Over the past couple of years, I’ve used my Omnia Stove Top Oven quite a bit. While I’ve never had bad results, I’ve definitely learned a number of things that pretty much ensure great results every time. You can buy the Omnia from Sea Dog Boating Solutions – click here.
Assuming that you’re like me and the whole concept of baking in a pan without a thermostat is totally new, here’s what I’ve learned:
- It’s important to preheat the base plate for about 3 minutes over high heat before putting the food pan on it.
- After putting the covered food pan on the base, leave the heat on high for about one minute to heat the air going over the top of the food.
- Poor results are usually the result of turning the heat down too far. We’re all afraid of burning food, but the heat has to be hot enough to bake the food. This is particularly true of food that should have a “crust” on the outside. The official Omnia instructions say to use “medium heat or lower” but I found that I generally had better results — particularly for baked goods — with the heat set slightly above medium.
- Grease the pan before using it. I found that results were better if I wiped the pan with a bit of oil, butter or margarine than when I used an non-stock spray.
- For foods that will rise — breads, cakes and so on — don’t fill the pan more than half full. Even after it rises, there must be plenty of air space over the food for it to bake properly. Generally, a batch sized for an 8″ x 8″ pan is perfect.
- For foods that won’t rise, such as casseroles or vegetables, you can fill the pan to within 1″ of the top — but no higher. Again, there needs to be plenty of airspace over the top.
- Knives and metal spatulas will scratch the Omnia. If possible, cut and serve baked goods with a nylon or silicone spatula.
- If the temperature is correctly adjusted, the baking time should be just about the same as in a conventional oven.
- Breads and cakes will slightly brown as they bake, but not as much as in a conventional oven.
- Don’t try to bake without the lid — it is needed for having hot air over the top of the food, and the holes are necessary so that steam (the moisture driven out of the food as it’s baking) can escape.
- When the food is done, turn the burner off, remove the food pan from the base and remove the lid. If you leave the pan on the base or leave the lid on, the food will continue to cook and be overdone.
Baking in the Omnia isn’t that hard, but it does seem strange at first. Don’t give up if your results aren’t perfect the first time! It may take a time or two to get the hang of where to adjust the burner . . . and if you have problems, leave a note in the comments and I’ll help troubleshoot.