The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Choosing a new oven

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.

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

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

 

 

 

 

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