The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Seeking recommendations on countertop oven

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Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Seeking recommendations on countertop oven

My big oven is great for baking a pair of full-size loaves.  But I'm a singleton who would rather freeze formed mini-loaves and bake fresh every day or two.  That way I can always have fresh bread.  I'm not asking for too much, am I?  But I don't want to be wasteful of energy.

I have a toaster oven that works for micro-loaves (roll-size and slightly larger), but not for mini-loaves.  I'm thinking about getting a larger toaster oven, maybe with convection, and I'm looking for recommendations and tips.

Rosalie

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

On our counter sits a Munsey, that's all it says.  It's a toaster oven that fit's a small loaf.  A pound size about all it'll hold, and that's tricky.

 

Most of the loaves we make in there are smaller, and we use a glass casserole dish with a lid.  That way the coils on top don't leave their mark, so much.  During the winter we enjoyed a hot loaf of bred at bed time almost every day.  Summer brings so many things to do, and the kitchen is already hot. sigh;  It still gets used though, just not so much.

 

Sorry i can't tell you more about it, we found it in a thrift store.  Actually looking for one, that size, amazing.

 

Toaster ovens are a fun way to make a little loaf, and with just the two of us, it's well worth it.  Hope you find a nice one, keep us posted.

 

jeffrey

 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

me started on this site! When looking, make sure the coils (if exposed) on the bottom are close together and more in the middle than on the outside edge. The top coils just the opposite. The glass casserole or an oven proof ceramic casserole with lid works the best for distributing heat without steam. I also recommend oven gloves, because there is so little room to maneuver. I've had two no-name brands. --Mini Oven

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

Rosalie, I'm in the same boat. Before I started baking bread, I had planned to get a larger (6 slice) toaster oven for other kitchen tasks. But I'm not sure many of those would handle bread baking OK. After reading a lot of discussions, I've realized that what I would really like to have is a $400 Cadco. But I'm not at all sure I want to spend that much money on a countertop oven. Here are a couple of links.

This first is a discussion on eGullet forums.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=18411

The 2nd is my post asking about a countertop oven in an Appliance Forum. If you follow the links there, you'll get some more info. Just below it is link to a discussion of toaster ovens.

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/appl/msg060013484058.html

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/appl/msg0214054725552.html

This link is to Cooks Illusrated ratings on 6 slice toaster ovens. For those of you who don't subscribe there, here's a brief summary. They found only one that both made great toast and cooked well. That was the Krups FBC412 at $200. It was rated good for everything, except cleanup which was rated fair. They didn't specifically test bread baking in any of the ovens.

Recommended with reservations were the Oster #6292 at $99 and the Cuisinart TOB-175BC at $180. Both of these were rated poor for toasting, fair for cooking, good for both design and accuracy and poor for cleanup. The other 5 models they looked at were not recommended at all. My sister has the Cuisinart and likes it a lot, though she hasn't tried it for baking bread.

http://www.cooksillustrated.com/images/document/testing/MJ07_Testing-ToasterOvens.pdf

This may be more info than you want to wade through! Sorry I've no personal experience to offer you. If you do purchase one, please let us know how it does.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I really appreciate all your information, and I studied it all. And I do remember the Cooks Illustrated article. One problem with that article is that they put a lot of weight on toast (after all we ARE talking about TOASTER ovens), but I don't need it for that. I have a perfectly fine toaster, thank you.

I was in town today and popped into Bed Bath & Beyond - just to look, mind you. But I found one that seemed perfect - the Oster 6248. It has convection; it has two racks, and the upper one can be removed for taller items, like bread. Of course, they only had about five choices, and none of the others was close. It remains to be seen how perfect it is. I did inquire about the return policy, and the kid seemed to think that there'd be no problem as long as I had the receipt.

I came home and went online to find out more about it. It seems that it's been discontinued. Meanwhile, I could scarcely find a review of it - there was one that said, "Recommended!" and another that appeared to be a plant (maybe it wasn't, but it read like one).

So I guess I'm going to have to unpack it and figure out where to put it. The space where the other toaster oven is probably is too small. But where there's a will and a potential for more fresh homemade bread, there's a way.

Rosalie

SDbaker's picture
SDbaker

Rosalie, I love to know how it turns out!  I was looking at countertop versions today.  I will be doing 6 months of temporary duty in Tampa, FL and likely staying in a hotel or bachelor housing..and I am already thinking of how I am going to bake. 

 SD Baker

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Rosalie, glad you found a toaster oven and we all look forward to hearing how you like it and maybe seeing pictures of your bread. I have what may be a silly question, but you say that you have a perfectly fine toaster and I would like to know what brand it is? When my last one died I replaced it with a Toastmaster which is totally pathetic. (It was cheap, serves me right.) My last copy of the Vermont Country Store flyer showed a toaster from England made by Russell Hobbs. They claimed to have tested many toasters and this was the best. Pretty pricey but maybe it would see me out, as my mama used to say. All this because whenever my bread isn't as perfect as I had hoped (frequently) I console myself with the thought that it makes great toast. Yesterday I made the NKB using some spelt flour plus steel cut oats, and tried cooking it from cold. Not bad, but the crumb wasn't holey. Great toasted with butter and Marmite! A

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

My toaster is Procter-Silex, and I got it a couple years ago at K-Mart.  It has a plastic housing and was under $20.  After I got it, there was a review in Consumer Reports that listed it as a Best Buy because it was highly rated and low cost.  It only does two slices, but thats all I need, and sometimes more than I need.

