The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cuisinart Countertop Brick Oven?

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Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

Cuisinart Countertop Brick Oven?

I'm wondering if any TFL readers have used countertop electric ovens for bread baking? Today I saw that Amazon has the Cuisinart BRK-100 Brick Oven Classic Stainless-Steel Countertop Oven marked down almost 70% from its original list price, to  $111 w/ free shipping.


I'be been wanting to try baking bread in an electric oven to see if it might improve the appearance and uniformity of crust on my sourdough breads, as compared to results I've been getting from the gas oven. I prefer gas for stovetop and other household uses as it's less expensive than electricity where I live. Also, there's nothing wrong with the gas oven so I won't replace it anytime soon. But at just over $100 it might be worth experimenting with an electric oven to see how much improvement I could get out of one.


Are there other small, inexpensive electric ovens that might work well for home baking of sourdough breads?



clazar123's picture
clazar123

Last weekend I had the experience of baking in 1 gas and 1 electric(my) oven. Mind you, it was only 1 baking but there is definitely a marked difference in the experience. For one thing, the gas stove is a much more moist environment than electric. I think that may have something to do with how fast the bread baked and the crust did have a more evenly brown appearance for this one bake-and they browned faster,too! I have been contemplating getting a new oven and was considering gas.I'm still not decided.


Alternatively, I have been considering researching countertop ovens so I was happy to see your post.Interesting oven and very reasonable price.I will follow the thread with interest.

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

I'm looking for more even browning top-to-bottom. In my gas oven the bottom crust sometimes burns before the top crust obtains its full color. After many attempts I found a way to get consistent result from a favorite recipe, but getting the evenly browned crusts requires lowering temperatures throughout a long bake, and rotating each loaf to its opposite position. I always end up burning at least one of my forearms and/or fingers by the time I've rotated each of the six burning-hot loaves around the very hot oven!


I've started to wonder what ratio of the perfect loaves I see posted at TFL are coming from electric rather than gas ovens. Not that great results aren't possible from the gas oven, but, as a beginner, I feel like sometimes I'm fighting with the gas oven to get it do the same thing that another tool might accomplish with more ease.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

Whether it is gas or electric, each oven has different spots that are hotter than another spot in the oven.It just depends on the design,shielding and insulation.


 My electric oven tends to be hotter on top even though the element is on the bottom.I have the bottom rack on the second from the bottom. and never put anything on the topmost rack-even though it's tempting. It will just burn the top before itis cooked through.


I think oven design is important as to how heat circulates. I just don't know how you evaluate that when faced with choices between new ovens without using it.

dlt123's picture
dlt123

I realize this is not a brick oven, but I've read good reviews about this countertop oven.  If may be more than Cuisinart but this is one that I am going to buy.


http://www.amazon.com/Breville-BOV800XL-1800-Watt-Convection-Toaster/dp/B001L5TVGW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1291063596&sr=8-4


Also, sometimes Bed, Bath and Beyond have coupons for %20 off of store appliances which means you could get this at your local BB&B for around $200.  Just sign up on their website for their Email Special Offers and they'll send you a coupon.  The email signup is at the lower left corner of the page.


http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com


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Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

Product review comparing it to the Cuisinart makes persuasive case for the Breville.


Thanks,


Sam

flourgirl51's picture
flourgirl51

I used to have trouble with my rye boules browning too much on the bottom until someone here posted that they were using airbake pans to bake them on. I do this now and don't have anymore problems with the loaf bottoms getting too dark. I use a gas oven.

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

Thanks for the suggestion. Do you ever use them beneath loaf pans?


I've already experimented with shelf positions (upper, lower, middle), and positioning of loaves on the shelf (front-to-back and left side vs. right side). The one constant is, as you say, browning too much on the bottom. Another writer here at TFL called it "carbonization" -- I call it burnt crust. The only thing worse is pale, underdone crust from (and I've done all of these) under-baking, over-proofing or too low oven temperature.

rjerden's picture
rjerden

I have the Cuisinart BRK-200 brick oven which also has a fan to provide convection. I have had very good results making artisan bread (ciabatta, rosetta rolls and focaccia) and pizza in this oven. I only use the big gas oven to make baquettes because of the size of the loaves. This oven is a bit bigger than the BRK-100 and you can fit in a 12X12 stone in the rack (the stone they supply is a bit smaller and will fit in all their countertop ovens). It also has an interior light.


I haven't seen any difference in baking results between the "brick" oven and the previous Cuisinart convection oven I used. They don't make the BRK-200 anymore anyway, although it can still be bought on-line.


I would suggest the Cuisinart TOB-195 if you want stainless steel or for the best price, the non-stainless version CTO-390PC they sell at Costco (this is the one I had before) or the  TOB-155 which is a combo of stainless and black. You can buy the stone for the rack separately from the Cuisinart site or else flip the rack upside down and use a 12X12 black granite or unglazed saltillo tile for a stone.


The temperature controls are much better on these models than on the BRK models. We used it for everything that would fit inside. I gave it to my son when I "upgraded" to the BRK model, but I would buy it again.


The only problem with all of these ovens is that you don't have independent controls for each of the heating elements and the fan. They have an independent "toast" control, a bake, broil and convection bake setting and a temperature control. The BRK models do not have a thermometer, electronic touchpad controls and an oven timer like the other ones, which are nice features.


The convection is definitely work having IMHO. The BRK-100 does not have it.

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

Thanks for the excellent information.

rhomp2002's picture
rhomp2002

I have the Breville oven and like it very much.  I also have a Hamilton Beach rotisserie oven that I also like a lot.  The advantage of the Breville is that it is just better built and has more controls.  The advantage of the hamilton Beach is that it is a lot taller inside and also heats up 50 degrees hotter.  Both of them I use for baking bread.  The Hamilton Beach easily fits the La Cloche inside while the Breville does not.  I have had the Hamilton Beach now for over 5 years and had no problems at all.  I have had the Breville for 2 years also with no problems at all.   Either one works very well.  I got them because my studio apartment does not come with an over so these are my ovens for everything I bake and I have been very satisfied with them.  I looked at the Cuisinart Brick oven when I bought the Breville and selected the Breville because it is a little larger inside.