A lot of our students are asking,” What is the best type of oven to use?”
But before we go deeper into choosing your oven, let me share with you my experience since a lot are already asking what type of oven I use.
Back in 2009, I started out with a small La Germania oven with stove top. This is actually owned by my mother-in-law. She just got it as a prize from a raffle and never used it until I came. (My husband and I are living with them up until now).
I’m a total beginner. So this became my practice oven. I just love eating desserts that’s why baking sparked interest.
I have been using it for several months then I upgraded to the ELBA Cookshow gas range which can fit a maximum of 4 regular trays.
Reason For Upgrading
Orders are pouring in and baking in a small oven is so time consuming. You get twice the work compared to having a big oven. Specially when you’re baking cookies. My 1st oven can only accommodate 1 tray because if I will put 2 trays, the ones at the bottom will cook fast and get burnt. I felt so tired at the end of baking. It feels like that this is more of a chore instead of something I like to do.
Things To Consider Before Buying
So, after telling you my story, you might already have an idea on what I’m going to drive at. We’re going to help you decide on what oven to purchase. So, read on.
Purpose For Buying The Oven
First, determine if the oven is only for home use. Will you just be baking occasionally for your family? Or you are you planning to go into business?
How much can you afford? These days, there are a lot of models to choose from. I’m sure that there should be one that would fit your budget.
But also, refer back to your purpose for buying an oven. If you are thinking of going into the baking business it will be beneficial if you choose a bigger more expensive but more efficient model. This will help you save a lot of pesos in the long run.
Oven are now more affordable than ever. We also have more choices to choose from to suit our needs. Also, these ovens are equipped with different safety features. You might also want to consider its insulation. You can consider the type that would be most beneficial for you in terms of safety. Aside from its main function, of course.
Kitchen Space And Oven size
You should also consider the size of your kitchen. Where will you place the oven? Do you own the place or are you renting? If living in a condo, would you have enough space and ventilation? Would a table top, wall or free standing oven be best for you?
Think also of the energy that will be spent while using the oven. A larger oven would require a little more energy to heat up since it has more area than a smaller one. In terms of the number of items you can bake, a bigger oven would enable you to bake more per batch versus a smaller oven which you may need to do more batches. A larger oven would be more efficient when baking a lot of items. But if you’re just baking a small batch then this would mean more fuel wastage. Remember that the oven is heating up the whole space not just the items inside.
There are a lot of small ovens in the market right now such as the Hanabishi HEO-90RSS with 90L capacity or the Kyowa KW-3315 with 45L capacity. I’m not against these ovens as I also have the Kyowa but they have their purpose. I’m ONLY using it for baking my polymer clay stuff as I don’t want to mix non food items in my regular oven.
Small ovens like these are good for hobby bakers like if you’re just doing occasional baking but I wouldn’t recommended these if you’re planning to use it for business specially if you’re going to do continuous baking.
Conventional or Convection
After going through the things needed to be considered before buying an oven, here we are at another fork on the road. What type of oven do you need?
Conventional or Convection? Well, let us define the two.
Conventional ovens are ovens have a more traditional design and simply envelopes whatever you put inside of it with hot air. Fire is normally at the bottom so food placed at the bottom rack cooks faster than the one on top. These ovens have hot spots which results in uneven cooking.
Convection ovens works by circulating hot air around the oven with the aid of a fan. It cooks the food by heating up the air around the food. These type of oven makes cooking faster since it circulates the heat. This makes for a more even browning or cooking. Temperatures can be set lower and let the circulation of heat make up for the lower heat. Since heat distribution can be made even, more items can be put in for a more efficient cooking.
The fan and exhaust remove moisture created in the cooking process, thus, resulting in a cake that is dry or a cake that is cooked well on the outside and still raw in the inside. So if you want to have a crispy top for your chicken, or have some baked goods that needs to be crispy and dry, convection oven is the way to go.
However hot spots can still occur. Since convection works with air flow, pans can disrupt the flow of air. It is best not to overcrowd the oven and to use pans with low sides and to rotate the items being cooked inside.
If you want to have a steady rise or if you’re baking delicate cakes like chiffon or a souffle, conventional ovens are perfect for the job.
If you’re using convection ovens, DON’T turn ON the fan when you’re baking with meringue based cakes like a brazo mercedes. This is one reason of meringue deflating after baking.
One tip that I got from one of our instructors Chef Joey Prats is, you need to put water in a shallow pan and place it in your convection oven while baking. This allows more moisture in the air and a slower, more even bake.
Convection ovens tend to change the texture of the food too. When you remove the moisture from a loaf of bread, the cooking process changes the composition of the dough.
- No fan
- Uneven cooking.
- Heating up the air around the food.
- Creates moisture in the air resulting to moist cakes
- With fan
- Faster cook times
- Energy efficient. Lower energy bills.
