The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Choosing a new oven

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Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Choosing a new oven

I have the opportunity to switch to a gas range due to our housefire. They have to replace our fireplace and the Maricopa county no longer allows wood burning fireplaces unless they are EPA certified. Therefore, it's more cost efficient to switch to a propane (no natural gas in our neighborhood yet) fireplace. They have given me the option. I think I'd prefer propane as I'll probably use it more, especially on nights when my husband is gone and when I just want to take the chill off the room.


The biggest bonus of propane though, an excuse to get a gas stove!!!! I love cooking on a gas stove! What I'd like to know though, is what about the oven? There are dual fuel choices, using electric for the oven, gas for the stove. This is what the guy doing the fireplace recommends. (does he really know anything about cooking?) But, is this just a fad? My main concern is the best cooking oven, efficiency being a close second.


I found a nice dual fuel range with a convection oven, two ovens stacked which matches what I currently have except right now I don't have convection. It's the same 30", basically just adding the gas stovetop and convection feature to my ovens. Currently I have a Maytag Gemini but the one I found that is similar is a Jenn-Air.


Any recommendations? My goal is to stay under $2,000. Insurance will not be paying for my new oven.


Tracy

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Tracy,


I have only baked a few times in a gas oven and I didn't care for it. There may be work around fixes but short of covering every bake with a pan I don't care for the results in gas. Every other kind of food is great from what I hear.


Propane would be expensive to run the oven also. Dual fuel would be my choice. I love my gas stove top. My two cents.


Eric

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I do 95% of the cooking and baking in our home. I've been using a dual-fuel range for eight years, (propane fed), and I'm 100% satisfied with it. I've read--long forgotten where--that gas ovens tend to dry out foods prepared in them. Can't vouch for it personally.


David G.

tabasco's picture
tabasco

 


I read the same thing about Gas Ovens drying out baked goods, especially cakes, but can't confirm from personal experience.


I do have a new Kitchen Aid electric double oven with 'Convection' and a 'Bread Proof' cycles and those features have been very very handy.  And they say Convection saves energy. 


And I have a new Jenn-Air downdraft gas cook top.  I wish I had listened to the salesman and purchased something else, but I needed that particular size with a downdraft.  The center Down Draft sucks all the heat away.  And besides that, the burners don't get all that 'hot' anyway~~be sure to check the BTUs for each burner so that you will have enough energy to boil up a good hot kettle of water on at least one burner or heat up a saute a pan for cutlets.


I also read that the Europeans are going to Induction Stove Tops to save energy and I understand they are more efficient    http://theinductionsite.com/how-induction-works.shtml  I had a Jenn Air 'Induction cook top' prior to my gas replacement and I thought I didn't like it.  But now I realize the induction burners heated things up faster and better than my new gas Jenn-Air.  And I wish I hadn't been so stuck on getting gas.


So, that's my 2 cents.  I hope I haven't confused you more and I wish you good luck!  I know there are so many choices out there it can be mind boggling.  (-:


 

KenK's picture
KenK

I have an LPG range and the oven works fine.  The cook top burners are horrible though.  It has been a huge disapointment.


I think most/all/some natural gas ranges can be converted to propane very simply and they will do it as a matter of course during installation.  


The trouble is, propane is not as "hot" as natural gas so be sure to use due diligence when choosing which range to buy.

Jessica Weissman's picture
Jessica Weissman

Many years ago I had an LPG range - the oven was great but the burners didn't get how enough to do stirfry.


I've been baking in a gas oven for decades now, and have had no trouble attributable to the fuel.  Maybe to my own skill levels, but not to the fuel.

juniperjan's picture
juniperjan

We have a Maytag Precision Touch Range that was converted from natural gas to propane.  We bought it when we moved to our "new" house in Wyoming. 


KenK is right about being able to convert most gas appliances.  I don't think the salespeople want you to know that if it will affect their commision.  We were able to convert a LG dryer, Weber Grill and the range all to propane.  Check with your installer.


As far as baking and cooking go things have been great.  My bread baking issues seem to be related more to adapting to the effects of elevation and lack of humidity here.   I was a sea level baker before. The stove top burns pretty hot and we probably need to turn the gas pressure down as it goes into the house.


As far as energy use goes we have a 250-300 gallon tank which was filled three years ago and is currently at about 40% full.  It is used strictly for appliances as the house is heated by electric radiant, passive solar and a wood stove.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

Thanks so far for all the information. I've been using propane in the camper for the past two months and remember how much I really missed my propane stove in my house in Oklahoma. (although every time I do major cooking on electric I curse it and wish for gas)


I'm also planning to start canning this summer as my garden is being expanded by about 10X so I need a gas stovetop for the pressure cooker. I can't use my pressure cooker on an electric stovetop so will be forced to go outside to use the grill which is not a pleasant thought in Phoenix during the summer or even September heat.


