Hi guys -- My husband is a serious homecook and he wants to purchase a Viking oven. However, Im concerned about my love of bread making. Anyone know how these ovens work for baking bread?
I have a Viking oven. It was the oven in the house when we bought it four years ago. My guess is it's about 15-20 years old. The temperature calibration is WAY off, but I use an accurate digital oven thermometer so I do OK (when the oven dial is set to 300 the oven temp is 350!). The oven does fine for all of my baking - bread, pastry, cookies, etc.
I had a Thermador oven in my prior house and I liked it too. For me it's a question of capacity and heating source. I prefer electric ovens to gas ovens (exactly the opposite of my preference for cook tops).
Viking is an excellent brand. It would not be a mistake to buy it if that's what your husband wants.
Can't speak for the current models, but I had a Viking from about 1995-2005. It was a good range/oven except for the repairs. The oven had 2 heating elements inside and each had a separate control module. The control modules were eloctronically linked and one would fail about every 12-18 months. If one failed they both needed to be replaced. Cost back then was about $350 each time. We went through several in 10 years. I now have a Wolf that is 7 years with no repairs and I am very pleased with the performance.
We bought a 48" Viking in 2009 for our kitchen remodel. It has 4 burners, a 24" griddle and 2 ovens, one large, one small.
First the pros:
At least monthy, my wife and I comment to each other about the incredible volume of food that we are able to cook with the Viking in so little time. The thing just cooks, and cooks, and cooks. I make bread in a dutch oven in the big oven weekly and it comes out great. I'm cooking flatbread in it now. It's always on. It's a cooking machine. Which I guess is the definition of an oven.
It has a slight bow in the middle. It is probably an installation fault of my contractor, but the left leans slightly to the middle and the right leans slightly to the middle. It just shouldn't do that.
The ignitor used to just spark once and light the burner and that was that. Sometimes it now sparks 8-10 times even though the burner is lit. I could probably take a wire brush to the ignitor, but still...
It can be loud. Toward the end of my second baking cycle an external blower kicks on and there is no way to ignore it.
It can hold a very low simmer, but I think the competitors, like Wolf, can hold even lower. And the slightest draft will make the ignitor pop a few times to make sure it is still lit.
Cleaning the range top is no fun at all, but I think all the big boys are going to be like that. It has a self-cleaning oven, but I've never used it. The grease trap is easily accessible, and if you put a sheet pan in it to catch the drippings, it is easy to clean.
Durability: The jury is still out on this. It is only 18 months old. No service calls to date. We did buy the 3 year extended warranty. Sucker bet? Maybe. I did get free delivery ;-)
My stove was a mis-order at the appliance store, so we got a great deal on it, about 20% off. Would I have paid full price? Hard to say. When compared to the Viking at full price, the Wolf is very attractive. We have friends with an 8 year old 48" Wolf that really cranks it out, too.
Best of luck and happy cooking.
I'd choose Dynamic Cooking Systems, then Wolf, then Viking.
Their most recent product brochure:
They were recommended to me by a engineer friend who's quite the hardware maven, the kind of person that can tell you the ins and outs of everything about every available option. Not only do they have better build quality, but they're less expensive too. (At least they were, not sure if they still are).
If you ever watch Cooks Illustrated's American's Test Kitchen program on TV, they use DCS ranges and ovens.
I purchased my dream oven from Viking (based on years of it being a reputable brand) and still living to regret it...
1. Convection oven did not work from day 1...I called Viking service numerous times to complain - I wanted them to replace it with a new one and they would not...they finally got the part replaced (outsource of of the labor) after the 3rd call to service. For all of my frustration and disappointment, they extended the warranty for another year and gave me a free set of Viking pots (whoopie!)
2. To this day, the convection oven does not work well...the Broiler decided to stop working one day (the oven at this time was only 3 years old)...Fortunately, I had purchase a service contract for 5 years from the appliance store I purchased it from...it took me 3 different service calls before they finally sent a technician who knows how to repair Viking stoves to my rescue. The part that was damaged was about $300 to replace; fortunately, my hubby paid for the service contract so we did not have to pay a cent.
