- Wide range of times and temperatures.
- Easy to operate and keep clean.
- Eight preset cooking modes.
- Oversized basket for large meals.
- Buttons and knob are very loud.
- Basket assembly could stand to be sturdier.
These days, technology is changing every aspect of how we live our lives. The best and most obvious example is your smartphone. As little as 15 years ago, smartphones were just a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye. Nowadays, everyone has one, and we use them for all kinds of everyday tasks. By the time you’re done banking, ordering food, and watching videos, it’s easy to forget you can make phone calls. But smaller, smarter electronics aren’t just a benefit for smartphones. The fact is, any device with electrical components is liable to be better than its counterpart from 20 years ago.
But finding the right electronics isn’t just about buying something new. It’s also important to deal with a manufacturer you trust. In that respect, Bagotte is one of the more reliable new brands. They produce a variety of household appliances, such as their BG750 Robot Vacuum. So when we saw that they manufactured an air fryer, we were excited to give it a try. An air fryer is a healthy alternative to a deep fryer, and they’ve been getting more popular of late. The idea is to get the same delicious, crispy food without all the fat.
So how does the Bagotte BAF80 Air Fryer compare to others on the market? To find out, we’re going to need to take a deeper dive into its features and functions. While we’re at it, we’ll talk about air fryers in general. By the time we’re done, you’ll know exactly what’s going on with this particular kitchen appliance. Let’s get started!
Air Fryer Basics
One of the most delicious ways to cook is to deep fry your food. Whether it’s crispy chicken, French fries, or a Thanksgiving turkey, people love deep friend meals. But we all know that deep frying is not the healthiest of cooking methods. Your food might be irresistible, but it’s also loaded with unhealthy fats. An air fryer is designed to achieve the same effect as deep frying, but with a minimum of fat. Instead of immersing your food in boiling oil, a high-powered fan blows heated air over your food at speed. Because the air circulates rapidly, it cooks far more efficiently than a standard oven. It also leaves a crispy finish, just as if you had deep fried your meal.
Another benefit of an air fryer is that it cooks quickly. While a deep fryer also cooks very quickly, it can take 15 minutes or more to heat up. An air fryer, on the other hand, preheats almost instantaneously. You can set it up and start cooking in only about a minute.
One common misconception about air fryers is that there’s literally zero oil. Depending on what you’re cooking, this is a possibility. But if you’re trying to replicate your favorite deep fried recipes, you’ll probably be battering some of your food. This batter actually needs oil in order to cook properly. In a deep fryer, it will absorb some oil from the surrounding environment. When you’re air frying, you’ll need to brush your food with oil before battering it. A canned vegetable oil spray can also be highly effective. Along the same lines, you can brush your food with oil to get a slightly crispier finish. You can even mix seasonings with the oil to add more flavor.
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Either way, calling an air fryer oil-free would be misleading. But even for a large recipe, you might only need one or two tablespoons of vegetable oil. That’s a lot healthier than immersing your entire meal in grease. And in many cases, you don’t need any oil. A good example of this is frozen vegetables. You can oil them if you want to help seasoning stick, but you don’t have to. The veggies’ own internal moisture will be enough to keep them from getting too dry. The same is true for greasy animal-based foods like pork and salmon.
The time you need to use oil is with fresh vegetables and lean cuts of meat. In those cases, the oil is necessary to keep the food from drying out, while still providing a crispy finish. On the other hand, you don’t want to introduce any other moisture into the mix. If you’re using barbecue sauce, wait until you’re almost done cooking. Otherwise, it will interfere with the crisping process. Another thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to use less salt than usual. Much like deep frying, the finish from air frying packs a lot of flavor in and of itself!
Design & Construction
The Bagotte BAF80 Air Fryer is a stainless steel appliance about the size of a small slow cooker. It measures 14.3 inches tall, 12.1 inches wide, and 16.3 inches deep. The housing is constructed from a mixture of stainless steel and black polymer. The back and most of the sides are polymer, which helps to keep the weight down. The front and front corners are stainless, which is very easy to keep clean. Not only that, but the mix of steel and black meshes well with a modern kitchen aesthetic.
