The oven is probably the single most important piece of equipment in your kitchen. And if you’re in the market for a new one, the fact it has straightforward dials, or the latest in touch-sensitive electronic technology, is completely irrelevant if it doesn’t cook the way you want it to. It’s not often you buy a new oven, so if you’re in the market for one, it’s worth thinking about what you want from it.
Reasons for owning a multifunction oven
Multi-function cooking provides a solution for all your cooking requirements. From traditional heating systems to more specialised functions such as baking and pizza settings, multifunction ovens provide you with the flexibility to prepare a variety of meals.
Types of cooking function and what they do
What kind of cook are you and what do you want the oven to do for you?
If you want a straightforward oven experience, take a look at the simple John Lewis JLBIOS611 single oven. Other than defrost and grill settings, the fan mode is the solitary cooking function, with the circular element around it for uniform heat distribution. This means less preheat time, so less energy is needed, there’s no flavour transfer when cooking different foods at the same time, and it cooks at 10% quicker than a normal oven.
The pizza lover
The Siemens HB75RB551B has an intensive hot air setting (also known as fan and bottom heating element), giving a crisp underside to pizza bases, quiches and pastry cases. You’ll also find there’s no need to preheat the oven when using this setting when cooking from frozen.
The recipe maker
If you love producing those tried-and-tested recipes - especially cakes - handed down to you from grandma, then you’ll appreciate an oven that offers conventional top and bottom heat. The £729 Britannia OV-600LMP-SS is suitable for baking and roasting. Fruitcake nirvana indeed!
If you’re permanently short of time and often too busy to cook for yourself, check out the AEG BY9004000M. The Speedcook setting, designed for convenience foods, dispenses with preheating completely. So if the packet says preheat the oven then cook for 25 minutes, you ignore the preheat instruction and just cook for 25 minutes using this setting.
The mucky roaster
There are few domestic chores worse than cleaning the inside of the oven, and if you enjoy a roast it’s one of the downsides. Unfortunately so many of us are put off doing it that we actually make things worse, because food deposits and grease get baked on even more!
The Smeg FP610X Marc Newson makes cleaning easy thanks to the pyrolitic setting. It works by heating the interior to 500ºC and incinerating all the gunk that’s built up. Simply wipe out the oven after the cycle is complete and the oven’s cooled down. No fuss, no bother!
The budding chef
If you’re still honing your chef skills and want delicious food without having to think too much, you’ll appreciate the state-of-the-art Miele H5681BP. There are several programmes that help take the guesswork out of producing mouth-watering meals.
With the moisture control on automatic baking programmes, you’re guaranteed excellent results every time. The sensors inside the oven measure the amount of oxygen and vapours being emitted, and can tell when your cake is ready. There’s no guesswork involved and the oven shuts down automatically once finished. Who said you couldn’t have your cake baked automatically and eat it?
The healthy eater
The John Lewis JLBIOS614 may look like a regular built-in single oven, but its fascia houses a point for topping it up with water. “Whatever for?” I hear you cry. Well, 3 of the functions are different steam and cooking combinations, for healthier eating. Conventional cooking such as top or bottom heat is also supported, and there’s even a meat probe programme that gets your Sunday roast cooked to perfection!
Take a look at our cooking appliances buying guides for more information before you decide.