Apparently oven cleaning was a lesson I missed somewhere in my
extensive near non-existent household training. I’ve seen the setting on every oven I’ve ever had the pleasure to use but I’ve never really understood how it works. I knew it cooked the crap out of the oven but what did that do? I tried it once in my old apartment with basically no results. Fairly sure I was doing something wrong I decided it wasn’t worth the effort. In my “old life” I felt that living in filth was better than taking five minutes to review a manual. So I’ve lived my life up until now not knowing how to clean an oven or how freaking easy it is! As any of you who know me even a little can imagine I didn’t embark on today’s oven cleaning adventure with any kind of purpose.
It all started with the bread.
I’ve been getting better at making bread (and pizza dough) and the trick is to really let the yeast foam up. As a person who rarely gets two minutes of peace together the initial stage of bread-making is arduously long (total of about 15-20 minutes) so, in order to expedite things, I warm my oven just a tad and then place a bowl with the water and yeast in the warmed oven. Yeast does well with water around 110-125 degrees Farenheit. Today I was in a particular rush and decided that I would put the oven on at about 450 and leave it on for about 45 seconds. I went ahead and put the bowl in while I waited for the oven to warm… Why, you ask, did I pick the plastic bowl? Well, I thought to myself: “I really should get the metal bowl but the medium one is dirty so I’ll just use this one, it’s right here after all.” Genius. A baby cried or a toddler battle began in the living room (I can’t remember what it was now but I’m sure it sounded really important) and I left the kitchen. A mere moments later, halfway through a diaper change, I realized my mistake as the unmistakable smell of melting plastic hit my nose. I jumped up leaving a half-clothed (but fully diapered, thankfully!) baby on the floor and ran in the kitchen to find this:
The yeast wasn’t even bubbling. I managed to get the stupid bowl off the rack (it was hard as a rock–I did wait for the oven to cool, genius that I am) but there were still drips on the rack that I couldn’t chip off. By warming the oven a little (actually only a little this time) I managed to pry off MOST of the plastic but as anyone who’s smelled that delicious aroma can attest au du plastique hangs around a loooooong time. I decided that I didn’t want to smell burning plastic every time I cooked for the next month so I decided to give the oven cleaning a try. I locked the bar on the front of the oven in place and turned the knob to “clean”. The cook timer set itself too 4hrs 30min. I set off to open all the windows on this cold, wet, February day. Four hours later this is what I found:
I should have taken a before picture (you may or may not be able to tell from the bowl picture above). Everything in the was turned to ash dust! I wiped the inside with a wet cloth, gathering up the ashes with a paper towel, and it was done!
My oven has never, ever, EVER been so clean! I now feel like the best homemaker in the world, I mean I did manage to start a new loaf of bread and everything. Best of all–NO SMELL!!! I wonder how long it will take me to mess it up?