The housing is divided into two parts. The top portion houses the fan, the heater, the electronics, and the controls. The bottom half consists of a drawer that you pull out to insert your food. The overall capacity is 2.72 liters, with a 5.8-quart basket for your food. That’s large enough to cook a small roaster chicken. The cooking compartment might be removable, but it’s not dishwasher safe. You’ll need to wash it by hand. That said, it has a non-stick finish, and you won’t normally have to do more than wipe out crumbs.
The basket itself is non-stick, as well as dishwasher-safe. It fits easily inside the drawer, with a handle that protrudes through the front. This makes it easy to pull the housing open, as well as to lift the basket out. Unfortunately, the nature of the design requires it to connect to the basket with a very small bracket. This is screwed instead of welded, and the screws can work loose over time, needing to be tightened.
On the front of the housing, above the cooking compartment, there’s a bright LCD display. This is easy to read, and shows the temperature, cook time, and various cooking modes. One thing we liked is that instead of touch controls, you get a physical control scheme. There’s a big knob, with a grey, ribbed ring around the outside. This is easy to operate, even if your hands are dirty from cooking. The power button in the center is big, responsive, and easy to press.
All of that is well and good, but what if you need even more space? In that case, you might be better off with a pressure cooker or slow cooker. These can be as big as eight quarts, so you can cook a full-sized bird. A pressure cooker will also cook quickly. That said, you won’t get the crispy finish you’d get from an air fryer.
So, we’ve established that the BAF80 is well-engineered. But how well does it actually cook your food? In practice, the air circulation system seems to work very well. We didn’t find any hot spots or cold spots. Instead, you can expect even, 360-degree cooking on all sides of your meat or vegetables.
Using the knob, you can adjust the time from zero to 60 minutes, or anywhere in-between. Most air fryer recipes will only take a few minutes to cook. That said, if you’re cooking something big like a roaster, you’ll want to run a longer cooking cycle. The point is, you have options, and the control scheme is intuitive. In addition, you can adjust the temperature in five-minute increments from 170 to 400 degrees. On its lowest setting, it’s great for keeping crispy foods hot while you finish cooking the rest of your meal. In other words, it pretty much runs the gamut of what you can expect from an air fryer.
In addition to the basic controls, you can also cycle through eight preset modes. These include chips, steaks, fish, shrimp, drumsticks, cakes, chicken, and bacon. They work well in theory, but as with most preset buttons, you need to have the right quantities of food. Thankfully, there’s a recipe book included with the kit. There are all kinds of recipes, from appetizers to dessert, so you can find a lot of inspiration here. You’ll also get a good idea of how and when to use which preset buttons.
We did have one minor complaint about the control scheme. Every time you choose an option, there’s a loud, piercing beep. This is odd, since Bagotte has otherwise done an excellent job of keeping noise down. Unlike a lot of air fryers, the BAF80’s fan doesn’t make a ton of noise while it’s in operation. It’s not silent, but it’s not any louder than your average microwave. Another thing Bagotte has done is to put an air filter in the back of the housing. If your food gets burnt, it will at least filter out some of the smoke. And during normal operation, you won’t have to worry about your wall getting discolored by the exhaust.
Of course, there are other ways to enjoy a unique cooking experience. For the tenderest cuts of meat, a sous vide cooker can be an excellent choice. It’s the opposite of crispy, but it’s still delicious.
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The Bagotte BAF80 Air Fryer is a great piece of equipment for most kitchens. If you want delicious, crispy meat and vegetables, it’s well-equipped to do the job. The controls might be loud, but they’re very easy to operate, especially for older individuals. The cookbook is actually helpful, and the dishwasher-safe basket is easy to keep clean. Our only serious complaint was the handle design, and even that can be fixed with a screwdriver.