Cooking is all about the heat. You can shop all the features, from timers to touchscreens, but it won’t make your cooking better if you don’t have the right type of heat. While shopping for a new oven, you may be curious which cooking method is best: gas, electric or convection? While each method has its own strengths, the answer will depend on your specific cooking habits and preference.
Since gas-fueled ovens use a direct source to fuel the flame, they are able to heat up the oven quicker than electric ovens. However, while gas cooktops are known for their precision and responsiveness, gas ovens don’t necessarily hold the same reputation. As gravity causes hot air to rise and cool air to fall, the heat distribution can become uneven. Cold spots in some areas and hot spots in others can cause your foods to cook unevenly. Gas ovens also tend to have a higher humidity level which can cause crisping and browning of foods. You can avoid some of these issues by rotating your dish throughout the cavity as it bakes and using glass dishware to avoid browning the bottom of your dish. Gas ovens can cost a bit more than electric ovens but are still a great option if your home is already equipped with a gas line.
Since electric ovens use a large element at the bottom of the oven which heats and cools the oven slowly, they are able to provide a more even heat distribution than their gas counterparts. However, this slower process also means it will take a bit longer to heat up the cavity so you’ll need to consider preheat times in your meal prep. Electric ovens tend to stay dryer than gas ovens so browning and crisping aren’t as much of a concern. Since the bottom element isn’t such an intense heat they are less likely to cause burning on the underside of your dish. Unfortunately, electric ovens can’t avoid the laws of thermodynamics and the top part of the oven will still be hotter than the bottom. As the more popular option, they are also typically more affordable than gas ovens and come in more models and configurations.
To solve the problem of uneven heat distribution, convection ovens use three electric elements; one on the bottom, one on the top, and one at the rear. It then uses a powerful fan to move hot air around your foods for even cooking. The result is even heat distribution and cooking times cut by around 25%. They are able to heat up quickly and use about the same amount of energy to heat the cavity as gas ovens. Since the temperature is even throughout the oven, you can cook multiple dishes at once without worrying about burning them. However, quicker cook times means you have to adjust recipes that are designed for traditional ovens to make sure you don’t overcook your dishes. Also, certain foods don’t like convection (such as souffles and fluffy cakes). Lastly, more heat sources and an additional fan means convection ovens are more complex and tend to have a higher price tag than traditional gas or electric ovens.
As you can see, each cooking method has its advantages and disadvantages. Visit your nearest Queen City store to meet our appliance experts to help you choose the right oven for you.