What is Radiant Heat and Why is it Good for Cooking?
Aga range cookers use radiant heat and this brings a very different quality to the food you cook. Radiant is one of the key principles to know when cooking on an Aga range cooker and is useful knowledge for those looking to perfect their range cooking skills!
So, to start off let’s have a think about the science behind cooking food…..
What is Radiant Heat?
Cooking, in general, involves heat transfer. This is the transfer of thermal energy between two objects. When you’re cooking, the heat transfer is between the cooking appliance and your items of food.
Your choice of cooking appliance might be an oven, stove or microwave, and these will use different forms of heat transfer.
Conduction is the transfer of heat through direct contact. An example here would be putting a pan on a gas hob and the flame heating it directly to cook the food that it contains.
Convection combines heat conduction transfer with circulation, forcing molecules in the air to move from warmer to cooler areas. This occurs naturally when you boil water in a pan, but you can also achieve it mechanically.
Mechanical convection uses outside forces to circulate heat and shorten cooking times, such as in a convection oven. This uses a fan system to blow hot air around food.
With radiation, it's different because there's no solid contact between the heat source and the food you’re cooking. Instead, heat and light waves hit and penetrate the food.
There is microwave radiation and infrared radiation.
Microwave radiation, naturally, involves microwave cookers, which use short, high-frequency waves to penetrate food and heat it rapidly.
Infrared radiation uses a heat source that gives off electromagnetic energy waves, which travel in all directions and are mainly absorbed by the surface of the food you're cooking. Aga range cooker ovens give off this type of radiant heat.
Why is Radiant Heat Good for Cooking?
If you stand outside in the sun, you’re feeling radiant heat. It’s coming directly from the heat source. Despite this directness, cooking with radiant heat is a gentler process than other methods of heat transfer.
Aga range cookers are perfect for cooking in this way. They’re made of cast iron, and this makes them highly efficient at storing heat.
Essentially, this type of cooker looks after itself, and it transfers radiant heat through its ovens and hotplates at a steady rate.
This gentle form of heat transfer creates dedicated heating zones at pre-set temperatures. But don’t let the gentleness put you off – Aga range cookers can also cook food quickly with radiant heat.
The whole process is convenient and simple, giving you cooking that’s hassle-free. But what does the food taste like? That’s the crucial question.
The Benefits of Cooking with a Radiant Heat
What you get is locked-in flavour, with food that retains its texture, moisture and goodness. Radiant heat brings out the best in food because it’s kind to it, enabling you to produce tastier, healthier dishes.
Cooking with radiant heat is gentle but highly effective and efficient, and it’s versatile too.
Essentially, you’ve got a single, multi-purpose cooking appliance, offering exceptional performance.
If you’ve got one of these beautiful cooking beasts, you’ll need to know some recipes to take advantage of its advantages…..
Recipes for Aga Range Cookers
At Blake & Bull, we are always looking to help range cooker owners, and are building a comprehensive recipe section to do just that!
The instructions for each recipe are specifically for Aga range cookers but can usually be adapted for other range cookers. They are not relevant to conventional cookers in most cases.
Cooking with Aga range cookers is certainly a bit different to conventional cookers but really it's much easier. The radiant heat of the ovens, once understood and tamed, is your ally when it comes to fabulous food.
Here are some of our favourite recipe sections, they’re constantly being updated by Blake & Bull and community members!
Cookware for use with Aga Range Cookers
Cooking with Aga range cookers also requires good quality cookware, with a particular focus on pieces that don’t warp or buckle in the radiant heat of the ovens.
We offer a wide range of cookware specifically for use with Aga range cookers, with a focus on materials that can withstand the high temperatures and many for use on the hotplates as well. Take a look at our recommended cookware for range cookers:
- Spun and Cast Iron pots and pans
- Stainless steel pots and pans
- Copper pots and pans
- Non-stick pots and pans
A special mention as well has to go to our famous roasting tins for use with Aga range cookers as well– designed for regular use in the radiant ovens. They are Blake & Bull original products made by us to last a lifetime – they also fit directly on the runners, available in half or full oven size!