When baking at home becomes a part of your life, you start looking for the best oven to buy for baking. But given the wide range of options available, it is obvious to get confused.
I had the same problem when I wanted to buy an oven for myself. There are tons of articles on the internet talking about ovens, but no single source where you could get all your doubts cleared. Though I got my first oven as an unexpected gift, I know many of you have the same challenge of how to find your best oven to buy. I have tried simplifying this for you in this article.
Best Oven to Buy for Baking
You need to first decide if you need a countertop oven or a built-in oven. Countertop ovens sit on the counter of your kitchen. It is available in various dimension and capacity. These are mobile and you can move them from one place to another. Unlike built-in ovens, the countertop ovens have zero installation cost. But because they occupy space on your kitchen counter, they become less favorable for a few.
On the other hand, the built-in oven needs dedicated space in your kitchen. They look fancy. These ovens can be tucked into a free space on the wall or kitchen cabinet leaving your counter space free. Because they are permanently installed, it is difficult to replace them if need be. If installed overhead, access to it could be difficult. Also, it comes with a high installation cost.
Which oven is good for baking cakes?
Recently, I got an interesting question from one of a member of a community I am a part of. The question was like:
“Hi, Sonia. I am avidly following you for past few months since the joining of this amazing bakers guild. It is a great article, something I was looking for a while. It covered all the necessary points yet I would like to ask which oven do you prefer especially for baking cakes? A Convection one or a Conventional one? Since most of the bakers swear by a regular non-fan oven for baking moist cakes.”
I felt that this could be a question by many and hence thought to address it here.
Broadly talking, convection and conventional ovens are almost the same except that convection oven comes with an additional fan. The fan helps in circulating the heat evenly in the chamber. If the convection oven has the fan switch, which it generally comes with, you can anytime use a convection oven as a conventional oven by switching off the fan.
Coming to the baking of the cake, conventional baking is always better when something needs to rise while baking. Convection baking will bake the outer layer faster while the recipe is still rising and can result in a bumpy cake.
Built-In vs Countertop Oven
|Placement||Kitchen counter||Wall or Cabinet|
|Cost of Installation||Zero||Expensive|
|Space Usage||Use Kitchen Counter||Any free space of your kitchen|
|Repairs and Replacement||Easy and less expensive||Difficult and Expensive|
So when you choose between the countertop and built-in oven keep these things in mind. Now the next question to answer is if you need a microwave oven or OTG.
One of the most common questions people have asked me is about the brand of the oven they should buy. The question might look simple, but the answer isn’t that simple. People have asked this question because they trust my advice. And hence a greater responsibility while giving recommendations. So I thought to solve this problem and curated a list of my top 10 ovens for baking. Don’t miss to check the list.
Microwave Oven vs OTG
I get this question almost in every baking workshop that I have conducted. There seems to be a lot of confusion between microwave vs oven.
Should I buy an oven or microwave is a generic question I hear time and again. If you have the same question in mind, continue reading. Don’t let your baking fail because of the wrong selection of the oven.
A microwave oven is loosely referred to a microwave. This appliance uses microwave radiation (electromagnetic waves) to produce the heat. These are available between 16L to 40L of capacity.
Microwave Ovens are heavy and that makes it difficult to move around. These appliances need dedicated space on your kitchen counter and operated with electricity. Microwave Ovens are expensive to buy. A 32L microwave oven could cost you around 20K.
Types of Microwave Oven
- Solo Microwave Oven: This is the basic model that only has microwave mode. You can heat, reheat, defrost, and cook food in this type of microwave oven. Solo microwave ovens come between 16L to 20L in size. Morphy Richards 20L Solo Microwave Oven is a great choice if you like to buy one. You cannot bake and need microwave-safe utensils to use in a solo microwave oven.
- Grill Microwave Oven: These types of ovens have a heating coil on the bottom as well as on the top side of the compartment. These ovens can grill and roast the food. Morphy Richards 20L Grill Microwave Oven is one of the best if you decide to buy. You need microwave-safe utensils for this type of oven. You cannot use this oven for baking purposes.
