October 5, 2016

What kind of oven should I buy? Comparing oven types

I get asked this question a lot, from readers in India and Nepal. I hope this article can help you determine what fits your lifestyle.

Heating in an oven can be two ways:
  1. Convection method: an oven that heats food by the circulation of hot air. 
  2. Convention method: the heat source is stationary, usually radiating from the bottom and top coils of the oven. 
Ovens for the home can be usually categorized into 2 types. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
  • Microwave convection ovens - a combo of an oven and microwave
  • Conventional ovens - Traditional Oven toaster grill (OTG)
What you want depends on a few factors like your interest in baking, kitchen size, budget, brand and customer service experience with that company. Do some research online, ask friends about their ovens. If your kitchen is large enough, I would buy a separate OTG and microwave. If you can fit an inbuilt oven into a large kitchen, go for it. If your kitchen is tiny, where you are constantly stepping on someones toes, try the microwave convection oven that will do both for you.

Microwave convection ovens would be good if you prefer reheating food everyday, cook small quantities, and bake occasionally. Because you're essentially enjoying two appliances in one, convection microwave ovens tend to be more expensive than the conventional alternative. You can use the microwave setting for your everyday quick cooking/ reheating needs, and set in on convection mode when need be. Just read the manual well. I say this because I've always found they have numerous buttons and look complicated to use. If I see such ovens at a friends place, I try not to decode it, but ask the host how to use it instead, saves a lot of time, believe me!

Conventional ovens are the basic good old traditional ovens. This oven will help you bake cakes, cookies, pastries, toast or grill your veggies and meat. The size of these ovens range from small, medium to large built in ovens. A few tips when you cant figure out what to do with them. This is one of my favorite oven, hands down.

- The warm setting usually turns up both the top and lower coils to prep it ready for baking or grilling
- In the bake setting, the lower coils will be heated.
- In the grill/broil setting, the top coils will be heated.