An oven is an appliance with an enclosed cavity or tunnel that uses either gas, electricity, or oil to function. It is used for cooking, baking, and heating food. An oven is an appliance that almost every home yearns to own because of its convenience. Over the years, an oven has been essentially one of the major technological advancements that have made every household live in comfort and ease. In this article, we will cover and categorize the different types of ovens and see how each type has given cooking a major milestone.
Modern ovens have successfully adapted to the original use of ovens in the past despite all the other features and styles they have evolved into. The oldest civilizations, particularly the old Roman Empire, used ovens; of course, during this time, the oven that we know today was not yet called an oven. These ovens were made of enclosed stones that were fed by wood and were primarily used to cook food. This feature is the primary use of an oven, and over time accumulated several features like baking and roasting.
According to Use
The microwave is one of the most popular types of ovens. It is mostly used by people who have leftover food or frozen food that needs heating. A microwave is not only used for heating food but also allows cooking without external heat. It uniformly cooks the food, so all parts of raw food, such as chicken, are cooked evenly, even on the inside.
Baking is also possible to do in a microwave but with a specific type of microwave called a convection microwave characterized by two modes. The first mode works as a food heater while the second mode uses heating elements and a fan that functions like an oven and circulate heat around the microwave cavity to allow baking, roasting, and broiling. The second mode is what differentiates a convection microwave from a simple microwave oven.
A convection oven uses a fan to circulate the air within the oven, which helps equalize and maintain a consistent temperature on each rack inside. This means that no matter how many dishes you put inside or how many you put in at the same time, they will all be cooked evenly. A convection oven can either have a gas or electric heat source.
A toaster oven is a smaller version of an oven that is convenient for simple and small cooking needs such as roasting vegetables, grilling meat, defrosting, baking bread or pizzas, broiling, browning, and toasting. Because of its small size, it is best suited for use on a countertop. However, they are not an appropriate use for complicated pastries or dishes.
This type of oven is recommended for people who are messy cooks. A self-cleaning oven possesses a feature that uses high heat to help burn any residue or soil left behind in the oven and turn them into ashes. For ovens that use steam for cooking, water is used to clean itself by softening stuck food particles. as cleaning
Heat Source Options
Conventional Gas Oven
The conventional gas oven uses natural gas or propane as its heat source. It heats food from underneath, which means that the oven is heated from the bottom to the top, allowing several dishes placed on different racks to be cooked. A gas oven allows the user to adjust the temperature anytime, even in the middle of cooking a dish. However, you would most likely need to get help from professionals in installing a conventional gas oven.
An electric oven generates heat from an electric power source and circulates that heat throughout its entire surface to cook evenly. An electric oven requires pre-heating to reach the required temperature of the dish you are trying to cook. Compared to a gas oven, an electric oven does not allow the user to change the temperature instantly.
Steam ovens do not use dry heat to cook food; rather, they have a compartment that pops up to let water in, which is then converted to steam and used to cook food. Most steam ovens have two modes: the first one is its use of steam as a heat source, while the second mode switches it back to dry heat and functions like a standard oven. The steam mode is mostly used for gentle cooking, especially with moist cakes. The main advantage of a steam oven is that it keeps most nutrients and color in the food.
Kitchen Placement Options
From its name, the built-in oven is directly fitted into a pre-existing cabinet and can be easily installed in the kitchen. Some references call a built-in oven a wall oven. A built-in oven saves more space, and the doors are designed as a swing-out, drop-down, or slide-out rather than built on the sides, which can be a spacious and inconvenient way to open because it will collide with other items in the kitchen. Fortunately, you can choose where to place your built-ins on your pre-existing cabinet and ensure that they are modified to a position in which you are comfortable using them. A built-in oven can either come as a single or a double unit.
Countertop and Under-counter oven
Ovens intended for countertops or under-counter installation are designed in a variety of sizes to match the position and space in the kitchen. A countertop oven only needs a small, stable, and flat surface on the counter with an outlet, and it is already good to use. On the other hand, an under-counter oven is positioned under the countertop, usually at waist height, and does not need any other table or space to be put on.
If you are not a fan of putting your appliances on the counter, this type of microwave is for you. Choosing an over-the-range microwave is a space saver as they are positioned literally above the range or stove. This type possesses a vent fan that helps with steam, smoke, and odors coming from your stove.
Freestanding Ranges and Slide-in range
Freestanding ranges and slide-in ranges are both models of stoves that possess either one or two ovens. The only difference between the two is that a slide-in range has an unfinished edge that makes it installable within kitchen cabinets, while a freestanding range can also be installed between cabinets, but is mostly styled as a stand-alone. Another difference between the two is the control panel’s location: the freestanding range control panel is on its back, while the slide-in range’s control panel is in front.
Styles of Ovens
Single ovens are commonly smaller compared to other styles. They are mostly placed on countertops. While there is a single type of oven, there are also models of single-range ovens, which means a stove with a single oven cavity.
