The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

buying a new range

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weitzelm's picture

buying a new range

Hi everyone-I have a general question about ranges.  I'm in the market for a new one, around $2,000, although everything I like seems to exceed that price. I like knobs as opposed to touch pads (e.g I have no interest in the new Frigidaire that has a "chicken nugget" button).  I'd also like it to be 30-36", with continuous sealed burners, and stainless steel or color.  I do like to bake and want to become a better baker and I am learning that convection is not too useful in bread baking-but was still considering convection-either gas or dual fuel.

I am looking at two models but open to anything.

The GE Cafe seems to have all kinds of bells and whistles and I like the look even if there is some touch pad-I can get it for around $2600.

I can also get a Viking with matching hood for $4,000 (model #VGSC3064B in mint julep, which is why I suspect it is marked down).

I'm overwhelmed and figure if anyone has a strong opinion on ranges it  would be bread makers. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

KenK's picture

In the past month or three Consumer Reports had a test on ranges.  Their ratings were surprising in how little they correlated to cost.

I have a gas range that I despise.  I have a hard time replacing something that works (even if poorly) but I think I'm going back to electric the next time I have to replace the oven ignitor.

LindyD's picture

I've been mulling over your question during dinner.  I use the oven in my almost two-year old natural gas range primarily for baking bread.

I happen to really like my stove because the oven is very well insulated and the temperature is consistent throughout the oven.  Thanks to that, I don't have to rotate my loaves.  No service calls, either.

If the oven had steam injection, it would be perfect.

So, aside from whatever bells and whistles turn you on as far as the cooktop and controls go, for bread baking I think a well insulated oven that provides even heating throughout and steam injection would be terrific.  Naturally a good record on reliability is important, too. 

Good luck in your quest and I hope you are delighted with your final choice.

bwaddle's picture

I have an Imperial - like a Viking - commercial gas oven. I bought it new at a restaurant auction for $1,000.

Bells and whistles - none that I know of, but this baby will cook!!!. No touch pad. Nothing to break or wear out. 36" wide, 6 burners, 2 oven rack positions (but I add more by using wire cooling racks inside).

I don't know where you live; but, if they have restaurant auctions, that might be a resource for you.


Bettie in Dallas


rhomp2002's picture

Many communities will not allow you to have a commercial range in a private home.  I would be sure to check with the town to see if it allowed.

Check the garden web website forums.  I just did a search there using the argument

"range $2000" and found one that had several suggestions and also asked some good questions.


and do a search there.  They have a lot of people who have done research on all sorts of remodeling and replacing appliances and they tend to name names of who is good and who they found lacking.



LindyD's picture

Chef's Talk has details on why true commerical ranges are not a good idea for the home kitchen.  Unless you want to spend lots and lots of money.

bwaddle's picture

I probably should have added this to my post.

I'm in Dallas, so a lot of resources are available here that you might not have in a smaller town.

I had the stove installed by a restaurant-class plumber. I bought two asbestos shields, one behind the stove and one under it. Ten or so dollars each. Aside: the guy lifted the stove while I slid one shield underneath it; he must have had his Wheaties that day!

The plumber installed a device that torqued the gas flow down to residential output. I don't use the pilot lights on the stove top; I just light each burner when I need it.

My hood was already vented to the outside.

I'm on a slab floor, so no problems there.

The igniter works fine.

Total outlay for stove and installation, about $1200.

Hint if you do buy at an auction: Take the burner and oven knobs with you. They tend to disappear between purchase and delivery.

I've had this stove since 1992 and had no problems with it.

Good luck to you.

Nickisafoodie's picture

commercial is the way to go, even brand new 6 burner stoves go for under $2000 and industrial grade at that.  Do a google and you will be amazed...

deblacksmith's picture

Remember GE stands for GO Elsewhere.  My hate of GE started because of problems with their heavy industrial motors and power supplies  --  but I will not even buy GE light bulbs.  Anything but GE.  This is not rational but how I feel after serious problems with them in my old day job.


le boulanger de pain aspirant's picture
le boulanger de...

I bought an Electrolux dual-fuel range 30" size...  so far I love it. I am wondering why convection ovens may not be so good for baking bread, as read here in this on-going discussion. I'm still working on perfecting an artisinal recipe; can anyone let me know how they feel about using steam in a convection oven? Or convection ovens in general for baking bread?

Pretty new to this site, but I really appreciate it being available.

PS... Not only is my bread-making skill still in the R&D stage, my French is rudimentary, aussi... I believe the correct form would be La Boulanger Aspirant Du Pain, but I don't know how to change my ID without deleting the whole she-bang. Pardon moi, si vous plais... 

weitzelm's picture

Thanks everyone for your suggestions.  I decided on the Fratelli Onofri Chiantishire dual fuel.  I did go to the Gardenweb site and found a lot of useful info and read enough about GE to agree with Dave.  I was originally sold on the industrial look of the Cafe but I think it's a wolf in sheep's clothing.  Had I not been so impatient, I might have really explored the commercial option.  

My new oven arrives in a week! Then it's on to baking-I'm also in the R and D state but hope to be inspired now to really improve!!