3. On its behalf, I must say that I do like how the oven works. My sister in law got a Wolf oven about a year after I purchased my Viking and she LOVES it = has never has a problem with it.
4. I would advise you to go on the web and research 'customer ratings on Vikings'...you will see alot of unhappy people out in cyberspace. Viking's reputation has gone downhill - that is the bottom line...you are paying for the hardware and really nothing more..
Good luck - this is a big 'financial' decision - you deserve the best..
Where once they made a few great products, they now make many mediocre onces.
(I laughed at the Viking pots. They're having to give them away!)
Wow. That sure is a lot of information to research and consider. I have a lot to look into. Thank you to everyone for posting. It really helped.
I'm paying attention to this thread, as we will be doing a kitchen remodel as soon as we sell our other house (so may be a long time). My range in the old house is a 48" DCS, but they have since been bought out by Fisher and Paykel, and the founders of DCS went to form a new company, I have heard because they did not like what happened to DCS. They now have Capital Ranges, and it looks like they make some nice stuff but pricey. I'm also looking at Five Star. Seems like you get more for the money.
I have a 36" dual fuel DCS range, purchased in 2002. I love the cook top but the oven has been problematic: I've had several repairs, which have been expensive, but my main complaint is that the hyped rolling racks in the oven no longer roll smoothly. I have called DCS customer support, and while the person with whom I spoke tried to be very helpful, she really did not have a good solution for this problem. Beyond replacing the mechanism which holds the racks, approximately $300+ if I remember correctly, her solution was to spray the supports with the PAM product designed for grilling. This was not effective. I replaced one of the shelves ($86) and this also was not helpful. As I use Sylvia's hot towel and boiling water method of getting steam into my oven, it is SLOW and dangerous when the bottom shelf won't glide out easily to insert or remove the steam apparatus. Also, the heat loss, which is always a problem, is excessive as my door is open longer than I wish while I am struggling with the apparatus. The same with getting my breads in and out of the oven. The oven takes a long time to heat to 450 or 500 degress; this may be because of the larger capacity of the oven but whatever the reason, it aggrevates the problem of heat loss when the door is open for such a long time. My oven also has only 3 shelf positions and this, at times, has been bothersome: some steaming techniques have recommended putting the steam apparatus on the top shelf which my oven will not accomodate...I keep only 2 racks in my oven.
In summary, my dissatisfaction with this oven has to do with the poor performance of the rack gliding mechanism, the position of the racks, and the length of time needed to preheat the oven. I have not been unhappy with how the oven cooks: I roast vegetables ALOT and do other baking and I've been very satisfied with it's performance with those tasks...the convection works well for me.
Good luck in your search...please let us know what you decide and, happy baking.
@ Tikidoc ..that is some good info to know. thanks. I'm sort of leaning to a stovetop with Viking for the husband and double ovens with another company, so far looking at Wolf. I have to check into DCs and Five Star now.
@Bakerjane..I never considered the need to have more than 3 shelf positions in the oven. Will factor that in.
I strongly suggest you explore the Capital Culinarian. I did a LOT of research on gas ranges and came across the Culinarian in a discussion on GardenWeb. I have heard over and over that it is simply the best pro-style range on the market. A great open burner design - each burner is 23,000 btus (!) plus an impressive simmer (145 degrees).
One of the benefits of it for bread baking is that it doesn't have any electronic gadgetry that can go haywire when producing steam.
Anyway, I have this range sitting in my kitchen which is in the process of remodel. I'm so impressed by the fit and finish on this thing. The hood arrives today and we'll probably cook our first meal on it tonight -- I probably won't be able to bake bread in it for a week. When I bought it, the company I worked with, Eurostoves, actually baked some breads to show me, but I wasn't impressed - still I think it was the technique of the baker not the cabalility of the range. BTW I have the 30" range and paid about $4,000 for it.
BTW - Capital is a company started by Surjit Kalsi who was designed Viking's first range for home use and then formed DCS. He sold DCS and started Capital.
I found a good article on the Capital Culinarian on the, of all places, Mercedes Benz website: