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Breville smart oven tips/tricks?

one of the first wedding gifts we received was the Breville smart oven... as you can imagine, i'm crazy excited about it! i tried making eggs en cocotte last night... unfortunately about halfway through, i remembered reading in another smart-oven related chow.com thread that preheating doesn't mean it's the right temperature (much like my regular oven - you'd think i'd know by now). womp-womp. i went back and read DuffyH's helpful work-around in that thread, and i will be employing that in the future...

anyway, i know lots of CHers have smart ovens and love them. so in the interest of not messing up TOO many kitchen projects while i learn to work this thing, what are your best tips for using it and/or your favorite thing to make in it?

ETA: tips for convection cooking totally welcome too. i'm not at all used to that.

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  1. No tips and tricks yet! Mine just arrived yesterday. I finally indulged during tax free weekend. I plan on following this thread so thanks for posting.

    1. Small ovens like this heat up quickly, much faster than the big one. After about 4 minutes set to 425 the heating elements on mine start cycling on and off.

      There are 2 reasons to worry about preheating:
      - some items (but not all) do need that initial blast of heat
      - preheating makes timing easier

      But with a small oven, the top elements provide a lot of radiant heat, right from the start. And with a large glass window it's easy to judge doneness by sight. So I don't worry as much about preheating.

      1. Had one for two years and we use it more than any other appliance. It's great. Big enough to cook a dish for four. Heats fast and accurate.

        Major tip...it cooks quicker than your oven because it delivers the temp you dial in with less "swing". Convection is even quicker. So take a look at dishes before their allotted time has come.

        You can get a second rack from breville to increase cookie or canape capacity.

        6 Replies
        1. re: sal_acid

          oh wow - had no idea you could get a second rack. how does that affect cooking? aren't cookies supposed to be done only in the middle setting?

          how much faster would you look at something when cooking with convection? i.e., if it says cook for 30 min, would you look at 20? or 25?

          1. re: poochiechow

            I have the large smart oven,but no second rack,and use it mostly for convenience and smaller cooking- also i'm disabled which makes the large oven difficult to "navigate".In my "limited" use of the oven,I have seen very little time or temp difference when using or not using the convection feature-perhaps others may note more of a difference.

            1. re: poochiechow

              Re cooking speed: Even without convection it is quicker than my standard oven by about 10% or so. Convection is quicker by maybe 20%.

              The extra rack can be gotten at the Breville website for about $10. I've not found issues with two rack cooking baking.

            2. re: sal_acid

              I've found that when I make brownies or bar cookies in the large Breville, I must lower the temp by 10 degrees off the recipe's instructions. And check the food 10 minutes sooner. Once I got that figured out.. perfect!

              It does a great job with pizza-it gets good and hot, and with convection, it's done in a flash.

              We use ours several times a day. I'd recommend searching for the many threads on CH about the Smart Oven. We need to start a BSO Owner's Club!

              1. re: kitchengardengal

                i can't wait to try pizza in there! do you use the included pizza pan or did you get the pizza stone?

                1. re: poochiechow

                  Hi poochiechow,

                  Any 13" or smaller stone will work, but at $30, the Breville stone is a fair value. I have a 13" round stone that we bought in the grilling section at Home Depot a few years ago. It was about half the price of the Breville stone. It was a lucky find, we were there for some replacement parts for the Dude's grill and just happened to spot it.

                  I've never used the pizza pan.

            3. a follow up question: what bakeware/cookware do you like to use with it? the included pans (i have the full size one and it came with a baking pan, a broiling pan, and a pizza pan, so that's what i'm talking about) or your own cookware?

              i'm especially curious about roasting a chicken... i've heard so many people say they've done it with great success, but i can't imagine what they're doing it on, since chicken should be elevated. is there an adorably tiny roasting pan that exists that i don't know about?!

              3 Replies
              1. re: poochiechow

                My favorite pan for biscuits is a carbon steel griddle (Mexican comal) (about a 10" diameter).

                A 10" nonstick skillet with removeable handle does great for baking, especially if I am worrying about sticking.

                A shallow 10" dutch oven works, with the rack in the lowest setting if I'm worried about top burning.

                I've experimented with anything that fits.

                1. re: poochiechow

                  I use Pyrex casseroles in mine, the pans that came with it, an 8" Calphalon baking pan, pie pans, etc.
                  For chicken, you can just use the broiler pan.

                  1. re: poochiechow

                    I also just use the broiler pan without the insert for roasting chicken, but I usually buy locally-raised organic chickens which are fairly small, about 3-4 pounds, so they fit well. I'd say the Breville roasts the bird just as nicely as my big Viking oven and is great when I don't want to heat up the kitchen.

                    Sometimes I use my small (8") Lodge cast iron skilled as a roasting pan. It just barely fits in the Breville. And the 8 1/2" cast iron dutch oven pictured also fits well and roasts evenly.

                     
                  2. what's the difference between the roast and broil setting from a practical standpoint (i know what the oven does differently)?

                    i tried to roast some brussel sprouts in it last night. the guidebook said broil was for vegetables, so i put them in at 500 - but the edges burned before they really roasted. should i have: 1) done this at 400 instead? 2) broiled but in the middle rack position rather than the top? 3) used the roast function at, say 425 like i would have done in the regular oven?

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: poochiechow

                      I would have used Roast, so it had bottom heat, too. Probably on the middle rack.

                      1. re: kitchengardengal

                        i think that's probably right. i will try that next time. i would never broil veggies in the big oven, so i don't know why i thought it would work in the Breville. that's what i get for reading the manual :)

                      2. re: poochiechow

                        I only use Broil for finishing things, especially on the top rack. It is way too close to the heat for any other use.

                        I'm still trying to figure out the difference between Bake and Roast, when it comes to the heating elements. My gut tells me Roast should use more of the top element, but so far I haven't seen a lot of evidence that there's a practical difference. To be fair, I don't do a lot of roasting in it.

                        1. re: DuffyH

                          yeah, i can see that - they were blackening almost immediately. actually, i can't imagine what you'd use the broil for except maybe melting cheese - it gets SO hot!

                          1. re: poochiechow

                            Hi poochiechow,

                            Your problem has been bothering me (I have no life, and hate unanswered questions), so checked the manual. You might be OK using Broil with the temp to 300º. Breville also recommends that taller foods, like burgers (seriously, check the manual), be placed on the middle rack. In that case I'd increase the temp. to 400º.

                            What Broil does for you that you that bake and roast don't is use all 3 top heating elements. Bake (and presumably roast) doesn't use the center top element.

                            Duffy

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              thanks DuffyH! very much appreciated. i think next time i might try roasting, but then finishing with broil, because for brussel sprouts, i like the leaves crispy.

                              i also just realized yesterday i baked cookies this weekend with "bake" instead of "cookies". is it just me or does this thing have too many presets?!

                        2. re: poochiechow

                          I have a Fridgidair, not a Breville. But I think the basic construction and functions are similar.

                          Modes can differ in which elements are used - top, bottom, or both. Broil is just top; it's less obvious whether any are just bottom. Most others are both.

                          I don't see evidence of more or less heat with either set. Temperature, as far as I can tell, is just controlled by thermostat and cycling on and off.

                          The other big variable is timing, and temperature options. Bake has the whole range of temperatures. Broil just a few. Broil also has a shorter time option.

                          Some options are just gimmicks.

                          Experimenting and observation can be a lot more informative than the user manual.

                          1. re: paulj

                            agreed on experimenting. common sense helps out too!