A conventional oven is an appliance used for roasting, heating, baking and broiling foods. The oven uses electricity or gas as a source of fuel and can heat dishes from above or below. Conventional ovens differ in their controls, appearance and features from model to model. Despite these differences, cooking with a conventional oven is similar for all models.
Clear the area of clutter. Remove items from the top of the range. Make sure the back and sides of the oven are free and clear of debris. Although the majority of the heat from a conventional oven stays within the oven itself, escaping heat and radiant heat can cause items placed close to the oven to burn, ignite or melt.
Open the oven to inspect the inside. Remove any pots, pans or other items stored inside the oven.
Adjust the wire racks inside of the oven, if necessary. If you're baking a cake, for example, you want access to the middle oven rack. Broiled dishes should be placed on the top rack, while items that need a well-cooked bottom crust -- like pizzas -- should go on the bottom oven rack. Close the door when you are finished adjusting the racks.
Locate the knob that controls the temperature of the oven. Turn the knob to your desired temperature and allow the oven to heat up. This step is referred to as preheating. Different foods require different preheating temperatures. Things like meats often require higher temperatures than vegetable or grain-based dishes, for example. The starting temperature for a dish can be found in the item's recipe; in boxed meals, the information is located on the item's packaging.
Place the dish in the appropriate bakeware or cookware. Use heat-resistant items to ensure the equipment doesn't catch fire, melt into the food or warp during cooking.
Insert the dish into the oven. Avoid touching any part of the interior of the oven -- the high heat inside the oven causes burns.
Adjust the temperature control dial if necessary according to the dish's recipe or packaging.
Cook the item for the period of time specified by the recipe or packaging.
Check the internal temperature of foods that can cause food-borne illness, such as meat or egg-based dishes. Use a cooking thermometer to determine the temperature of your dish. The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service advises cooking steaks, roasts and fish to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit at minimum. Pork, ground beef and egg dishes need to reach a minimum internal temperature of 160 F while chicken breasts and other poultry dishes should attain at least 165 F.
Put on an oven mitt or glove. Grasp the bakeware and remove the dish from the oven. Place the dish on a heat-resistant surface.
Turn the oven off. Allow the food to cool before eating it. Allow the oven to cool after use.