I have the Cadillac of ovens: a real Kitchen-Aid with a slick digital timer, a bread proofing button, and everything. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but it was part of the reason I bought my place. : ) It has been sadly out of service for a month as the keyboard shorted out (the price of luxury) but I just got it fixed this week. Overjoyed hardly begins to describe it. For the new keypad’s maiden voyage I made an old favorite: vegetable lasagna.
Because I own the Cadillac of ovens, it has a special exhaust fan in the back that works to keep the temperature even. This has the effect of making the oven work a bit like a convection oven, which is both good and bad. It’s good because it speeds up cooking sometimes. It’s bad because it overbrowns. The solution to overbrowning, as you may know, is to put aluminum foil over your cookies, pie, cake, etc. You should do this anytime you feel they are starting to get too brown before they are truly done.
But I’ve encountered a big problem with foil — if you just stick it on some objects flat across the top, they stick. I’ve had problems with that with my lasagna, where the cheese bubbles up and sticks to the foil. That can be a good thing if there are just a few golden brown, crispy cheese spikelets for the cook to eat. But if it’s a significant portion of your cheese, that’s not so good. A few months ago, I ripped an entire chunk of sheet cake off a cake when it stuck to the foil — and because it was still gooey, there was no way to replace it. Here at altitude, our cakes tend to rise REALLY high before assuming their proper height, even if they’ve been properly altitude adjusted (which is a whole other problem).
So with this lasagna, I tried something I vaguely remembered reading or hearing about as the solution to the problem: folding the aluminum into a little tent and place that over the baking object. I just folded my foil in half at an obtuse angle and laid it on the rims of the pan. I’ve never been quite sure how aluminum foil prevents browning (is it just preventing the reflection of heat from the top of the oven? If so, wouldn’t heat get reflected under the foil?) and I half wondered if tenting it wouldn’t just bring the browning problem back. But it worked — perfectly. No sticking to the foil. No premature browning.
Magnifique! Give it a try next time you’re worried about browning *and* sticking.