15 - Temperatures for Roasting

  
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📍 Introduction:

Temperature matters quite a bit for roasting & is the ultimate driver of how your food turns out. For most items, you don't need to fret over the difference between 350°F or 400°F, but understanding the way food and temperature interact will help you gain greater control over the outcome. The main difference is that higher temperatures (400-500) cook items faster, drier & browner.  Lower temperatures (300-400) cook more slowly, softly, and juicily. With a little knowledge, you can use temperature as your secret weapon in roasting food to delicious perfection. 

📝Notes, Tips & Tricks

  • Don't open the oven door! Within seconds, an open oven loses up to 50% of its heat. A stop-and-start roast will yield mediocre results. Items may be burned in some areas and soggy or undercooked in others. Also, it takes a few minutes for the oven to reheat after opening. Checking regularly means you’ll need to wait even longer for your dish to finish cooking.

  • To check items efficiently, turn on the light & take a peek! Better yet, get comfortable using your sense of smell & intuition to know when something is done. 

  • If you smell smoke, RUN (don't walk) to the oven. 

  • A digital thermometer (like this one) will ensure your item is cooked to perfection every time. This means juicy meat at the level of “doneness” you like, and chicken that is never dried out. To use a thermometer, remove the item from the oven, close the door, and probe into the deepest part. When the temperature hits the sweet spot (e.g., 140° for medium-rare steak) you’re done! 

  • Where you place food in the oven matters. The best spot is in the center where the air circulates best.  

  • When cooking multiple items, stagger the dishes to ensure the hot air can reach all items evenly. 

  • Convection ovens have a fan that circulates the air, making for faster & more efficient browning. To adjust for the greater efficiency, reduce temp by 25°

  • An alternative to using the convection setting is to rotate the trays and pans. Get in and out fast to avoid losing heat! 

🤓 Numbers Worth Memorizing:

  • Baking: ~325-375° 

  • Roasting: ~400-450°

  • Max temp for nonstick: 350°

  • Warming: 200°

  • Pre-heating: 10-15 min

  • Convection: lower temp by 25° & reduce cook time slightly

🎓 Further Study: