You Probably Didn't Know The Oven Drawer In Your Home Can Do This

The drawer under your oven may seem like the perfect place to store all your baking tins and oven trays, but is that actually its intended use? For some types of ovens, that is exactly the purpose of the drawer, but for others, it could actually be a warming drawer, a proving drawer, or even a broiling drawer.

Depending on your particular make and model, a quick look at your oven instruction manual should tell you exactly what the purpose of your oven drawer really is. Business Insider states that this drawer is ideal for keeping cooked food warm, even if its intended purpose is for storage. The fact that the drawer is located directly under the oven means that it will naturally become warm if you've had your oven turned on for any length of time.

Ideal for when Thanksgiving rolls around, or for hectic family dinners, a warming drawer can be a lifesaver. It reduces the need to have everything timed just right and keeps all your food warm and ready to eat while you finish the last few parts of the meal. Additional uses such as proving bread dough, or broiling certain recipes may seem too good to be true for a drawer you thought was purely for storing oven trays!

Benefits of a warming drawer

According to Cookers And Ovens, even if your oven's instruction manual labels the drawer as a warming drawer, it can also be used as a proving drawer as well. The temperature inside the drawer usually ranges from around 30 to 80 degrees, so it's perfect for proving your dough when making loaves, homemade pizza, bread rolls, or any other kind of dough that needs to rise in a warm place.

Appliance retailer Smeg has some great tips for how to use your oven drawer to prove bread. They suggest that after preparing your dough, transfer it to a large bowl and cover with cling wrap or a clean, damp dishtowel. Then, set the temperature of the warming drawer to 40 degrees Fahrenheit — some appliances even have a button with a bread symbol on the controls specifically for this purpose.  Smeg also highlights the fact that using a proving drawer works twice as fast as letting the dough sit at room temperature. Miele Experience suggests using your warming drawer to make pavlova meringues. When the drawer is set to its highest temperature, you simply need to place the meringue mixture inside for about one hour, or until firm.

What if the drawer is a broiler?

Bob vila explains that if your oven is powered by gas, there is a good chance that the drawer underneath can be used as a broiler. If so, on the control panel there should be a button labeled broil or broiler. Alternatively, if you open the drawer and spot brackets to hold an oven rack, then it's definitely a broiler, and you can use it to grill foods such as burgers and pork chops or to brown the tops of finished dishes like casseroles, pies, or mac n' cheese.

With this in mind though, do be careful if you use the drawer for storage, as many people tend to do. All Recipes warns that it can become extremely hot in this drawer. Therefore, storing anything flammable or sensitive to heat could catch fire, or melt, resulting in more serious damage. Similarly, be wary of storing anything that might warp in high temperatures.