Ever since people discovered that cooked food tastes way better than the raw kind, ovens have been an essential part of our lives. The very first examples can be traced back to the front-loading bread ovens used by the Greeks around 5000 years ago. Since those days, ovens have changed drastically. Around 300 years ago, the first cast-iron oven was developed. Then, in 1826, some bright spark invented the gas oven. 30 years later, the electric oven came along and stole its thunder. These days, ovens come in every variety under the sun, from ones that clean themselves to ones that can be controlled via your phone. Here are 20 types of ovens you should be aware of.
1. Gas Ovens
Gas ovens have long been used in the catering business, but thanks to the exceptional list of benefits they offer, they’re becoming an increasingly popular choice for the home cook too. As doityourself.com explains, just a few of the multiple benefits you can expect when you start cooking with gas include greater control over cooking temperature, less chance of food drying out than in an electric oven, greater control over cooking temperature due to faster warm-up and cool down times, low running costs, minimal maintenance, excellent durability, and outstanding dependability. The only flip side is that the initial outlay is often higher than it is for electric ovens.
2. Electric Ovens
Gas ovens might be the oven of choice in the restaurant business, but if you’re a home cook looking for an economical option, the high costs that are usually associated with gas ovens might push your budget to breaking point. Fortunately, electric ovens are a great alternative. Not only are they a lot cheaper to buy than a gas oven, but they’re also easy to maintain and come without the worry of the pilot light going out or the ports becoming blocked. The only thing to be aware of is that electric ovens produce a very dry heat, meaning that food can easily dry out if you don’t keep a close eye on the cooking time. To counter the problem, try adding a pan of water to the base of the oven to add some moisture.
3. Steam Ovens
Steam ovens come in one of two varieties: small countertop models or larger ovens that can be installed directly into the kitchen. As the name suggests, steam ovens rely on steam to cook food. As no fats or oils need to be added, it’s an incredibly healthy way to cook both vegetables, fish, and certain kinds of meats. It’s also believed that steaming food can help preserve more nutrients than other cooking methods. Not all foods are suitable for steam cooking, but if you’re a big fan of steamed veggies, moist fish, and succulent chicken breasts, it’s a great option to consider.
4. Pizza Ovens
If you can’t resist a slice of Neapolitan, forget racking up expensive bills at your local pizzeria and invest in a pizza oven instead. Homemade pizza can be customized to your exact liking, but as you might already know if you’ve ever tried to make it in a regular oven, it’s practically impossible to get a crispy crust. Pizzas need a high heat, and regular ovens, no matter how good they are for everything else, are rarely up to the job. Pizza ovens, on the other hand, are more than capable of the challenge. Depending on just how devoted to the perfect slice you are, you can either invest in a small oven to fit inside your regular oven or in a large, dedicated pizza oven to install in the yard.
5. Conventional Ovens
As Hunker explains, conventional ovens have been a mainstay in home kitchens since the 1950s. They use a stationary, stable heat source to radiate heat in an upward direction, usually via a gas flame or a burner element. They can come in both gas and electric varieties, but the principle remains the same regardless – the heat rises and the food is cooked from underneath. Most conventional ovens also offer a broil function, and some will allow you to use both the top and bottom features at the same time to ensure a more even distribution of heat.
6. Convection Ovens
Convection ovens are generally considered superior to conventional ovens thanks to a fan function that distributes the hot air evenly throughout the oven. As a result, food cooks more evenly and you won’t risk having boiling hot and freezing cold spots in the same dish (as will often happen when you cook food in a conventional oven). When it comes to durability, however, conventional ovens come in second place to their conventional counterparts. The fan is operated by a motor; if the motor fails (as can sometimes happen). the function of the oven will be compromised. If the fan that’s been installed isn’t the correct size for the oven (which again is a fairly common fault), it won’t distribute the heat efficiently, resulting in similar problems with hot and cold spots as a conventional oven.
7. Double Ovens
If you’ve got a large family, like to host parties, and just really like to bake, a double oven could be just what you need. As the name suggests, it comprises of two ovens rather than one. The ovens can be stacked on top of each other or placed side by side, depending on what works best for your kitchen layout. A double oven will let you cook different types of food at different temperatures, meaning you can cook all the elements of your meal at the same time without worrying about overcooking or undercooking any part of it.
8. Bench-top Convection Ovens
Like a regular convection oven, benchtop convection ovens use internal fans to evenly distribute hot air around the oven to ensure a constant temperature. As consumer.org.nz explains, the oven, which consists of a large heat-resistant glass bowl with a lid containing the heating element and fan, can be used to bake, roast, grill, and toast. Although they’re more expensive than toaster ovens, they’re a better option for keen cooks, cooking faster, more efficiently, and with better results.
