“We light the oven so that everyone may bake bread in it”
It goes without saying that I bake a lot! I still remember how difficult it was to choose an oven for our new kitchen when the kitchen was being remodeled. I wanted the moon, being ‘passionate about baking‘ etc, but finances were a constraint. I asked around a lot, and the choices at the time were minimal. I eventually took a well judged risk as the brand was new to the market. Now things are so much more dynamic … so many choices, online deals, brands exploding out of nowhere, price tags that can make you sing with joy, or sometimes shed a silent tear! The common thread remains however … ‘which oven should I buy’!
A few days ago I wrote an article titled A Commonsense Guide to Basic Baking where I talked about what makes a good bake. Essentially good quality and fresh ingredients, a departure from refined foods towards whole foods, and incorporating native and seasonal produce into our menus. What goes in is what you get, but also equally important are the tools of the trade. It’s prudent to realise that quality bakeware and appliances make a huge difference.While I touched very briefly on kitchen tools, I mentioned ovens as well but didn’t go into the nitty gritty. That said, I get a dozen or more reader emails every month asking advise on which oven to buy, and how to pick the right one. The questions vary from the kind of oven, the ideal size, features, to price and often to brands. Just yesterday I received another similar query, and thought it might be a good idea to jot down a small post.
3 Questions to Ask When Buying a New Oven
A quality oven is the cornerstone of a functional kitchen, but many people are surprised to find how little they know about these machines when it’s time to buy a new one. Shopping for your next oven can be more than a little intimidating with the sheer number of features, options and specs available in the marketplace, and although sorting through them can seem like an overwhelming prospect, understanding what you need to look for when you’re buying a new oven can help you get the best bang for your buck.
Do I Want a Traditional Oven?
When most people call an oven to mind, they picture a standard single box powered by either electric or gas. However, there are many more options that could be the right choice for you depending on your needs, such as dual-fuel ranges that use both gas and electric to provide the ideal heating source for each cooking method. Consider whether your old stove was meeting the needs of your kitchen before committing to a similar or identical model. It’s always a good idea to ask around within your online community or circle for recommendations. For me, it’s also very worth the while reading online reviews too.
What Features Do I Need?
Modern ovens can be highly specialized, so it’s important to consider the exact features you’re looking for, or more specifically, how you will use these features. If your needs are fairly basic, you’ll likely be served well by a premium standard oven like the Blanco Freestanding Cooker from Harvey Norman, but if you bake frequently or often prepare large meals, you may want to consider a double oven, which combines two self-contained chambers that can be set at different temperatures to keep one food warm or even prepare two totally different dishes.
You might want to ask whether you need a counter top ‘stand alone’ oven, or a fitted one. Other common options are an increased number of stovetop burners, built-in griddles, self-cleaning and advanced heat distribution features and other customizations that make a given oven perfect for a specific kitchen.
How Much Do I Want to Spend?
Like with any other higher-end purchase, you should always determine a hard budget before examining the available options. There is little use in falling for a Rs35,000 oven when your budget is closer to Rs1o,000, so set your budget from the start of the process and be on the lookout for seasonal sales, online deals which commonly take place around holiday weekends. It can be extremely helpful to subscribe to email alerts from major appliance retailers in your area to get an idea of the best prices in-store as well as online.
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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India