Still not entirely sure on the oven. Sounds like electric/convection is the way to go, although I never had any issues with my propane oven in the past and it didn't seem to use a terrible amount of propane. I wasn't doing a lot of baking back then either. It seems electric is easier to steam because there are no vent blocking safety issues. Wish I could afford something really nice made for baking bread but as I'm hopefully only going to live here another 3 years I don't see the point in a bread baking oven that I can't take with me.


My next house now, that I build myself on about 120 acres in the country. Watch out, that will be my dream kitchen!!

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

and add that you should look for a convection oven that will go both ways.  We have a GE Profile oven that can be run as either a convection oven or as a plain oven.  I find it preheats faster on convection, so I get it hot first with that, then switch to regular baking to finish the preheating.  I then bake on non-convection heat.  I am very pleased with the even heat distribution, and it is amply large.  It also holds steam well.  I've baked four battard loaves at once successfully without the need to rotate.


If you have experience with propane other than your RV stint then you already know what to expect there.  My only experience with propane is in our own RV, and I would not want to have to bake much bread there!  I'm sure it is more the fault of the oven than the fuel though, since it's only about the size of four shoe boxes stacked 2 x 2!


Happy hunting (for your new appliances)
OldWoodenSpoon

CallmePeggy's picture
CallmePeggy

I have my 2nd duel fuel and given the choice, I'd never have anything but one.  My 1st was a Jenn-Aire when I remodled my kitchen in Michigan about 15 years ago.  When we moved from PA to FL 4 years ago, it was to a new house and I chose to have a Bosch Duel Fuel here.  I have baked with natural gas/propane and electric and I love cooking with gas and baking with electric!!  Just my 2 cents.......  Peggy

MichaelH's picture
MichaelH

We have a Wolf dual fuel with gas stovetop and double electric convection ovens. Once you get past the price tag this range is a dream. The downside is that building codes require a commercial vent hood with 1500 cfm capacity. The gas/electric/convection combination means you need not ever be held back because of an inferior appliance.

mete's picture
mete

I have a 'commercial type' LPG stove with convection.I find the convection great for meat but not much use for bread.


One thing I always have ,which I picked up from being a metallurgist , is to add a heat absorbing material to minimise temperature fluctuations. This is now two baking stones but I've even used fire brick. I highly recommend this.

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I'm leaning toward the dual energy stove with convection. I love the propane stove. I've never used convection before so I have no experience with that whatsoever.


As far as the addition of heat absorbing material, right now I have a paver brick nearly the full size of the RV oven sitting on the bottom of the oven. It's about 1 1/2 inches thick and has made a big difference in my ability to bake bread. (although I still have a bit of difficulty with getting the top done enough before the bottom is too burned)


So, now, just hoping I'll be able to afford what I want. I really would like to replace the double ovens that I have right now, one on top of the other underneath the 30" stove. Not many of those out there like that. It really comes in handy and I have no other place to put an extra range in my kitchen.


What a pleasure it will be to have a full size real oven again after this RV!

Broc's picture
Broc

So sorry you're working through a fire!  We did a $50,00o house fire in a $65,000 home about twenty years ago -- and we were out for more than six months.  I wish that on noone!


But -- you mentioned the up-side!  You get to "fix" stuff the way you want it to be.


I'll let others advise you about your stove and oven [not my forte].  The only thing I know is that sales-creatures [having been one] will steer you towards what's best for them.


But -- about your fireplace -- Which I do know something of...  Any open fireplace, even a gas/ceramic-log, will suck more heat out of your home than it's worth.  If you want heat, check into a closed system, which draws in from outside air for combustion.


If you really need heat efficiency, use a stove which is set inside what looks to be a fireplace with a mantel.  Use lots of brick work to trap the heat... creating a radiating wall of heat, which is released back into the room through natural vents.


This means paying a mason to do his stuff -- but once-upon-a-once, living in Canada, our closed-system woodburner, combined with such radiating chamber[s], kept the entire home warm to -40F...  Then, we had to add the furnace.


Good luck!  Again -- Sorry for your disaster! 


Be happy!  It will be better!  You'll get out of your mess!


~ Broc


 


 


 


 

Thomas Mc's picture
Thomas Mc

We switched from electric to gas convection when we remodelled the kitchen a little over a year ago, and love the oven. At this altitude you have to keep a pan of water in the bottom of the oven anyway, but that just means good steam for baking bread. The convection is great for even heat distribution, you don't ever have to open the oven to turn your loaves around. The one thing to consider, is that unlike an electric oven, a gas oven is vented (you can't burn the gas without air intake, too), so you will heat up the house more. In the winter that is fine, but in the summer it might be a problem. (I bake a lot with solar in the summer).


 

ErikVegas's picture
ErikVegas

As someone who knows from experience.  I do all my cooking and baking on a gas oven and range.  I do have a convecion oven which I have fallen in love with and I have layered the racks of my oven with salito tiles from home depot to create a "hearth" oven.  I have no issues at all with baking in the oven.  Everything comes out great, I dont dry out my foods, and its cheaper to operate than electric.  Whatever you decide the insulation of the oven (how well it reatains heat) is way more important that the fuel souce when it comes to baking. 


 


Erik