Get better British Bake Off bread

A massive slice of the UK population seems to be obsessed with the Great British Bake Off television series.

The show, which sees passionate amateur bakers competing to be the best at baking stuff, has inspired every viewing Tom, Dick and Mary to try their luck with a bread mix and a rolling pin.

But how about adding something special to the mix and using a halogen oven to bake your bread? Anything you can cook in a conventional oven you can cook in a halogen oven — and below are seven reasons why halogen means better British Bake Off bread.

Space saving and flexible

Halogen oven
A true kitchen space saver
Source: Clifford James

Halogen ovens are about the size of a large food blender, so much smaller than traditional ovens, which is great news if space is at a premium in your kitchen. So move it around to suit your (ahem) kneads.

It’s also easy to transport the halogen oven to a place where it’s more convenient for you to bake. You could even take it on holiday or on a camping trip if you have a power supply. Surely Mary Berry would be impressed!

Save your back

Baking
Image source: Stockyimages
Put a stop to baking related back pains

Apparently it’s a bit of an in-joke that contestants spend most of their time crouched over staring at oven doors. This isn’t doing their backs any good and a stiff back isn’t conducive to a productive session of baking.

Baking shouldn’t be a physical strain, so use a halogen oven instead. Being small and easily manoeuvrable, halogen ovens can be located in back-friendly locations like worktops and kitchen tables. Meaning your back should feel just as light and relaxed as the dough.

Rise

Dough Rising In A Bowl
Image source: Johan Larson
Get a rise out of your dough

Rise is such a good word in so many contexts and it is the holy grail of utterances when it comes to baking bread. The not-so secret method for helping your bread to rise is making sure the dough rises first.

You’ll need a warm and draught-free place to let your dough expand (as you don’t want your dough to dry out) and an excellent candidate is of course the halogen oven. Adjust the setting halfway between off and thaw (which is just enough to warm the bowl) and the dough mix should roughly double in size in around 30 minutes.

Viewable progress

halogen oven bread
Who could resist having a peek?
Source: Crafting Heaven

This is the fun bit, so grab a pew and turn on the HOT channel (Halogen Oven TV). As halogen ovens are made from glass, when it comes to baking your bread, you can actually watch as your lump of squidgy dough is magically transformed into a golden brown loaf of fluffy goodness.

There will be no more bending over to peer into darkened oven doors, or opening those same doors to receive a scorching blast of hot air in your face. All rise for the fabulously helpful halogen oven.

Quicker

Kitchen clock
Image source: Cura Photography
Speed up your baking time

Halogen ovens rely on halogen bulb heating elements to convert electrical energy into intense heat, which is then circulated by a high performance fan. This efficient and highly effective system results in halogen ovens generally being much quicker than traditional ovens — as much as three times faster in fact for particular dishes.

When it comes to baking a loaf of bread, you’ll only see a small increase in actual cooking times, but it will still be quicker as halogen ovens take hardly any time to preheat.

Save money

Piggy Bank
Image source: Gelpi
A wallet friendly way to bake bread

There’s lots of money to be saved by opting for a halogen oven. Not only are they up to eight times cheaper than their conventional rivals, halogen ovens are also far more efficient.

Due to their high performance, they will cook the food faster and so require less electricity. It all adds up, so eventually the trusty halogen will pay for itself in reduced fuel bills.

It’s cool

Space shuttle
Image source: K J Warden
A halogen oven wouldn’t look out of place in this

So it’s smaller, cheaper and quicker — it also looks like it belongs on a space exploration vessel, so using a halogen oven to create your loaves is a pretty cool way to do get busy with your bake off.

And if all that wasn’t enough to convince you, then here’s the best part of all: many halogen ovens have a wash setting, so when it’s time to clean the flour and crumbs from within, your trusty bake off friend will do it all for you.

Unconventional cooking

Chef
Image source: Kzenon
Are you an adventurous cook?

Now you can approach this from the Ray Mears survivalist angle, or it could be that you’re simply curious or adventurous — but how about trying some unconventional cooking?

Yes — cause a scene, raise an eyebrow or simply try something new for dinner. Let’s face it, one day you might be forced to get unconventional with your cooking anyway. Best get ahead of the game then …

Car bonnet omelette

fry eggs car
Meals on wheels
Source: UAE & Me

For this dish you’ll need one car bonnet — preferably very hot from a long drive, a pan and the usual eggs, oil and mushrooms. Simply place the ingredients in the pan and place on the bonnet.