- Can reach temperature quickly.
- Even distribution of heat. Dishes cook evenly.
- Tend to change the texture of the food
- Circulating hot air around the oven.
Gas vs Electric
Let us first take a look at the characteristics of ovens which uses these fuels.
There are two types of gas fuel for the oven. There is Natural Gas and Liquified Petroleum Gas or LPG. Natural Gas is commonly found in developed countries where the supply comes from main line from the utility company. LPG on the other hand comes in a form of metal storage or propane tank and is used when there is no gas line available or electricity.
In a gas oven, the heat comes from the bottom. If you will get a chance to open up the base you would see ports where the gasses come out and ignited to start a flame. The heat produced by the flame rises up to heat the inside of the oven. You would notice that the things you cook at the bottom rack cooks faster. Once you have known your oven you can time the switching of pans to ensure even cooking.
Gas ovens are known for their hot spots. These are the hottest areas of the oven. This is due to the flow of heat throughout the oven which vary depending on the size, make and even the pans inside. Some gas oven are equipped with fans to help circulate the heat.
It is harder to get the exact temperature from gas ovens at the start. Other than ambient temperature most are analog in design where you rely on a valve that controls the flow of gas. Some oven may have the temperature on the dials or a table corresponding to the numbers on the dial but usually are different when you compare it to when you use an oven thermometer. This is due to many factors such as the flow of gas, ambient temperature and heat distribution inside among others.
Gas ovens are humid. This is because gases when burned emits water vapors which helps food being cooked from drying easily. This makes your cakes, cookies and even meats less dry.
There is a matter of safety. A number of gas ovens now has safety devices installed on each of them which prevents you from running the oven should any of them fails. It is good to always check the regulator, hoses and equipment regularly.
Electric ovens used to be really expensive but now the price gap between the gas and electric oven are much closer.
Electric ovens can heat up fairly quickly and can heat up evenly since the heating elements can be placed around the oven. There is less hot spots but like the gas oven anything you put in may disrupt the flow of heat.
The control of heat in an electric oven is more precise than gas however like all appliances may need calibration as it ages or dirt builds up. It is always best to use an oven thermometer.
Since there are no gases being burned there is little to no water vapor produced which makes the food prone to drying.
Like gas ovens there are safety equipment that comes with you electric oven. To avoid any shorts ensure that you have the proper circuit breaker to where your oven is connected to.
To make it easier to remember, here’s a summary:
- Moist environment
- Have hot spots
- Gas tank can be easily replaced.
- Gas leaks.
- Less humidity
- Less hot spots.
- Even distribution of heat.
- Can’t bake if there’s no power.
- It will not burn your eyebrows.
The Oven Thermometer
“Each oven is different, so you need to to standardize your recipes based on your equipment specs.” – Chef Joey Prats
Even if we have the same brand and model number, even if you have the most expensive oven or the cheapest, it will still perform differently. That is why this little unassuming gadget is essential to the baking process.
The oven thermometer! This gadget made of stainless steel is used to check the temperature of the oven and to ensure that the temperature is consistent throughout the baking process.
All recipes that you will find in our classes and in the internet are just guides. You can customize your recipe as you get to know your oven more. Of course, with the help of our little oven thermometer.
A Little Recommendation
For the ones serious in pursuing a business, go with DURAFOURS or DCM. At least in my opinion, these brands will give you more bang for your buck. They are getting great reviews. It may cost a bit more but it will definitely pay for itself and will save you more pesos in the long run. Consider it as an investment.
Oven Safety Tips
Finally, you’ve decided on what type of oven to buy and you’re excited to use it! But first, here are some oven safety tips:
- Make sure you have ample space and ventilation for your oven.
- Allow enough space between your oven and other appliances such as the refrigerator.
- Make sure that there is enough space between the oven and the wall.
- Remove all plastic packaging in and around the oven.
- Heat your oven to high and leave it on for a few minutes. This would get rid of the fumes from the factory.
- Do not use your oven as an extension of your pantry or refrigerator.
- Make sure to have a fire extinguisher within reach and you must know how to use it.
- Position your oven racks before heating to avoid burning your arms or hands.
Oven Care Tips
To ensure that your oven serves you well and would last a long time, you must also take care of it like a best friend. The oven is a home baker’s best friend, after all.
- Clean your oven regularly to avoid residue build-up and food contamination. Don’t forget to include the exterior and the glass.
- You may use lemon and baking soda or an all purpose cleaner in cleaning your oven.
- Calibrate your oven for better baking results. It is time to calibrate your oven when it is giving uneven temperature and not maintaining the heat.
- Have your oven checked at least once a year by a professional.
Do you find this article helpful? Or do you have other questions that is not discussed in this post?
Let us know in the comments section below.