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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!

                        3. We just purchased ours and have been using it for a month. It's awesome. It's literally a fun kitchen tool, and very versatile. I can say that the only flaw with the machine is reheating soup, indian food, or items that are watery. Obviously oven-safe glass does the trick, but I do kind of miss the ease of my former microwave when I'm reheating these items. Otherwise, it's awesome. And fun - did I mention that?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: MagnoliaGardens

                            Hi MagnoliaGardens,

                            <I can say that the only flaw with the machine is reheating soup, indian food, or items that are watery.>

                            I'm not sure what you're saying here. Why is this a flaw? Wouldn't soup normally be reheated on the stovetop or microwave? You wouldn't reheat it in your main oven, would you? You could, in an appropriate pot or pan, such as a dutch oven or saucepan, but why would you want to? Unless the Breville is your only food cooker?

                            Toaster ovens aren't meant to replace microwaves, but rather to replace or replicate many of the functions of a full-size oven.

                            1. re: MagnoliaGardens

                              Interesting. I've never heard of reheating soup in the oven.

                              1. re: MagnoliaGardens

                                couldn't you just put the soup in an oven-safe container to reheat it? or are you saying it doesn't heat evenly or something? though i agree with DuffyH below, i think i'd stick to stovetop or microwave if you have those available. unfortunately no one kitchen machine does everything!

                              2. another question: the two pans i roasted the chicken pieces on (at 375 or so, nothing crazy) now have weird white spots. and it almost looks like the pan underneath (the baking pan, not the broiling pan) has a spot where the enamel is gone. is this typical? i was kind of disappointed that it happened at the first use!

                                i cleaned afterward with just soap and a dish brush, nothing crazy. i probably should have sprayed/oiled the top tray because the chicken did stick - but it came off, it's not like i had to scrape at it.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: poochiechow

                                  Hi poochiechow,

                                  Try a quick vinegar rinse on those white spots. Just a little vinegar smeared over them, perhaps letting it stand for ~1 minute, no longer. I've seen similar spots after cooking proteins on both my stainless and nonstick pans. I'll be interested to know if this is the same thing. If it is, vinegar should take it right out.

                                  Duffy

                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                    very interesting. i will try that when i get home tonight and report back!

                                    1. re: poochiechow

                                      DuffyH - just now got around to the vinegar rinse (things are a bit crazy around here these days). it fixed the problem in less than a minute. great tip - thanks so much! :)

                                      1. re: poochiechow

                                        Hi poochichow,

                                        Glad it worked for you. I keep a bottle of vinegar under my kitchen sink for pan use. It does the same trick on hard water stains, blue/brown rainbows on stainless steel and salt on the bottom of pasta/rice pots.I use it almost every day.

                                        Some cooks keep a vinegar/water solution in a spray bottle.

                                        Duffy

                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                          good to know! i always forget how incredibly versatile vinegar is. just today, i came across a baking soda/vinegar recipe for unclogging slow sink drains, which i plan to try soon. also love using things that aren't quite as harsh/bad on the environment. thanks again!

                                2. Smart Oven is by far the most used appliance in our house. It’s been almost 2 years since we got one. We are a household of 2 right now, and it is perfect for making small casseroles (just enough for us both with leftovers but not too much we are eating it for days and days on end). Most recently, have made pulled pork casserole, baked macaroni and cheese, tuna casserole.
                                  It fits two loaf pans as well so I make banana bread, carrot or zucchini bread pretty often. One thing I find is the top gets brown very quickly so I usually drape a piece of foil over the top for about ¾ of the cooking time. I also got a 6 cup muffin pan which I use in there (baked eggs like quiche, cut a muffin recipe in two). It is also perfect for a small pan of brownies or blondies!
                                  I use the oven on low (200) to keep food warm. This week I made a big batch of zucchini fritters and just left them in there to stay crispy. They were perfect when they came out.
                                  Also, we rewarm leftover pizza in the convection oven. There is no better way to do so either.
                                  Oh, I also find the broil setting too much for my smoke alarm. I don’t use it because no matter what, the fire alarm always gets set off!!
                                  Love the convection feature – but I usually adjust (downwards) by 25 degrees.
                                  You can probably tell by now, I love my smart oven!! It heats so fast and saves me so much time.

                                  1. in a moment of absolute desperation (me - stuck at home with 2 month old kiddo who wouldn't sleep anywhere but ON me and tired of re-heating leftovers in microwave for every dinner), i bought a BSO over two years ago and it's been awesome! it was a total "throw money at the problem and hope it goes away" kind of moment but we don't regret it at all. thankfully, my almost 3-year old is an amazing sleeper and is quite fond of the 'mini-oven' as we bake little things often and the BSO is way easier for him to use (with serious supervision) than the regular oven. i also love that the BSO doesn't heat up the kitchen like the regular oven does.

                                    i did not know about this second shelf ... i will look into it! thanks.

                                    the one thing i did buy was a 'cheappie' bamboo cutting board to put on top of the oven so i could store stuff without it melting. i think breville makes a BSO-specific board for this purpose but it costs way more $$.

                                    i bought four aluminum 1/4 sheet pans (or maybe they're 1/8?) and they all fit perfectly in the BSO.

                                    we make anything and everything in it ... the guy at the store said he literally stopped using his regular oven when he bought his own BSO. we still use our big oven but the BSO is honestly one of my favourite kitchen purchases.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: lilaki

                                      Is that what the cutting board is for, so stuff can be stored on top of the oven? I was wondering why Breville sold a cutting board as an accessory to a toaster oven.

                                    2. OK, Wahine & I finally pulled the trigger on getting the 800 with a 20% coupon at BBB.

                                      The manual is a stultifying read. But I get the basics. What I remain unclear about is the frozen food button. Which modes does it operate in, and (presuming it adds time) how much extra is added to each mode's default setting? Does anyone here use this feature?

                                      Overall, the design is good, but the control knobs feel like each turn might be their last.

                                      Aloha,
                                      Kaleo

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Hi K,

                                        I've never used the frozen food feature. When you figure it out, let me know?

                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                          Gee, thanks alot, Heloise. I thought you were the Doyenne de Breville. ;)

                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                            Silly man, shows what you know. ;-p

                                        2. re: kaleokahu

                                          you're better at it than i am already. i haven't found the frozen food button yet. ;) but i thought the knobs felt pretty sturdy... maybe it's just because i'm upgrading from total crap.

                                          have fun! i have used mine every single day since getting it, for basically every feature, and i'm completely enamored.