Choosing an Oven
While the major difference in oven power is gas or electric, there are so many other options to be aware of these days. Choosing an oven can be daunting, here we hope to give you a few pointers that will help you figure out what you need and what you want.
Ovens are either gas or electric, with electric being the most common for its ability to produce a more constant, better penetrating heat. A range of sizes are available, usually between 52 and 112 litres. Fold down doors are the most common, however, slide down doors are available on some ovens, which are more suitable for a compact kitchen.
Gas ovens are generally cheaper to run, but give different results to electric ovens. Many brands do not offer a gas option. For a select few, gas is the only option because this is what they have been trained to use and they are accustomed to the result of a gas-powered oven. Gas ovens do not distribute heat evenly unless they have a fan. Food is not browned as consistently as in an electric oven. Gas ovens do however have a less drying heat and are therefore perfect for succulent roasts, casseroles and heavy cakes that spoil when in an overly dry oven.
Electric ovens constitute about 80% of new ovens sold in Australia. Most brands offer electric ovens in their range, so there are many options to choose from. Electric ovens are able to heat consistently, brown well and can be heated to a wide temperature range. Three-phase power is not required for all electric ovens, in fact, a majority require only single phase power. Very high temperatures can still be achieved in ovens that do not access three phase power.
Self-cleaning is achieved by heating the oven to a very high temperature. More information on this function is available through the Choice link below.
Steam ovens are essentially a giant steamer. The theory is that fewer nutrients are lost with this more gentle (but VERY effective) cooking style, therefore it is a healthier option. These ovens can steam food without fusing flavours, so you can steam veggies and fish at the same time without either flavour crossing over. Steam ovens are not recommended as an alternative to a regular oven, but many have found them a useful addition to their kitchen in conjunction with a regular oven. Some brands are now offering a combination steam/convection oven for those who would like the advantages of both.
If you’re wondering how on earth you’d use a steam oven, have a look at these healthy and delicious steam oven recipes with step by step video instructions.
Single Vs Double Ovens
The size of your kitchen will decide on whether this is even an option. Wide ovens allow bigger dishes and bigger food items to be cooked, but double ovens (which are basically two ovens stacked one on top of the other or side-by-side) allow different settings to be used simultaneously. These are great if you are cooking Christmas dinner every day, have a large family to cater for, or you are an enthusiastic cook.
Buying a wide oven can be tricky, often the capacity of the oven is smaller than the door. Opening the oven or enquiring about the capacity in litres is a must if you are purchasing a wide oven in order to have increased cooking capacity. Don’t be caught out.
Wall Mounted Vs Free Standing
Wall mounted ovens can be installed in your kitchen at whatever height suits you best – under the bench, above the bench, or in between. Greater flexibility in kitchen design is achieved. A more ergonomic cooking experience is presented with wall ovens. Freestanding ovens must stand on the floor, so there is very little variation in the level you will have to stoop to in order to check on dinner.
The designers at Smith & Smith can arrange stylish European appliances for you (from the Baumatic range), or you may select your own appliances from your favourite retailer.
For more information on choosing an oven, see below.