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HolidayBuyer's Guide

What all those bake/broil/roast settings mean

When to 'burn in' an oven

When to 'burn in' an oven

Proper rack positions

How to adjust factory settings

What type of cookware to use

Open- versus closed-door broiling

How to clean your cooktop

Before I test an oven, I review its manual to learn how the manufacturer recommends I use the model to get the best results. It turns out that there's some useful information inside if you just take the time to read the instructions. Here are seven tidbits from oven manuals that make these guides worth hanging on to.

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Newer oven models can perform lots of tasks. The KitchenAid KFDD500ESS dual-fuel double-oven range, for example, can roast, slow cook and steam bake, along with baking, roasting and broil with and without a convection fan. The oven manual will outline the appropriate situations in which to use each setting.

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Dacor ER30DSCH dual-fuel range's manual advises you to "burn in" your oven before your first use. This process involves letting the oven cook with nothing inside for about an hour to "burn off" any debris that might've worked its way inside during manufacturing or packing.

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This Dacor RNRP36GS also requires you to "burn in" the oven before you use it. Instruction manuals will let you know if this technique is necessary for your model and how to properly burn off residue.

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The position of your food in an oven affects how well hot air circulates around your dish and how evenly it cooks. In oven guides, manufacturers number the rack levels and make recommendations on the position you should use in different scenarios, such as when you are using two racks or roasting a large piece of meat.

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Indicator chimes, display brightness and time format are all settings that oven instruction guides will teach you how to change. The manuals for KitchenAid models such as this KFDD500ESS will even show you how change the temperature to display in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit.

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Instruction manuals detail the components of ideal cookware to use on your oven and break down the characteristics of cookware materials such as aluminum, cast iron and copper. It's especially important to read the manuals for induction cooktops, such as the GE PHS920FSS slide-in range.

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Some ovens, such as this Samsung NE59J7630SB range, advise in the instruction manual that you keep the oven door partially open during broiling to let smoke escape.

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Use and care guides provide plenty of information to keep your smooth cooktop looking showroom fresh. Some highlights for keeping models like the Samsung NE59J7630SB electric range clean: invest in a ceramic cooktop cleaner, use a razor-blade scraper to (carefully) remove burned on residue and clean sugary spills immediately before they cause pits on your cooktop surface.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET
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