Yes, this may seem elementary to some, but what you’ll often find is that even people who think they know the difference between baking and broiling miss out on some of the more nuanced details that separate the two cooking methods.Knowing the differences between broiling and baking can have a significant impact on how you cook food, not to mention how well
you cook your food, so let’s take a look.Heat Sources
From an operational perspective, baking occurs when you cook using primarily the bottom heating elements in your oven or range
, while you broil using only the top heating elements
; however, that’s simply the difference in mechanics.The difference in effect is far more important, but knowing how the heat is being applied – and from what direction – is also helpful. Consider: Many ovens go from WARM to BROIL, leaving one to believe that BROIL is synonymous with HIGH HEAT.This isn’t the case
, although there is only one way to broil, which is why there’s really only one setting: HIGH.What Is Broiling?
Let’s start at the top, literally. Broiling is the process of exposing food to very high heat from above, like hell raining down from the heavens. Less poetically, it’s basically upside-down grilling.The purpose of broiling is more or less the same as grilling, too; putting a nice char on meats and otherwise cooking food quickly. Of course, the inversion makes other uses possible: melting cheese on pizza, making chicken skin crispy, toasting bruschetta and putting a nice crust on a glaze come to mind.What Is Baking?
To bake something is to surround it evenly with hot air, much like how you might feel at a political rally. Incidentally, this is why you’re always advised to preheat an oven. Ideal baking conditions occur when all the air inside is evenly heated.Even baking temperature is necessary for several reasons, but what’s important is to note how different this is from broiling. Remember:Broiling is hot, hot, hotalways from the top;and baking is all-around heatthat never wants to stop!
Good luck with your next baked or broiled dish!