From wood-burning ovens to iron stoves to microwave ovens, the oven has undergone numerous innovations in just a short span of time.
The first wood-burning oven ever built was in 1490 in Alsace, France. In 1728, the Germans introduced the five plate iron oven which was further developed in the early 1800s by Benjamin Thompson for use in big kitchens. The invention of the kerosene oven and the baseburner soon followed.
If you want a lot of control over your baking then you will want to opt for a gas oven. These have long been used in restaurants and are recently becoming popular in home kitchens as well as homeowners learn about the myriad of benefits that they will enjoy when they buy a gas oven.
Using gas ovens will give you a lot of control over your cooking and allows you to precisely set the temperature at which you want to cook. Additionally, you will experience a shorter preheat time with a gas oven than you will with one that is heated by electricity.
This means that you can heat your oven faster and it will cost less, as well. Gas ovens also cook down very quickly when you turn them off and are well known for heating and cooking food incredibly evenly so you don’t have hot spots in the oven that will burn part of your food.
Cooking with gas creates a moist environment in the oven and you are less likely to accidentally dry out the meal you are making. Using gas to power your oven means that you won’t have monthly bills that are as high as if you were using electricity, as this fuel is not only less expensive, but you won’t need to run your oven as long to heat and cook your meal.
In general, gas ovens are lower maintenance than electric ones, which tend to have faulty parts that need to be replaced much more often. Some of the problems that you may experience with a gas oven include a gas smell due to the valves opening up too early when turning on your oven, and delayed ignition. This occurs when you have blocked ports and you will need an expert to come and clean them out for you.
If you want a reliable oven without having to pay exorbitant prices that are traditionally associated with gas ovens then you will want to consider electric for your home kitchen. These are not only less expensive than gas ovens, but they are incredibly easy to use and don’t experience problems with blocked ports and pilot lights that go out.
You can easily press a button or turn a knob and begin heating up your electric oven instantly. Of course, they do tend to take longer to heat and often have uneven heating spots in the oven, but they are very reliable and easy for any home cook to use.
If you like to roast a lot in your oven then you will love that electric ovens produce dry heat. This means that you have a very dry environment in your oven and don’t have to deal with extra moisture. If you do want to add extra moisture and make the inside of your oven a little more humid you can easily do this by adding a pan of water or spritzing the food that you are going to bake with a little bit of water. This gives you a lot of control over the cooking conditions of your food.
Steam ovens are slowly growing in popularity and are a great alternative for homeowners who want to be able to cook delicious food that is full of nutrients and very good for you. These ovens operate by injecting water in the oven into a boiler. This water can pass through a water line to the boiler or be stored in a separate canister until needed.
Once there, the boiler will create steam and this steam will actually heat up the oven. Not only does this create a very moist cooking environment inside your oven, but greatly reduces the need to use oil when baking which makes it a very healthy alternative to other types of cooking and baking.
If you want your baked food to be very crispy then this may not be the best choice for you, as the amount of steam inside the oven can keep things very moist. However, when you bake with a steam oven you will notice that your cooking times are reduced, your food is more flavorful, and that your food has more nutrients.
You can buy steam ovens in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of your family, but it is important to note that these ovens are going to be much more expensive than electric or gas ovens. One way to bring steam cooking into your home is with a smaller steam oven that sits on the countertop, while if you are convinced that you want a steam over you can find full ovens that have ample room for cooking for your entire family.
If your family loves to make homemade pizza then you probably already know that your regular oven isn’t able to get up to temperatures that are high enough to produce that shattering crisp crust that you love. To make sure that you’re not disappointed every time you make a pizza, if you want to perfect your cooking then you will need a pizza oven. These are specifically designed to be able to handle the high temperatures that pizza needs to be delicious.
While you can buy smaller ovens that fit inside the oven in your kitchen to reach these high temperatures, for the absolute best pizza experience you will want to buy a dedicated pizza oven and install it in your backyard. These can be quite large, depending on how much pizza you want to be able to make at once, and will be able to easily reach the high temperatures that you need to ensure that your pizza is amazing.
