Why Choose a Single Oven?
Although some single ovens are roomy enough to easily accommodate meals for most families, bear in mind that you still have just one oven to cook, bake, roast and grill in.
Whilst this will not be a problem for some, it’s worth remembering that you will not be able to cook different foods simultaneously at different temperatures — or to use the grill at the same time as the oven.
On the plus side, they are easily installed below worktops and take up much less space than a double oven in compact kitchens. They are also some £200+ cheaper than double ovens, depending on the model you opt for.
A popular option at present is to place runs of two or more single ovens together at eye level within a bank of floor-to-ceiling kitchen units.
Oven or Range?
This really does come down to personal preference — there isn’t a significant price difference. It might be easier to fit a range cooker into an existing kitchen but in most cases new ovens will be part of replacement kitchens.
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A range cooker undoubtedly gives a professional feel to the kitchen, and the more traditional models out there suit kitchens of a similar style. They combine ovens and hobs in one unit.
Built-in ovens are a great option for those after a sleek and streamlined look, and allow you to have your oven at eye level, which is a big draw for many people. They also make it possible for the hob to be situated elsewhere in the kitchen — handy if you have an island unit you want to house your hob in.
Useful Features… or Gimmicks?
Self-cleaning ovens Also known as pyrolytic ovens, these heat the oven to super hot temperatures in order to burn off any dirt and grime — and turn it into ash that can be wiped away easily.
Integral microwaves Some ovens come with integral microwaves which can defrost etc. — it cuts down on the need for appliances.
Food probes Designed to replace the need for a thermometer, these measure the core temperature of food and let you know when it is ready — designing out the risk of food poisoning.
Intelligent ovens These ovens can work out cooking times based on the type of food you are cooking, its weight and the results you are after — some can even be controlled
The Benefits of Double Ovens
Opting for a double oven opens up more cooking options than having just one single oven. There are two types: built-in and built-under. The difference between the two tends to be their height. Built-in ovens are designed to be slotted into units at eye level and are around 90cm tall, whilst built-under models are only around 72cm high.
Because built-under models are limited on height, two ovens have to effectively be squeezed in to a size little higher than most single ovens, meaning that the main oven may be a little smaller than built-in models. There will usually be a grill in the top oven and sometimes one in the main oven too.
What Are Steam Ovens?
Steam models are all the rage. Although models differ, they require water from somewhere in order to generate the steam. Most models do not require plumbing, instead containing a reservoir that holds the water used in the cooking process. The oven heats up the water and turns it into steam. The steam rises, passes over the food and cooks it. There is a valve in the oven which gradually lets air out to release pressure. Steam ovens can achieve incredibly high temperatures and cook food very quickly. Other, usually more expensive, models require a connection to the mains water and feature multiple steam jets to pump the hot steam out.
“Steam cooking has become increasingly important — and combination steam ovens are now the biggest growth area in terms of cooking,” says Neil Pooley from Miele. “Steam combination cooking can be used when preparing a variety of dishes; from fish, rice and vegetables to roasts, desserts and sauces. It’s the optimum cooking method for retaining your food’s vitamins, minerals and nutrients as well as preserving taste and texture.” On the downside, a steam oven will not give meats that golden brown look — you’ll need to grill post-steam.