Any seasoned chef will attest that a quality oven can make or break a meal. Questions about how to choose an oven abound. Should you opt for an electric oven or a gas oven? What size is best for you - double oven or single oven?
With so many options, it can be difficult to decide which is the best oven for you. In fact, there is probably no single best oven. This oven guide will help answer your questions about ovens and help you determine which is the best oven for you.
OVENS - THE BASICS
Most shoppers have some idea what they are looking for before choosing their ideal oven. Regardless of what you want and need, there is an oven out there with your name on it. Ask yourself the following questions when shopping for a new oven. It will help you narrow down your final choice.
What type of oven will best fit my culinary needs?
Modern ovens come in three styles: freestanding, slide-in and drop-in. (If you are looking for wall-mounted, skip to below.)
- Freestanding ovens- A freestanding oven is one that stands alone and has panels on both sides, giving it a complete finished look from any angle. If your kitchen configuration calls for your new oven to be at the end of a cabinet, then the freestanding oven is for you.
- Slide-in ovens- A slide-in oven does not come fitted with finished side panels, which makes it the ideal choice for placement between two cabinets.
- Drop-in ovens- This oven is fueled by electricity only. Drop-in ovens are so named because they are installed between two cabinets by lifting and dropping and are at least partially supported by the cabinets on either side. This oven is somewhat limited in functionality because it has no bottom drawer beneath the oven in which to store broiling and baking pans
What's the difference between gas, electric and dual-fuel ovens?
Most kitchen designs will dictate this choice unless you are building a new home or renovating. Dual-fuel ovens offer the best of both worlds; they are a combination of gas and electric fuels in one oven. Of course you can expect to pay more for this type of oven.
- Gas ovens - These ovens are powered by natural gas. Gas ovens can also be powered by liquid propane (LP), which can be set up and delivered to any location. As gas is the preference of restaurant chefs, almost all commercial-style ovens are at least partially gas-powered.
- Electric ovens - Electric ovens have a reputation for providing more even baking than gas ovens, and electricity is an excellent choice for fueling convection ovens. The primary disadvantage of an electric oven is in its cooktop; the heating elements have a slow reaction time. They are slow to heat up and slow to cool down.
What new and exciting features are available on modern ovens?
You will want to consider features that today's ovens offer before you purchase your ideal oven. Consider the following...
Here are a few other features to consider when shopping for an oven:
- Warming drawers - Warming drawers take the place of traditional storage drawers at the bottom of the oven. Warming drawers can be simple or complex; they can offer a limited oven of warming temperatures or they can be used for baking. Still other warming drawers offer humidity controls that can be used to keep foods either crisp or moist, or somewhere in between.
- Warming zones - Warming zones are the fifth element on the cooktop, usually situated in the middle between the traditional cooking elements. They are utilitarian in that they keep prepared foods warm without scorching or over-cooking and they usually do not add a lot to the cost of the oven. Adding the versatility of the electric oven cooktop is the addition of dual and triple elements, which match heat to pan size.
- Refrigerated oven - The refrigerated oven cools your food dish until it's ready to be cooked! In other words, you can prepare a meal and place it in the oven up to 24 hours prior to baking. The oven will automatically turn on at a preset time and cook your food for you.
- Electronic temperature controls
- Programmable timing options
- Convection ovens cook about 30% faster than conventional ovens. Fans in the oven circulate the heat around foods to cook them faster.
- Simmer burners provide low, gradual heat when required for a variety of cooking needs such as preparing soups and sauces.
- High-heat burners instantly provide cooking heat, allowing you to quickly boil or sear foods as required, dramatically cutting down on cooking time.
- Dual element burners feature an inner ring for smaller pans and a large outer ring for larger pots and pans. A flick of the switch turns on the preferred size.
- Hot surface indicator lights
- ADA Compliant -Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have certain height guidelines and We are proud to provide dishwashers that comply. Also, our ADA dishwashers are helpful when remodeling a kitchen or dealing with a smaller space. For more information regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, please visit www.ada.gov. To see our assortment of ADA compliant dishwashers, click here.
What size oven is appropriate for my kitchen?
Oven size is another important consideration, but you don't have much flexibility unless you are building a new kitchen or remodeling your current kitchen. Most ovens measure 30 inches in width, and if you're making a one-for-one replacement of your oven, that choice is made for you. Upscale or unique kitchen designs may accommodate a 36-inch, 40-inch or 48-inch oven, but usually the standard 30-inch unit is the oven of choice
Do I want a self-cleaning oven and how easy is it to clean the cooktop?
A self-cleaning oven is very convenient, but don't make the mistake of assuming expensive models must offer this feature, some don't! When shopping for an oven -- especially a commercial oven -- make sure you ask how the oven is cleaned.
Electric ovens will offer either standard coil or flat, glass-ceramic heating elements. While cheaper, coil elements are more difficult to clean and will have drip pans that require removal for cleaning. If one is not diligent about cleaning the drip pans, they will become discolored over time. Flat surface radiant, halogen or induction elements will not require any disassembly and instead can be easily wiped clean.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT MOUNTED WALL OVENS
Wall (or built-in) ovens with the correct feature set can add value and convenience to any kitchen. Many builders now offer high-end or gourmet kitchens that feature either a separate wall oven or two in combination with an island cooktop in lieu of a traditional free-standing oven. These extra ovens typically are convection ovens.
Wall ovens can be had in one of three baking types: electric, gas and convection. A standard electric wall oven operates with two radiant elements, one in the top and one in the bottom. The lure of the more costly convection ovens is that they provide more even browning for baking and faster roasting, which seals in juices and prevents meats from drying out. A convection oven operates by utilizing a fan to circulate hot air around the food.
Wall ovens are available in either single or double configurations or in combination with a microwave oven. Wall mounted electric ovens are generally manufactured in two widths: 27-inch and 30-inch cabinets, while most gas ovens will fit smaller 24-inch cabinets as well as 27-inch or 30-inch width cabinets. The height of a given wall oven will depend upon whether it is a double or single oven.
Wall oven features to consider...
- Oven interior size - Be sure and check the oven cavity size when shopping for and comparing wall-mounted ovens to make sure you are getting the size that meets your needs.
- Electronic touch controls - I have found that digital displays allow more accurate temperature and timer settings. Many electronic controls provide a control "lockout" feature to prevent unintended operation by other members of the household; nice touch. The feature is also helpful when cleaning the oven's control panel.
- High-low broil - This feature offers the ability to choose high or low broiling. Using low broiling comes in handy when cooking thicker meats or chicken, as well as fish, to ensure that it is completely cooked without searing the outside of the food.
- Hidden bake element - This element is below the oven floor. Spills and spatters or residue from the self-cleaning cycle are easier to wipe up.
Mainline manufacturers of wall-mounted ovens include General Electric, Electrolux, Whirlpool, Frigidaire, and Bosch
Click Here and view information guide to Gas Ovens