Conventional ovens have a stationary heat source that radiates heat in the oven. This heat source is usually at the bottom of the oven, and then the heat is allowed to rise and heat up the oven. The main problem with conventional ovens is that they tend to have pockets of hot air, and this will cause food to cook unevenly and even to burn. Since hot air rises you may find that the top of your food in your oven burns while the underside doesn’t cook all of the way.
Convection ovens have a distinct advantage over conventional ovens, and that’s that they use a fan to help to distribute the hot air evenly throughout the oven. This means that your food will be evenly baked as the hot air will flow around it and you won’t experience as many cold or hot spots.
While you have to worry about where you place your food in a conventional oven, convection ovens are so powerful that they can easily and evenly heat food that is located anywhere inside. Additionally, these ovens tend to run a little cooler since the heating element doesn’t have to be as hot to heat up the inside of the oven.
This cooler temperature means that your oven will last longer, as it won’t wear itself out heating up your food. Cooking with a convection oven means that your food will cook more evenly and will brown better.
There are a few problems with convection ovens, the main one being that the fan requires a motor to work and if this part fails then your oven won’t work properly. They aren’t as reliable as conventional ovens. Another issue occurs when the fan is the wrong size for the oven.
If the fan isn’t large enough to evenly distribute the hot air then you will run into hot spots. Fans that are too large can cause force heat out of the chamber and make your food cook less efficiently. Cooking with a convection oven takes a little practice, as the cooking times are often shorter and temperatures will be different than what you are used to with a conventional oven.
If you like to host large parties or want to make sure that you can cook two types of food at different temperatures at the same time then you will want to opt for a double oven. These are usually stacked on top of each other to help you save room in your home. You can choose from double ovens where the two ovens are the same size or buy one that has a second, smaller oven if you are worried about room in your kitchen.
Make sure when you are buying a double oven that you buy one that has controls that are clearly marked as you do not want to struggle with figuring out which oven you are preheating or changing the temperature, as this can ruin a meal that you’re making. Additionally, some double ovens come with a convection and a conventional oven, and knowing which is which will ensure that your baking and cooking goes smoothly.
This is the most common type of oven that is available and allows the user to cook foods at one temperature. They are great in even smaller kitchens, as they don’t take up as much room as a double oven, and are incredibly reliable, with fewer parts to worry about breaking or failing. Unless you entertain a lot or have a very large family, you will usually be able to get away with having just a single oven in your home and will find that it offers plenty of cooking space for your needs.
Wall ovens typically offer more cooking space and are incredibly easy to get food in and out of. Since you do not have to bend down to use a wall oven, it’s easy for anyone to cook, even if you have problems kneeling or bending. This is especially important and helpful when you are going to be transferring and moving hot food through the kitchen, as you will be much less likely to drop the food.
Wall ovens do not offer the space for a cooktop, so you will have two dedicated cooking areas in your kitchen. If you have a smaller kitchen then this can take up too much space and make it difficult to locate other appliances and items in your kitchen. Additionally, wall ovens tend to be more expensive in the long run since you will have to, at some time, buy a cooktop to cook on, as well.
If you have a designated spot in your kitchen for an oven then you will need to consider a slide-in oven. These can fit in between other appliances and countertops and, when measured correctly, won’t have any problems fitting into the space. Slide-in ovens have to be perfectly sized or you will run into problems.
Depending on the design of your kitchen you may want to buy a drop-in oven. These look great when flush and even with the countertop and the cabinets in your kitchen and can easily create a seamless look that is modern and updated.
Freestanding ovens are really popular and easy to find and for good reason. They can be located anywhere in the kitchen, are easy to move if you have the correct hook-ups and outlets, and are less expensive than wall ovens. They generally have a cooktop on top of the appliance, and this means that you don’t have to find additional space in your kitchen for this cooktop. They look a little more industrial and can add a lot of interest to your kitchen. Unfortunately, you will have to bend down to access the food in the oven, which is not only difficult for some people to do but can also be dangerous depending on what you are trying to bake.
