Selecting and buying your first range cooker is an exciting moment. Finally seeing your dream Everhot, Aga, Esse or Bertazzoni taking its pride of place in the heart of your home is quite the thrill. Whatever colour, make or model you’ve chosen, we can imagine just how beautiful your new range cooker is looking in the kitchen.
Even if you're not quite there yet, and you are still questioning, why should I buy a range cooker? Then this guide might help you to better understand some of the practicalities of owning one of these might machines. In fact we have an entire blog post dedicated to highlighting all of the benefits which you can read here.
Now, if you have made the investment, it's time to test it out and start reaping in the benefits of a range cooker in your home. With all of its different capabilities and features, it’s not uncommon to feel a little flustered when it comes to firing up your range cooker for the first time.
So, with years in the industry and proud owners of one ourselves, we’re sharing some of our best beginner’s advice for cooking on your range cooker. As well as a few recipes to get your started.
Get to know the compartments
Kicking off with a little homework! If you’re new to using range cookers then the best place to start is understanding each compartment and their best suited uses. This will vary slightly from model to model but the gist of it is that different ovens have different temperature settings. This will directly impact your cooking and might be something that takes a little while to fully catch onto but that’s okay!
The hottest oven is at the top of the range cooker as this is where most heat is retained. This oven will work under extreme heat and is ideal for browning/grilling food. Then, at the bottom you’ll find the lower heated ovens. For those confident in cooking with a range cooker, they’ll often recommend using all of the different ovens for what you are cooking. This way it is cooked to perfection at the ideal heat for each stage.
Shield your shelves
With all of that glorious heat radiating in the top oven, you’ll want to be super careful when using other ovens that they are not impacted by the intense heat. The last thing we want is any burnt or wasted food! Cold shelves are the best way to solve this. You can easily find ones to match the make and model of your range cooker. Using cold shelves protects food in the lower shelves from the heat intensity of the top shelf.
Keep the heat
One of the wonderful characteristics of your brand new range cooker, is its ability to constantly create and retain heat. So rule number one, you want to make sure that you are using your range cooker in the most efficient way possible to avoid losing heat and wasting energy. Here are a couple of tips to get you started:
- Match your cookware to your burner - ensure that your cookware such as pots and pans match as close as possible to the size of the burner. Should you use a small pot on a large burner you will waste a lot of energy.
- Regularly clean your range cooker - not only to keep a hygienic space for preparing food, but also because food residue, especially baked, can absorb the heat meaning that it will use more energy to reach and maintain a set temperature.
- Insulated hob covers - these help to retain the range cooker’s heat via the hot plates as this is where heat can easily be lost. You can find some really pretty cover designs. One of our favourites in stock at the moment is the Sam Wilson Headlong Hares Cover which fits Aga and Esse models.
- Using the oven over the hot plates - the hot plates themselves release a lot more heat over the ovens which retain the heat. So, when cooking choose wisely. You’ll find that a lot of range cooker owners do most of their cooking with the ovens.
Top tip: always make sure that even if you are not using the hot plates, that you close them. There are no buttons on a range cooker so it will continue to produce heat and open hot plates not in use will waste a lot of energy.
Check your temperature
Range cookers use radiant heat to operate. This means that the oven itself heats up, rather than a fan oven where the air is heated. This is one of the main reasons why food prepared in a range cooker is so delicious as it has not been dried out whilst cooking. So, you’ll most likely want to trial and error to find a temperature that suits your cooking style and of course, how your home is heated. Some models will come with a suggested temperature which is a good starting point.
Top tip: regularly check that the set temperature of the ovens hasn’t fluctuated without your doing so as if it has, this may indicate that there is a problem.
Conjure up some tasty recipes
To get the most out of your newly installed range cooker, you'll want to find some new recipes to try out at home. So dust off your old cookbooks and get creative in the kitchen.
Or, you can check out our blog series Cooking with Sophie. Here, she shares her latest cooking creations using the instore Lacanche range cooker or her home one. Previous dishes include baked veg and sausage pasta, savoury puff pastry tarts, butternut squash and sweet potato soup and more.
Don’t be hard on yourself!
Whilst you’re getting used to working your range cooker try not to get disheartened by a few burnt dishes. We’ve all been there! Just keep researching and keep on trying. You’ll have it nailed in no time.
Find out more about our range cooker service online here or pop into our Perth store on Princes Street to view our stock and ask any questions.
Quince & Cook x