A double oven is a common style of double oven range that features two cooking spaces instead of one, with the upper being large while the lower layer is smaller. A double oven has a larger cooking capacity.
Combination of microwave and oven
The combination of a microwave and an oven in one style is often a feature of a wall oven or a built-in oven. The microwave is usually positioned on top, while the oven is on the bottom.
Peel Brick Oven
A peel-brick oven is probably one of the oldest types of ovens. It is a manual oven comprising a massive brick or stone material chamber, which connects to a refractory tile floor that holds the dough pieces. The heat source for a brick oven is coal and wood.
Revolving Tray Oven
A revolving tray oven is also called a reel oven, which is characterized by its revolving shelves inside the cabinet. It is fitted with suspended trays that hold food, such as bread or meat, during the baking process. A reel oven is set to cook the contents in one rotation of the wheel and automatically stops once the tray is level with the loading door. This type of movement allows the contents to be cooked evenly. This type of oven is ideal for larger quantities of the same product.
Rack ovens possess racks or carts arranged vertically to support baking pans that are put inside. They either use electric or fuel sources with the help of convection fans to help speed up the baking process. Most baking retailers prefer this type of oven for its economic characteristics and its suitability to bake bread and pastries. They require less labor as they can save programmable recipes to help the baker save time. They also have features that allow changing baking time and temperature, the intensity of air ventilation, and the steam impingement frequency.
Deck ovens have individual baking chambers that cook artisan bread under the same conditions in a freestanding manner at the bottom or deck of the oven. It has a stone sole and a top and bottom heat circulation control that is easily adjustable. They are primarily used for traditional oven-bottom bread. Like a rack oven, a deck oven is particularly useful in a professional pastry kitchen.
What to Consider When Choosing an Oven
Ovens have different and wide price ranges, especially for different brands. You might find the same model of the oven at a lesser price under a different brand, so you can save more. Double ovens or ovens that have broader cooking capacities are more expensive compared to a single type of oven. Also, determine what type of power source you will choose for your oven. Compare which type of heat source will help you save more money.
Aside from the price, it is also important to acknowledge the cooking habits that you mostly follow. If you are a fan of baking lots of pastries and casseroles or of baking multiple dishes, consider a type of oven that will allow you to cook different dishes at the same time while making sure that each of them is cooked evenly. If you are planning to start a business related to bread and pastry making, consider an oven with a high capacity to contain your bread and pastries.
The space where you will put your oven is also an immediate thing to consider. Determining whether you have enough or limited space will help you decide on the type of oven that you are going to purchase. If you do not have enough space on the countertop, consider over-the-range or built-in ovens, as they help you maximize space in your kitchen. But if you have enough space in the kitchen or are planning to start a business, choose a bigger oven that can accommodate your cooking needs.
Your comfort is still the priority when choosing an appliance like an oven. So, look for the type of oven you are most content with and comfortable using.
General parts of an oven
Broil and Bake Elements
The broil element is found in the upper part of the oven’s cavity and provides direct heat on top of the dish when broiling. The bake element can be found either in the top, bottom, or even in the back of the oven cavity and provides the main source of heat for baking.
Thermostats and Regulators
The thermostat and regulators function as stoppers of heat once it reaches the temperature it is set to at the beginning of your cooking
There are two oven fans in an oven: the first one works as a distributor of the hot air in the oven cavity, while the second one provides cooling air to prevent the oven from overheating and burning the dishes inside.
The racks are metal holders fitted within an oven and are used as a support for placing pans. They can be moved to any rack position and even detached if you need more space for a dish or bread that you will cook or heat.
Heating controls are the exterior parts of an oven where you can adjust the temperature and time for your cooking.
Light bulb and Assembly
The light bulb is located inside the oven and provides a convenient light to see food while it is being cooked.
An oven part that is sealed under the oven floor to shield it from drops and spills.
A vent tube is typically at the top of the oven cavity and releases heat and moisture for proper circulation.
An oven window allows the user to see the activity inside the oven. The majority of ovens use tempered glass, which is a tough type of glass for high temperatures.
How to Maintain an Oven
Clean and soak the racks. Make sure that residue coming from the dishes cooked is wiped out.
Use appropriate cleaning materials made for an oven. In case you do not have one, you can just clean the oven first by using its self-cleaning function (if an oven is a self-cleaning type).
Clean with baking soda. References say that baking soda helps remove spots that are complicated to remove.
Do not clean the oven immediately after cooking. Let your oven cool for a while before cleaning it, especially when you will use water to clean its exterior. Avoid getting water into the interior of the oven as you may damage its control panel.
There are a lot of choices when choosing an oven; consider the style, the cooking capacity, and even the position of the appliance in your kitchen. Taking notes on the different ovens will help you choose the one that will be suitable for your cooking or baking needs. Truly, the use of an oven had made cooking very special and comfortable.