The oven and the rangetop are the two workhorses of the traditional kitchen,which is why they are so often found in the same unit. Ovens are enclosed spaces in which food is heated,usually by hot air or, in some newer kinds of ovens, by microwaves or infrared radiation.
In addition to roasting and baking, ovens can do many of the jobs normally done on the rangetop.Many foods can be simmered,stewed,braised,or poached in the oven, freeing the rangetop and the chef's attention for other tasks.
There are many kinds of ovens beyond those discussed here, but they are often for specialty or high-volume uses. These include conveyor ovens, which carry foods through the oven on a steel conveyor belt; holding ovens or warmers, which are designed to hold many types of foods at serving temperatures for extended periods without drying out or overcooking (this category includes ovens that also cook the food, then automatically switch to holding temperature); and high-volume roll-in ovens, with large doors into which one can roll carts loaded with trays of food.
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