Why are you advised not to cook in a Dual Control Aga on its Low Energy setting?
The Eco setting is designed to use as little electricity as possible and to do this, you are turning off the thermostat.
When the cooker is in Low Energy setting, the ovens are not regulated by the thermostat to specific temperatures, so the heat changes by about 20 degrees in each oven during the course of the day.
The roasting oven will cycle between 175C and 195C. The baking oven will cycle between 135C and 155C. The simmering oven will be below boiling point. There is a bigger difference in temperature between the higher and lower parts of the ovens than when it is at full heat. The roof of the roasting oven will not be a fierce enough heat to grill properly, nor the floor of the roasting oven hot enough to brown pastry.
You should be aware that in the Eco setting, the cooker may not be as hot today as it was at the same time yesterday, or it may be hotter. Not dramatically so. For example, if you put a really cold chicken pie into the oven, it will reduce the heat in the oven and this will not recover as quickly as it would when the oven is at full temperature, so things will take longer to cook.
Aga do not recommend that you cook raw meat in the ovens on the Low Energy setting, but it is fine to reheat pies etc and to cook non meat dishes.
Once you get used to this, it is easy.
When it is in full cooking mode, the ovens are pre-calibrated to their set temperatures and remain at those fixed temperatures all the time the cooker is at full temperature.
Mine is at full temperature all the time, unless I am away for a couple of days or more and I reckon it costs about £3 a week more to run it at full temperature, but it does mean it is giving you proper Aga cooking.
Can you cook in a Total Control Aga on Slumber setting?
Yes, the roasting and baking ovens are both set to remain at 120C in slumber mode, so you can slow cook in them.
When the hotplates are off, how do you iron when there is less heat from the top of the cooker?
Invest in an airer to set over the top of the Aga. Leave the lids open, so that the residual heat from the cast iron is released to dry the clothes on the airer, but not using any extra heat or power to dry.
How do you bake in a City 60 when the top oven is at roasting temperature?
Same way as in a traditional 2 oven Aga: put your cake in its tin or your apple crumble or whatever into the large roasting tin. Hang this from the 4th, lowest, runners in the roasting oven and slide the cold plain shelf onto the second runners above. This creates a baking oven inside the roasting oven, shielding the cake from the heat coming from the sides, back, base and roof of the oven.
The lowered heat lasts for about half an hour, after which you move the roasting tin, complete with its contents of cake , to the simmering oven below. The hot tin raises the temperature in the simmering oven so that you don't get thermal shock making the cake sink as you move it from one oven to another. Don't forget to take the plain shelf out of the roasting oven to cool for next time.
How do you cook brilliant Yorkshire puddings in an Aga?
Slide the cold plain shelf into the centre of the roasting oven and leave it for 5 minutes before you cook the Yorkshires on it, where you will have trapped the heat at the top of the oven, raising the temperature by 10 or more degrees.
Can I test drive an Aga properly?
Yes! Rent a holiday cottage with an Aga in and you can cook and experiment to your heart's content. Look at Aga Cottages to rent a cottage with an Aga for a weekend or a week.