Be careful not to take the paint off your bonnet and watch out for seagulls if you’re near the coast. Give it a while and hey presto — omelette de la voiture!

Wood burner spuds

Rooms with wood burners are usually so comfortable that they breed laziness. Laziness that results in walks to the kitchen seeming like a trek through the Himalayas — so good job you had a sack of spuds to hand.

Simply throw some big spuds into the wood burner and carry on with your lazy afternoon — give it an hour and you’ll have some wood smoked crispy-skinned jacket potatoes. Beat that Heston!

Halogen oven Sunday roast

Clifford James halogen oven
It’s roasting Jim, but not as we know it
Source: Clifford James

If Star Trek endorsed ovens … they would be something like halogen ovens. Converting electrical energy into intense heat, halogen ovens are not only small enough to sit on your table top, but about ten times cheaper when compared to conventional ovens.

Made of glass and resembling food mixers, they don’t mess about when it’s time for lunch. You’ll be able to cook a tasty roast dinner in about 30 minutes. And watch it too.

Laser grilled popcorn

Lasers are long, narrow concentrated beams of light that get so hot they could cut through steel — impressive. But can you cook with a laser? Of course you can!

The trick is to choose food items that are small, as the laser beam cannot cover a large area. Popcorn is the perfect candidate for laser cuisine and has already proved a success in past experiments. Although this isn’t one you should try at home just yet. Keep an eye on the future though as lasers could well be in the kitchen soon.

Skyscraper frazzled bacon and eggs

London’s skyline has a new 37-storey addition known infamously as the death ray or fryscraper. These names are due to its mirrored walls creating astonishingly hot solar flares that have been reported hot enough to burn the paint off parked cars and also the hair off some heads!

So it’s a good place to go if your cooker has retired. Simply place your breakfast in a pan making sure it’s under the heat of a reflected solar beam and you’ll be enjoying sun-kissed delights in no time. Just find somewhere safe to eat it!

Why my Dad has a halogen oven

Halogen technology has been around for some time, but now it looks set to take the cooking world by storm.

That’s because halogen ovens are effective, efficient and most importantly, cook super tasty meals fast. All good reasons why my dad swears by, rather than at his.

Clifford James halogen oven
Halogen oven
Source: Clifford James

Dad has never been much of a one for cooking, so when Mum had a hip replacement last year, we assumed we’d be responsible for feeding the invalid.

But as it turned out, Dad had done his homework. Instead of us making the thirty minute journey to their home, carrying pot roasts to keep my parents alive, my husband and I found ourselves invited to dinner.

Great for entertaining the family

“This,” said dad, patting the lid of a space age device on the kitchen counter, “will now cook our dinner in under forty minutes.”

Well fine, I thought – if it’s a vegetable stew – we might just escape unscathed. I was far more sceptical when my septuagenarian father opened the fridge and took out a raw chicken.

Mum hobbled forward to take a look but was brusquely waved away as Dad filled the bowl around the chicken, with potatoes and carrots.

“Right. Stand back everyone.”

Anyone would think he was a test pilot about to take to the skies, but as he turned the ‘machine’ on, we all craned our necks to take a look.

What followed was a revelation. As Dad told us later – several times – though a halogen oven has a similar power rating to a normal oven or microwave, it has distinct advantages over both. It’s much faster than a conventional oven.

The halogen bulb in the lid produces instant heat and a fan circulates it as high speed, ensuring an even temperature throughout.

The chicken really was cooked in less than forty minutes and it, along with the roast potatoes, was crispy to boot. Not at all like the insipid results you tend to get from microwave cookery.

Ideal for roast dinners

And the results? I admit, my first taste was tentative, but the food really was delicious – moist and tender chicken and perfectly cooked vegetables. But that wasn’t the only surprise Dad had in store.

No sooner had we put down our knives and forks than he was off to ‘bung a pudding in the oven’. Five minutes later and our pre-prepared sticky toffee pudding was ready.

Perfect for puddings

After dinner, the oven bowl went in the dishwasher and that was that.

Mum is well and truly back on her feet now and Dad has once again been banished from the kitchen, but the halogen oven story didn’t end there. Mum is a complete convert – the halogen oven defrosts, bakes, roasts, steams and even fries – and she finds it so much easier to use than the conventional oven.

The halogen oven’s clear bowl means she can see exactly how the food is coming along and she doesn’t have to bend down to open the oven door.

A halogen oven is a fraction of the cost of a conventional oven and needless to say – it’s a case of like father like daughter because I now have one too!