil you can use your Halogen Oven like a frying pan. Some people have even had success cooking fried eggs.
- Toast Rack: If you want to use your Halogen Oven to make a lot of toast, then this will come in handy, although many people do report that toasting bread in a Halogen Oven doesn't make it brown, it just makes it crispy.
BENEFITS OF USING A HALOGEN OVEN
- Food cooks quicker than in a conventional oven.
- A Halogen Oven will use less electricity to run than a conventional oven, resulting in lower electricity bills. This saving comes from three features: there's less wasted space being heated up, there's no heating up time, food cooks quicker.
- Because your food is cooking in a glass bowl you can see what's going on and keep a closer eye on when your food is cooked.
- A Halogen Oven produces less smoke than a conventional oven
- Food retains more of its natural juices and taste.
- You can open up your Halogen Oven to move food around without losing heat.
- You don't have to bend down to get food out of the oven.
- A Halogen Oven doesn't give off heat like a conventional oven would do, making it ideal for cooking in the summer or cooking in confined spaces.
- Halogen Ovens are portable, so handy to take with you to provide an additional oven at large family gatherings or to take on a self-catering holiday so you don't have to fiddle with a new oven. They're great for students, especially if they're having to share a messy kitchen with other students. Motorhome owners find a Halogen Oven is ideal. If you're having your kitchen refitted then why not think about using a Halogen Oven while you have no kitchen.
- Halogen Ovens come in a few sizes, smaller units are perfect for cooking for one or two; it's quicker and easier to use a Halogen Oven than heating up (and waiting for) a whole big oven just to heat up one or two small items.
- A Halogen Oven is easier and quicker to clean than a conventional oven.
REPLACEMENT PARTS FOR A HALOGEN OVEN
A number of people report that they needed replacement halogen bulbs, heating elements or even the glass bowl for their Halogen Oven. A number of people manage to break theirs glass bowl either by dropping it, pouring cold water into it when it was hot, or reporting that the glass bowl had a crack.
Others have found that their Halogen Oven lid shattered. If you're buying a small Halogen Oven (3.5 Litre) then finding a replacement glass bowl might be a little harder to track down than trying to find one for the more popular/larger sizes.
Spare feet for a counter top oven are also something you probably didn't even think of - if you treat your oven roughly then, over time, one of the feet could become loose or broken, so you'll be looking for spare feet for your counter top oven after a couple of years if you don't treat it with a bit of respect.
Ebay is a great place to source spare parts for your Halogen Oven, or through an online oven parts supplier. Some Halogen Oven parts cannot be replaced as the cost of the replacement part doesn't make economic sense. and you might as well buy a new one.
Owners of Halogen Ovens do seem to be looking for new parts more often than owners of microwave ovens, but that could just be because a microwave has less parts the owner can break.
People seem to be divided on how good halogen ovens are. Half say they couldn't live without theirs, whereas others gave them just a few tires before packing them away in the cupboard.
Chef Gordon Ramsay Recommendation:
If you are a fan of Chef Gordon Ramsay and watched his TV programme Kitchen Nightmares for Levanti's Restaurant in Beaver, Colorado, he completely replaced their kitchen.
During his overview of the equipment he'd had installed he showed a Blodgett Convection Oven - and introduced the Blodgett range of ovens as the "Rolls Royce of Ovens" - and was clearly very impressed with these for commercial kitchens.
If you are having a kitchen makeover, it's worthwhile considering a full-sized convection oven as part of your refit!