(Meredith) – For many people, spending extra time at home this year meant learning new cooking techniques. But do you know what the difference is between braising, roasting, baking and broiling?
Melissa Knific, food director at Rachael Ray In Season magazine, shared some tips on how to utilize different cooking techniques to use your oven to its fullest potential.
Braising is prized for its ability to take even the toughest cuts of meat and make them super tender, Knific said. The technique involves cuts of meat or even vegetables and a little bit of liquid. You cook the food in a closed vessel, like a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottom pot, at a low temperature.
“Braising is all about being low and slow. You cook [food] at a lower temperature than you would probably normally use your oven for, and you are going to cook for a longer period,” Knific said. “But don’t worry, longer doesn’t mean more time on your part. Most of the time that you’re braising is hands-off, so that’s the beauty of braising.”
Roasting is best used for larger cuts of meat, like whole chickens or whole fish, or even vegetables. Roasting uses your oven at a high heat, generally at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
“The idea behind roasting is that you end up with these deeply-browned outer pieces, or in the case of chicken this really crispy skin, but the inside of whatever you’re roasting is super juicy,” Knific said.
One pro tip for roasting: if you’re roasting vegetables, make sure all the pieces are similar in size. If they aren’t, you could end up with uneven cooking.
Baking is one of the most elemental techniques that you can use our oven for. It uses gentle, indirect heat to cause food to become golden brown. Typically, sweet foods come to mind when talking about baking, but don’t forget you can bake savory dishes like a quiche or a pot pie.
One pro tip for baking: don’t open your oven door. Doing this will cause the temperature to drastically decrease, resulting in uneven baking. It will also add extra time onto your recipe.
“So, whenever you can, fight the urge [to open your oven door] and just pop the oven light on and take a peek that way,” Knific said.
Broiling is the speediest of all cooking methods. Broiling uses direct high heat and is perfect for thinner cuts of meat or smaller vegetables.
Broiling pro tip: keep an eye on your food as it’s cooking to ensure it doesn’t burn.
“In this case, it’s OK [to open your oven door] because it’s just important to make sure that whatever you’re broiling isn’t in there too long, because it can go from beautifully browned to burnt in no time,” Knific said.
For more cooking tips and recipes, head to rachaelraymag.com.
Rachael Ray In Season is owned by the parent company of this news organization, The Meredith Corporation.
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