Rosalie

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I hope you can tell us it works great, so I can quit wondering which one to get. The bb&b website lists 2 Oster ovens, #6052 4-slice toaster oven, and #6248 Digital Convection Stainless Steel Toaster Oven. Which one did you get?

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I got the Oster 6248 for $100.

Rosalie

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Thanks, Rosalie. K-Mart is an hours drive from here but I will check Ace as well. How are you liking the new toaster oven? A

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I had my first trial with the new toaster oven this morning.  I had a defrosted micro-loaf to bake.  It was interesting, and I definitely can't draw any conclusions yet.

I've been having questions about these particular micro-loaves (I froze them after I shaped them), and I had the same difficulties as the last time.

I thought I was being clever by placing two oven thermometers inside to test evenness of heating, but now I just have questions about the two oven thermometers.

The buttons are hard to push and the appliance kept sliding toward the back wall.  But it didn't get that hot underneath, so I'll put something there to keep it in place.

And, of course, I have to figure out how to fake it out.  You plug it in and it's automatically set to 350 degrees and 0 minutes.  You have to set the timer, and it will turn off after that time.  Good idea in case you're a forgetful person.  But you pre-heat - for how long?  And then you place the item in ....  Anyway, it's just a matter of getting to know it, and hopefully bonding.

Bottom line is that the bread turned out just fine.  I'll report back again in a few days.  Stay tuned.

Rosalie

Jeffrey's picture
Jeffrey

hi Rosalie,

 

We let it heat up for about ten minnutes, it doesn't take long to get it warmed up.  Do be carefull if you use a glass pan, it gets really hot. 

 

Maybe i'll try the timer, guess not, the wife said it doesn't work, it just makes noise.

 

good luck

jeffrey

marklwitt's picture
marklwitt

Check out my Breadmaking videos at www.breadtechnique.com

I have a countertop convection that I bought on ebay that I haven't used for a long time, but I remember this.  When I covered the baking rack with unglazed quarry tile it worked much better.  The reason is simple.  When you open the door the hot air escapes and there is limited hot surface to help the oven recover.  Quarry tile acts as a heat battery and evens out the recovery. 

toddster63's picture
toddster63

Rosalie--I am considering buying the Oster 6248 at BB&B as well, but need to know the interior dimensions of the baking area...?
More specifically if my 13.5" long baking sheets will fit...? Can't find this information anywhere on the web...!
If you could help, it would be most appreciated!
Thanks,
Todd

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

It's 12 inches from left wall to right wall, and about 10 inches front to back, depending on where you measure that.

Rosalie

toddster63's picture
toddster63

Thanks, Rosalie, I just found out it's the 60508 model from Oster that I need--much roomier--13.5" X 12"interior, more suited for baking larger items.
Thanks again, I really appreciate it...
Todd

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I have an update on using my toaster oven.  I've had it for a week, and, yes, we're bonding.  I even used it for toasting today (since I was already using it for baking).

The only complaint I have is that crusts are being singed.  Maybe I need to be more careful about centering the loaves between the elements (I was pushing them to the back).  There are two racks, and they can be put in so that the items are a little higher or a little lower.  Today I baked a full-size loaf (batter whole wheat from Fanny Farmer), and I used the lower rack placed so that the loaf was lower.  The parts that were further to the back and closer to the elements (both top and bottom) are darker than they should be.

I love the big (clean, so far) window.  And, because of the way the racks are shaped, they make great cooling racks too.

I don't think the singeing is going to affect the flavor (maybe even make it better?).  So it looks like the Oster and I are going to be good friends.

Rosalie

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

you loaves 180 degrees half way through baking. My bread tends to brown more on the backside, so I always rotate them for even color.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sometime the racks can go in upside down for finer adjustments.   Just a few thoughts.  Well, my flight leaves in 2 hours and sooner or later I'm in the windy city.  Hope my baggage makes the next connection.  See ya'll later.  --Mini Oven

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I am forbidden by the manual to use aluminum foil.

And, yes, I've been pondering how to use the racks.  As it is, I had the loaf (a full-sized one) as far from the top elements as possible.  Centering and turning are my best options so far.

Rosalie

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So I wing it. Alu can burn through if it touches the coils, maybe that's why, avoid the coils. I quickly place the foil directly on the crust first shaping it a little and trimming off any excess. I have to turn my loaf too. (My Aunt uses the tiny loaf pans and she suggests turning them diagonally in the oven.) I find when I shove a small loaf pan all the way to the back with an inch of wall space it comes out better than in the center. :)

While I was out... my scales was placed on the oven and got baked with the pizza. Only 5 weeks to go and I have to buy a new scales? I turned it on only to hear it wimper under the Cruciatus Curse. Oh vay... :(   Mini Oven

marklwitt's picture
marklwitt

Check out my Breadmaking videos at www.breadtechnique.com

Foil can break loose and little bits get stuck in the fan of a convection oven.  That is probably what the manufacturer is concerned about.  I worked in a commercial kitchen where the maintenance people were constantly disassembling the fans in the convection ovens to clean out foil.  Just a thought.  Can't think of any other possible reason for it.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Mini Oven