9. Wall Ovens
If you want an oven that offers plenty of cooking space and is a breeze to get food in and out of, you might want to consider a wall-mounted oven. They’re especially good for people who have problems in kneeling or bending, as the oven can be mounted at a height at which neither is necessary. If wall ovens have a disadvantage, it’s that they don’t offer the space for a cooktop, with the result that you’ll need to find space for two separate cooking spaces in your kitchen. As you’ll have to buy the cooktop separately, it can also be a more expensive option than a combined oven/cooktop.
10. Slide-In Ovens
If you have a fitted kitchen with a dedicated space for an oven, a slide-in oven is the option for you. Providing your measurements are correct, the oven will simply slide into the allocated space between the countertops or appliances without taking up any additional space. Slide-in ovens are available in both gas and electric versions and may use either convention or conventional heating methods.
11. Toaster Ovens
As EzineArticles.com says, if you enjoy the taste of toasted foods, a toaster oven should definitely be on your must-have list. A countertop appliance that’s roughly the size of a normal toaster, a toaster oven will let you grill bread and bake other types of food as well. They’re very economical and easy to install, but due to their small size, the amount of food you can cook at any one time is limited, making them a better option for single people than those with multiple mouths to feed.
12. Freestanding Ovens
As homestratosphere.com notes, freestanding ovens are a very popular option, and for very good reason. They tend to be less expensive than wall ovens, are easy to move around (providing you have the correct hookups and outlets), and can be located anywhere you like in the kitchen. Usually, they come with a cooktop on top so you don’t have to run to the extra cost of buying one separately.
13. Brick Ovens
If you like making pizza or baking bread, a brick oven is an excellent appliance to have on standby. They’ve long been used in pizzerias and bakeries thanks to their excellent heat retention properties: the heat gets trapped inside the brick enclosure, ensuring an even, controlled bake. Although they used to be incredibly common, they’re becoming less so now, with other styles offering much the same function but in a more modern package.
14. Range Ovens
As homeserve.com explains, a range oven is a two-in-one appliance that combines an oven and a cooktop. If you like getting creative in the kitchen, a range oven is an excellent option to consider as it will let you do everything from bake, roast, broil, and sauté to boil, simmer and fry all in the same unit.
15. Self-Cleaning Ovens
If there’s one job no one likes to do, it’s clean an oven. The problem is, ovens get very dirty, very quickly, and without regular cleaning, they can become not only unsanitary, but even dangerous if the grease builds up. Cleaning most ovens involves a lot of elbow grease, a ton of time, and a lot of very harsh chemicals. Fortunately, there’s now an alternative in the shape of self-cleaning ovens, which, as their name suggests, take care of all their cleaning needs without any help from you. If you never want to get down on your hands and knees and scrub out an oven again, this is the one for you.
16. Microwave Ovens
When it comes to quickly heating up a ready meal or re-heating an already prepared plate of food, nothing beats a microwave, at least in terms of speed. For the most part, they’re not the best option for cooking meals from scratch, and most keen cooks would shudder at the thought of relying on one as their sole means of cooking. However, if for convenience if nothing else, they’re a modern-day essential.
17. Wi-Fi Enabled Ovens
If you love technology and have a passion for cooking, why not combine the two with a wi-fi-enabled oven? Ovens with integrated wi-fi technology will let you control your bake via an app on your tablet or smartphone. Regardless of where in the house you are, you can keep an eye on your cooking, adjust the timer, or even change the temperature. If that wasn’t enough, some wi-fi ovens also respond to voice commands – perfect if you have your hands full with something else but need to adjust the temperature or turn the oven on or off.
18. Delay Bake Ovens
An oven with a delay bake function will let you set the temperature to an advanced point in time. The oven will then come on automatically at the specified time. If you want your morning muffins warm and steaming by the time you come down from bed or your stew perfectly cooked by the time you arrive home from work, it’s an excellent feature to have at your disposal.
19. Large Window Ovens
Every time you open the oven door to check on how your food is cooking, heat escapes and the baking process get interrupted. For some kinds of food, it doesn’t matter too much, but for cakes and other baked goods, it can make all the difference between the perfect rise and a sunken disaster. A large window oven will let you monitor your food without having to open or close the door once, resulting in the perfect bake every time.
20. Single Ovens
As canstarblue.com.au explains, single ovens are typically made to fit anywhere in your kitchen, regardless of whether that’s under the counter or at eye level. These types of ovens are best suited to smaller households or families who tend to eat out more than they eat in.