Keeping items warm before a meal is important, and a warming drawer makes it really easy to do this. After you have baked an item you can place it into the warming drawer where it will be held at a perfect temperature. This frees up your oven for baking additional items and allows you to adjust the temperature of the oven, if needed.
While some people use their warming drawers to store pots, pans, and lids, this is not a good idea. If you want extra storage in your oven then you need to make sure that you buy one that has an actual storage drawer. This drawer will be better protected from the heat of the oven and you won’t have to worry about the items that you have in storage being heated to high temperatures. While you do want to be cautious about what you place in a storage drawer as it still will be near the heat of the oven, this is a great way to keep pots and pans close to where you will be using them.
Due to the nature of how they’re used, ovens tend to get really dirty, especially if you had a spill and the food baked onto the floor or walls of the oven. In the past it would take harsh chemicals and a lot of elbow grease to clean dirty ovens, but newer ones are self-cleaning, and this feature makes enjoying a clean oven again fast and easy.
If you don’t want to spend all of your time cleaning your dirty oven but know that you are going to have to from time to time then you will want to find an oven that has this feature. Ovens with this feature have extra insulation so that the oven can safely reach the high temperatures that are needed to self-clean, which also means that they will be able to reach and hold high temperatures reliably when you are baking.
The problem with using the self-cleaning feature on an oven is that it tends to produce a lot of smoke due to burning off the leftover food. This smoke can sometimes set off a fire alarm or cause eye irritation.
If you love to bake bread then you know how important it is to allow it to proof before baking it and how difficult it can be to get your bread to sufficiently proof if it is really cold in your kitchen. A dedicated proofing drawer ensures that your bread is held at the right temperature for proofing so that you don’t have to worry about timing for your fresh bread. The perfect proofing temperature is important so that you don’t accidentally over-proof your bread and so that you can bake it when you need it, ensuring hot bread on demand.
Multiple Cooking Functions
Depending on how much you like to cook and if you want a lot of options and control over your oven, you will want to look for one that offers multiple cooking functions. These functions will allow you to perfect each meal that you make and ensure that you have complete control over what you are cooking.
In addition to regular baking, many ovens offer features such as defrosting mode, fast cooking, delicate cooking, “top” oven, and grilling. What you decide to use is up to you, but if you opt for an oven with all of these cooking functions then the best way to get the most for your money is to spend some time learning about these functions and seeing how they can help to improve your cooking.
If controlling your oven from your phone sounds appealing to you then you will want to look for an oven that has integrated Wi-Fi technology. This will allow you to control your oven via an app on your phone or on your tablet, allowing you to monitor cooking from anywhere in your home and also to make adjustments to the temperature or the time remaining on the timer.
Some Wi-Fi enable ovens also respond to voice commands so you can talk to your oven while your hands are dirty or busy and adjust the temperature, turn the oven on, and turn it off. This is a great feature for busy cooks who need to have control over their ovens but often find it difficult to clean their hands when they need to make adjustments to their oven.
Have fresh cookies ready immediately after dinner or a breakfast casserole hot and ready when you get up when you opt for an oven that has a delay bake feature. This will let you set the time and temperature that you want your oven to bake and it will turn on at the preset time. For hands-off control in the kitchen so you don’t have to stand around and monitor your oven, this is a great feature.
While it is important to keep an eye on the food that you’re baking to make sure that it doesn’t burn, each time that you open the door of your oven you let out a lot of heat and can upset the baking process. To ensure that you can see what’s going on in the oven without opening the door you will want to buy an oven that comes with a large window.
Combined with a strong interior light, this will let you see all areas of the oven so that you can check on your food without opening the door and dropping the temperature. Many ovens come with smaller windows that allow you to see a certain area of the oven, but large windows will let you see from top to bottom and all of the racks so you can make sure that nothing is accidentally burning.