The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings fresh loaf members, anyone have opinions on electric vs a gas powered oven?

baked8's picture
baked8

Greetings fresh loaf members, anyone have opinions on electric vs a gas powered oven?

Hello,


Long time lurker here, first time poster. FreshLoaf community is great! Question, I am looking to purchase either an electric or a gas powered artisan oven. Would anyone know the main differences between them?


 


Here are some points that I have learned....


Electric:



  • much less thermal mass compared to the gas powered model

  • can operate at different temperatures at each deck level

  • easier to install and transport

  • slightly higher operating cost

  • electronic issues may be expensive/complicated to fix?


 


Gas:



  • greater thermal mass than the electric model and therefore less heat loss during reloads

  • less operating costs compared to the electric

  • installation and transport requires much more effort

  • most bread bakeries I have seen seem to all use gas

  • all deck levels keep same temperature

  • floor may have higher temperature than air to bake other non-bread goods?

  • faster heatup time and reheat time the day after


 


Any advice is greatly appreciated!


 

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

A great question!


From researching brick ovens and brick oven pizza, gas gives off moisture as it burns, whereas wood and coal do not. Which is supposedly why a wood fired brick oven (at the same temperature) will deliver a superior pizza over a gas fired oven.  Amother difference, electric provides a more consistent heat- would think this aspect wouldn't matter given newer technology of controllers and how often the oven cycles on and off, and moreover if using a preheated stone


I doubt that the differences are all that large on a day to dayt basis. 


Once consideration is operating cost, I have yet to speak to anyone using electic heat, stove, oven, that claims their monthly utility bills are cheaper than gas- they never are.  And a lot depends on which part of the country you live in as rates vary widely.


A question for you: most ovens go to 550 max, more than you need for bread baking.  But I would love to find an oven that would go to 600 or 650/700 degrees.  Which could emulate a brick oven heat.   Yes, you can make decent pies at 550 and I have, but would love to have another 150 or so.  -- That said, in your research have you seen any ovens (gas or electric) for home use that can dial in hotter than 550? Thank you and keep us posted as to your final decision...

008cats's picture
008cats

I have a 1992, bottom-of-the-line gas freestanding oven. Even though it is small (24in), it keeps heat very well. It does vent like crazy, and because of this I cannot use a separate steam pan for baking; the only effective method is to keep the dough covered either on a stone or in a Dutch Oven.


I read on TFL that some users block their vent to steam, but when I do this the oven will not light. Perhaps folks reach into the back and block it up when the preheat has been achieved, but I am not willing to risk the burns!


If I were to buy a new one today, I would look into one of those dual convection/traditional electric models.

copyu's picture
copyu

They are VERY TINY ovens, however.


The electric is a free-standing, combination steamer, convection, microwave, grill, etc. The gas oven is built-in and cost 4-5 times as much as the electric oven, but that may have included labor...  


I use only the gas oven for bread baking and roasting of meats, now. [Hard to believe, but my turkeys, roast pork, etc,  come out BETTER than from a charcoal-fired BBQ oven and that's not just my opinion...my many house guests and dinner guests agree.] 


Roast vegetables, gratins, and some pies and pastries such as scones (or biscuits), croissants, etc, have much better (actually, excellent) texture and 'mouth feel' when done in the electric oven. I'm not sure why. The same items done in the gas oven are often 'dried-out' and I can't be bothered to 'do the science' (ie, put a pan of water onto the bottom of the gas oven to see if it helps...)


Thermal mass and heat retention seem to be much higher in the gas oven. Although using gas is considerably more expensive than electricity, here in Japan, it's my first choice for bread...YMMV!


Best wishes,


copyu


 

hanseata's picture
hanseata

I don't think any non-commercial oven has a higher than 550 degree setting. Technically they could go well up to 900 degrees - the temperature reached for the self-cleaning cycle. But that mode is accompanied by safety measures like the automatic door lock so that users cannot mess with it.


I am quite happy with my JennAir electric convection oven (with a quarry tile lined rack). For Pitas and Pizzas I place that stone rack on the second highest position and alternate between "Broil - high" and "Bake 550 degrees". I bake most of my breads with convection, and so far the oven has kept up with my considerable (semi-professional) baking demands.


 

cinnamon bunny's picture
cinnamon bunny

--as I bake pies, casseroles, gratins, roast veggie dishes, cookies, muffins, buns, etc. I bake breads in crocks or covered in foil to keep the humidity in. Agree with copyu. It's not cheap, though.

longhorn's picture
longhorn

I personally think electric ovens are far superior for bread because they hold humidity better in my experience. Gas ovens, with the flame in the box, must have air entering to feed the fire and that flushes humidity out of the oven. Humidificaiton schemes can partially overcome that as can baking in a cloche but...for a straight oven with a ceramic stone I would go electric every time.


For pizza I think it makes far less difference. The oven temp is far more critical than how it got there.


From a technical perspective natural gas, wood, and coal all give off some water when burned for they all contain hydrogen but the amount of water is less in wood and quite a bit less in coal.  I do not personally believe that humidity is involved in a WFO makes better pizza. Having owned a WFO for six years I am convinced that the higher heat output of coals and logs and radiant heat from the large flame AND a fully heat loaded hearth are keys to great pizza (along with great dough and toppings.)


My preferences (and I have both gas and electric ovens in the house) are WFO, electric, and gas last.


Jay


 

copyu's picture
copyu

Because of the small size of my ovens, I am forced to always bake 'boules' and I use a cloche or dutch oven whenever possible, to prevent drying-out of the dough.


On those rare occasions when I really want to do some bread rolls, or a batard of rye bread, I'll go electric for the reasons you outlined.


So far, in this thread, we're all 'on the same page'! Heheheh!


Cheers,


copyu

baked8's picture
baked8

Thanks for all the helpful insight everyone! It seems most of you are refering to residiential ovens. Do your opinions hold the same for commercial ovens?


The 2 models I am debating between are


 


bongard soleo (electric)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuSGhrmkvA4


 


or the bongard cervap 800/other comparable models


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXOBN_Hdbps