How to choose the best oven for your needs and kitchen
Household appliances are usually chosen to blend in with the style of the kitchen, but what characteristics and functions should your oven have?
That depends on your kitchen and how you intend to use it.
In the first place, if the oven is in a tall unit, a system cooling the external sides of the oven is essential, so the adjacent units do not overheat.
Do you have children? Check that the oven has child locks, or that the oven door is well-cooled and never reaches temperatures that are dangerous to the touch.
Do you hate cleaning the oven? The ideal solution is a pyrolytic oven, which uses high temperatures to reduce the residues in the oven to ash.
A less expensive solution is an oven with the Aqua clean function: you pour water into an area inside the oven and a special cleaning programme allows for cleaning off the residues with a cloth when you finish cooking. If the oven has an easily removable glass, cleaning will be truly simple and quick.
Is it the right size?
If you love cooking for friends and family, make sure you choose an adequately sized oven.
Oven size is measured in litres, but you also need to check the width of the oven, since you frequently cook on one level only. The baking tins in wider ovens offer up to 25% extra surface space.
Some ovens allow multi-level cooking, meaning several dishes can be cooked simultaneously without mixing odours and flavours.
This is possible due to a fan and heating elements at the rear which capture and neutralise the food odours.
If you are familiar with the latest smartphone and tablet technologies, you can opt for a touch control panel. The interfaces are highly intuitive, but if you feel uncomfortable with these innovative controls, for a contemporary, simple and elegant style, choose push-pull knobs, which allow you to see the handles of your hob simply by touching them.
New types of cooking: combined steam and sous-vide cooking oven
The increasing interest in haute cuisine has led to the best technologies for our kitchens. The key word is combined steam cooking. This is the secret of great chefs.
These ovens allow both traditional and steam cooking. The combination of steam and heat gives excellent results. Placing water inside the oven allows the steam to cook the food on the outside delicately and evenly, preserving its natural flavour and juiciness. Adding steam ensures the inside is always soft and tender and the outside crispy and golden for bread, pizza, meat, fish and leavened foods.
Cooking with the automatic programmes is also child's play: simply select the food to be cooked and the oven chooses the right settings itself.
Another technology “stolen” from haute cuisine is sous-vide cooking. This low-temperature steaming system allows for protecting the consistency of food, keeping it juicy and preserving its original flavours. It is also straightforward: simply prepare the food, seal it under a vacuum, put it in the oven and cook it at low temperatures according to the specific programmes. All that remains is to serve it and surprise everyone.