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We can probably all agree that today, ovens are an indispensable piece of technology that no kitchen (or cook, for that matter) can live without. But while wiring these powerful pizza and cake factories to your power grid is a challenge in and of itself, your troubles are in no way over.
In fact, you may have already learned this first-hand right after a fresh kitchen installation or total refurbishment since oven manufacturers have the infuriating habit of explaining each function in strings of cryptic letters and symbols within their written instructions.
This goes double for SMEG – an Italian company whose oven manuals resemble those of operating a spacecraft.
Knowing why your oven behaves the way it does goes beyond the obvious benefit of serving a meal as opposed to a piece of coal.
For instance, proper usage along with regular oven valeting will ensure that your appliance will last you a few extra years after your warranty expires. You will also avoid expensive and potentially life-threatening mishaps, such as tripping circuit breakers or blown fuses, that will surely leave your appliance in need of professional oven repair. Bear in mind, that to repair your SMEG oven is not something you should neglect and when it comes to fixing an electric oven, only a certified electrician can guarantee the excellence of results.
Without further ado,
Now that you know why you should spend more time studying your appliance, it’s time to decipher what all of those instructions on your SMEG oven are actually trying to tell you.
Here is a comprehensive list of the top 21 most common SMEG oven setting symbols and their explanations:
The “ECO” setting:
The ECO function is great for cooking small quantities of food. This mode is really energy-efficient since it only activates the SMEG oven’s grill, bottom heating, and fan elements.
The “Pizza function” setting:
This function is designed to help you cook pizza in up to 5 minutes, depending on the filling you have used. However, it is also suitable for cooking pies, cookies, baked vegetables, and fish.
The “Bottom heater only” setting:
With just the bottom heater enabled, you can cook every stew recipe under the sun, as well as pastry dishes and pizza since you don’t run the risk of scorching the top crust anytime soon.
The “Top heater only” setting:
With this SMEG oven dial on, you can brown food with near surgical precision, from lasagnes to any meals that come with a lavish amount of cheese on top.
The “Upper & bottom heater” setting:
A more traditional setting that lets you cook single items placed in the centre of the appliance. Since the upper heating element is always hotter than the bottom one, this mode is just what you need to roast meats, bake fruit cakes, or try your grandmother’s homemade bread recipe.
The “Grill only” setting:
If you are a person who cannot imagine a world without sausages and bacon, this function is all you really need. It is also suitable for cooking small to medium meat portions, as well as for browning off the top of lasagne and other irresistible delicacies.
The “Half grill only” setting:
Set up this way, the grill will only emanate heat from its centre, making this function suitable for cooking smaller food portions. For best results, make sure to position smaller items (sausages, cheese toasts, etc.) at the upper shelves, while keeping larger foods on the lower shelves.
The “Fan only” setting:
This function enables the thermostat and fan elements of the SMEG oven to reheat any food.
The “Fan with grill” setting:
With this setting on, the fan will attenuate the otherwise significant heat coming from the grill. This allows you to easily grill a variety of meats and other foods. We recommend using the top two shelves of the oven for grilling and the one at the bottom for heating up cool dishes.
The “Fan with half grill” setting:
With this setting on, the fan will once again attenuate the heat coming from the grill but only half. This allows you to slowly grill a wide range of foods.
The “Fan with upper and lower heater” setting:
The fan spreads the heat from both heaters evenly throughout the oven, allowing you to test various recipes where slow cooking is mandatory. Preheating is required for optimal results.
The “Snowflake” setting”
If you thought this was a built-in freezer option, you would be wrong. Instead, your food will be defrosted using solely the cool circulating air that is created by your turning fan.
The “Circulaire heating only” setting:
Besides not having to preheat your appliance, the circular heating will also allow you to cook a variety of foods simultaneously (think fish and pasta) without blending their flavours together.
The “Circulaire and lower heating” setting:
These are the SMEG oven controls to use for dishes whose fillings require extra heating power.
The “Circulaire and upper heating” setting:
If you are a fan of food that features a crispy topping, you need to try this setting ASAP out. We recommend using this in combination with the grill only setting to brown your dishes extra fast.
The “Circulaire heating with top and bottom heater” setting:
This is essentially your appliance’s “party cooking” mode. Here is how it works – the heat, generated by both heaters, will be “caught” and evenly distributed by the circular element to ensure that your dishes are well cooked, regardless of how big they are or what utensil is used.
The “Microwave” setting:
With the microwave mode enabled, you will be able to thaw and heat almost any food without changing its appearance, smell, or taste. Oh, and it’s pretty energy-efficient, too! It’s mostly suitable for fat-free meals. Can be combined with other oven settings for even better results.