- Convection Microwave Oven: These microwaves have the ability to cook, grill, and bake. These ovens come with a fan inside that circulates the heat inside the compartment. The convection mode helps in even baking. At my mother’s place, we use Samsung 28L Convection Microwave Oven and are happy with the performance.
OTG – Oven, Toaster, and Griller
OTG, loosely referred to as Oven, is a chamber that uses electricity to produce the heat and bake the food. Oven for baking at home ranges between 16L to 60L. These are also referred to as electric oven for baking cakes and bread.
OTG’s are less expensive to buy. A 28L OTG will cost you around 7K which is almost 1/3 or a microwave oven. Utensils that you can use on a gas stove can be used in an OTG.
In an OTG, there are two heating coil, each placed on the top and bottom of the chamber. These OTG’s are light in weight and you can move them around. You will find gas operated as well as electric operated OTG’s in the market.
Gas Ovens vs Electric Ovens
Gas ovens are expensive to buy but their running cost is low. It heats up faster but unless they have a fan (most of them do not), they do not distribute heat evenly and have a hot spot. It means that you have to rotate the food while baking. You will need to connect the gas cylinder with the gas ovens which makes them stationary.
Electric ovens are cheaper to buy but the cost of electricity makes them expensive in the long run. These usually come with a fan and distribute the heat evenly. Since electric ovens only need a wall socket makes it easier to move around.
You can also get bigger Ovens than 60L (commercial ovens) that we will discuss later in this article.
Types of OTG
- Conventional Oven: Generally the OTG’s less than 40L capacity are conventional ovens. Small size and its small price bracket make it favorable for a small family. A conventional oven will have a heating coil on the top and bottom of the chamber. The thermostat inside keeps the temperature steady.
The downside of a conventional oven is that it only surrounds the food with hot air. Because the air does not circulate inside the chamber, the oven develops hot spots. This leads to uneven baking. My Morphy Richard 28 RSS is an example of a conventional oven. It is a great OTG and for small baking, I always trust on this when I am baking just for myself.
- Convection Oven: Along with the top and bottom coils, some convection ovens may have a third coil. It also comes with a fan inside. The fan circulates the hot air in the entire chamber and helps in rapid and even baking. Food item inside a convection oven browns faster. Since it bakes fast you need to run it either for less time or need to set at a lower temperature while baking your food.
A convection oven is great for cookies and biscuits, muffins and puff pastry and small stuff. But, you might like to be more careful when you are baking larger items like a bread loaf. They may brown faster from outside and whereas uncooked from inside. Using an aluminum foil to cover the exposed area might be a good option. Alternatively, you may switch off the fan mode and bake. My second oven (bigger in size) at home is Morphy Richard OTG Besta 52 Ltr.
When choosing between a microwave oven and OTG, keep the purpose of buying in mind.
Check my Recommended Top 10 Ovens for Baking
Microwave vs Oven
|Utensils Used||Limited||Almost All|
|Capacity||Max 40L||Max 60L for home baking|
|Usage||Cooking and Baking both||Only Baking|
Ok, by now you would have decided between a microwave oven and an OTG. So are you going to buy a countertop or a built-in appliance?
But before you zero down on your best oven to buy, the last thing you need to decide is the size of the oven. Your budget, the size of the family, and your baking preferences should determine the size of the oven. The following table can help you decide better.
|Family Size||Ideal Size of Oven|
If you plan to start your home baking business, you might like to buy a 60L oven straight away. After all home baking business means a lot of baking.
Restaurant kitchen that needs to serve a large audience needs bigger ovens. Commercial ovens come in a large variety of countertop and full-size models. Different type of commercial ovens are:
- Commercial Microwave Ovens
- Commercial Pizza Ovens
- Convection Ovens
- Rotisserie Ovens
- Bakery Ovens
- Broiler Ovens
- Cook & Hold Ovens
- Conveyor Ovens
- Deck Ovens
Regardless of the type of oven you buy always check the following:
- If your gadget has a fan, use the fan. This will help baking the food at a lower heat.
- Do not open the oven door while baking. This will save any loss of heat and bake faster.
- Try to bake as much as possible in a single batch.
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