The “Microwave and grill” setting:
With the grill on, you can brown your food in no time, while the microwave function will ensure that the inner goodies of your tasty creation are cooked quickly and to perfection.
The “Rotisserie with full grill” setting:
Like with the setting above, but with one key exception – you can use the grill to its full potential.
The “Rotisserie with half grill” setting:
The description says it all – enable this setting to use the grill and the rotisserie simultaneously.
The “Bread proving” setting:
Here, the air inside the oven is heated at a constant 40°C, creating the perfect environment for proving yeast-type dough for bread, coffee cakes, and whatever else you have planned for the upcoming party. Just turn the setting on, place the dough in the special cavity and bake away.
So far, we covered the primary SMEG oven symbols, now let’s dive into part two:
The “Defrost by weight” setting:
With this setting on, the oven will defrost your meal for an optimal period of time depending on how much it weighs. To begin defrosting, simply enter the food’s weight using the number pads.
The “Defrost by time” setting:
With this function, you can manually set for how long you want your meal to be defrosted.
Gas burner only setting
This setting will shut everything but the gas burners off. However, according to the SMEG cooker instructions, running both the gas burners and the rotisserie is completely possible.
The “Warm-up” setting:
Enable this to warm up any dish or to prevent the one you just cooked from cooling down.
The “Reheat” setting:
This is perfect for reviving the original taste of cooked meals that have been kept in the fridge.
The “Rapid preheat” setting:
Just set the desired temperature, turn the knob, and your oven will preheat in no time.
Meat cooking setting
With this function, you can select between 5 meat cooking presets at any given time. You can also manually adjust the cooking time.
Fish cooking setting
With this function, you can select between 5 fish cooking presets at any given time. You can also manually adjust the cooking time.
Vegetable cooking setting
With this function, you can select between 5 vegetable cooking presets at any given time. You can also manually adjust the cooking time.
The “ECO-logic” setting:
Looking to reduce your monthly energy bill? Using ECO-logic will allow you to limit the amount of energy that your appliance draws from your power grid, improving its energy efficiency.
The “Electronic control” setting:
If you want to have full control over every cooking process, feel free to try this setting out. With it enabled, you can control the temperature inside the oven with a precision margin of 2-3 °C, ensuring that heat-sensitive meals, like cakes and puddings, will turn out just fine.
This is essentially the oven’s self-cleaning function. Switch your appliance to Pyrolitic mode when you need to remove grease and other build-ups with nothing but the power of heat.
ECO Pyrolitic setting
Like the Pyrolitic setting, only less intense. Use it when you have to deal with lighter build-ups. This SMEG cooker mode lasts for up to 1.5 hours, after which it will require manual reactivation.
Vapor clean setting
Another oven cleaning function based on steam. The steam method is great for loosening deposits found in hard-to-reach areas in your appliance.
Fresh touch symbol
If you see this on your oven, then your SMEG model uses the so-called “cool door” technology. This means that the outer space of your oven’s door will not exceed 50°C at all times. This also means that the sides of adjacent furniture will not sustain any heat damage from the oven.
Telescopic rails symbol
This means that your model comes with telescopic rails. They allow you to easily glance at your hot dish without having to grab a pair of heavy duty oven mitts and removing the entire utensil.
The “Inner door glass” symbol:
If you see this on the “dashboard” of your appliance, this means that your oven door can be removed and cleaned in just a few simple movements and without any tools whatsoever. If you don’t see this symbol, you would have to clean your oven door without detaching or opening it.
The “Air cooling system” symbol:
This feature indicates that your oven has a dedicated system that maintains safe surface temperatures even when you use the appliance for prolonged periods of time.
The “Enamel interior” symbol:
If you see a SMEG model with this symbol on it, it means that its enamel interior is lined with a special antacid layer that facilitates the cleaning of any grease that adheres to its surface.
Removable roof liner symbol
Perhaps one of the most ambiguous of SMEG oven symbols out there, this icon indicates that the upper interior part of your oven is protected by a special component – a roof liner – that can be easily removed and even washed in the dishwasher.
Fingerprint-proof stainless steel symbol
If your model has this symbol included, this means that your hands will not leave any pesky fingerprints behind should you happen to touch the appliance.
[X] litres symbols:
These symbols indicate how much free space your oven has, where “X” is the amount of space measured in litres. Depending on your model, your oven can have a capacity of 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 31, 34, 40, 41, 55, 60, 61, 62, 65, 66, 70, 72, 77, 95, 103, 105, and 123 litres.
We hope you now understand your SMEG oven’s functions better. Why not take it one step further and learn how to properly take care of it? Find out how often you should clean your oven!
Do leave a comment below if you feel you need more answers!
Image source: shutterstock / Michael Higginson
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