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Three months ago I moved to a new apartment. In my old apartment with my old oven, my baked goods turned out pretty well. However, since I moved, my baked goods vary from almost-good to throw-it-in-the-garbage instantly. First I thought I had to get used to the new oven, so I made adjustments to the temperature and so on. Still I just get very sad every time. The oven is over 30 years old, so I think I have to conclude; I need a new one.

I looked around on the internet for a while, and I did not really get an idea of how to choose one. A couple of things are important to me:

  • It must be appropriate for making pastry
  • It will be used a lot (almost every day), so for home-use it will be used pretty intensely
  • I can not install a built-in oven; I rent this apartment and may not change anything
  • It must be big enough; I have no problem with taking a lot of my space
  • Here in the Netherlands combo-ovens, which are an oven and microwave in one, are very popular. I'm not interested in the microwave part, so the quality of the microwave is not essential assuming one is in the machine.

I am willing to spend some money on it because I use the oven every day. (Note: The owner of the building is probably not going to help me pay for it)

When looking around for a new oven, a couple considerations were raised for me:

  • The free-standing ovens have different powers. Which power must I have at least? (I have seen variations from 800W to 1500W)
  • Prices vary widely, while specifications do not. Are there some brands or types which can be recommended?

I would like to show you the options that I've disregarded, yet I don't even have a clue where to start at all! I am hoping to hear some good advice on how to select an oven to fit this criteria.

-edit- I start doing some more research. And this is one criteria that must be met for me: I want top and bottem heat. However, this is not the case in most ovens I can find, and sometimes it is not specified. Maybe I should conclude that it is not the case then? Does anyone know the influence of only top heat?

Furthermore my research ended in some options. Prices and types vary, but I can not really tell the difference from the specifications. For example, what does the number of WATT says about the specification of the oven?

However, next to my confusions, this are the options I selected to give you an idea about what I am thinking about:

  1. http://icecat.it/us/p/delonghi/eo3275/freestanding-cookers-8004399181762-eo-3275-10726854.html

The look: Te specifications:

  1. http://www.tristar.eu/en/Home_Appliances/Cooking/Ovens/OV-1417/3/3195

enter image description here

The specifiaction:

Well this is to give you an idea what I am thinking about. I hope to get some feed back about a possible mistake I make with this kind of oven, or what is good about them. If you would compare them, which one to choose? The price is around the same and within my budget. (less then 250-300 euro's is fine, and this is around 150-200 euro's)

Why did I choose these two? The main two reasons:

-They have top and bottom heat

-They have a volume of around 35 liter. I make pretty large plates, especially cakes. I want enough space in my oven, but maybe I am exaggerating and 24 liters really is enough for home use?

I know this are a lot of questions at the same time. Basically I want a good advice, and feedback about buying an oven. I want to know I a forget any criteria that are important. Also I want to know how you can know ffrom specifications what is a good oven. Can you know quality difference from it? Or is the only way read experience from other people and base my opinion on that? If someone can tell me how I know which oven is a good one, you helped me a lot! Thanks a lot!

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Before you go out and buy a new oven, there might be some things that you can do to make the current one ... less bad. If it's cooking inconsistently (sometimes too cool, sometimes too hot), you can try add a baking stone (sometimes sold as 'pizza stone') to help regulate the heat. If it's always too hot or too cold, you may be able to re-calibrate it. –  Joe Jul 5 '12 at 19:09
    
Well I thought about that. These kind of 'tricks' worked a little bit until today. I was baking this chocolate cake, based on lot's of eggs and only a little flour. I know the recipe very well because it is my favorite. However this time the cake stayed almost liquid inside. I normally bake it for 35-40 minutes. Now it stayed liquid inside, so I baked it longer, and after more than an hour i quit baking and decided: This is not working anymore at all. I need a new one. (when i cut the cake open, the inside was 'flowing' out like lava out of a vulcano.) –  Lotte Laat Jul 5 '12 at 19:40
    
It would also be interesting to know how much space you will need in your oven. A regular combi can take two medium-sized oven pans (ovenschalen) if you put in a rack, which normally comes with the oven. I bought a very modern oven for € 75 on Marktplaats, and it has worked very well for the past two years. Baked all sorts of pastry. Unless you need too much space for a combi-oven, or you don't care about money at all, I highly recommend Marktplaats. –  Cerberus Jul 5 '12 at 20:00
    
Cerberus, can you tell me what oven you've got, because you are so happy without it? It is important to me that it is big enough. I do not care about space. I only care about getting a good oven. I use it every day so cooking is no fun for me without one. –  Lotte Laat Jul 5 '12 at 20:43
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While I recently concluded my oven shopping, I can't really help you ... ovens in the USA are very different from ovens available in the Netherlands. Possibly others could help you more if you posted some links to the kinds of ovens you're talking about. –  FuzzyChef Jul 7 '12 at 22:06

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You probably have already purchased an oven at this point, but this video from America's Test Kitchen seems to explain a lot of things and offers some purchasing suggestions.

The model they recommend is the Breville Smart Oven, however it is made for the US and I could not seem to find a version made for 230V outlets. A reviewer suggested using a "step down transformer," but I don't have any experience with using US appliances in other countries so use your own judgement here.

If you've already purchased an oven, please let us know what you got and how it turned out! I find the idea of using a small toaster oven for heavy duty baking fascinating and would love to hear if you were able to make it work.

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Thanks for the video. I did not buy an oven jet, because I was able to borrow one from a friend. In this way I have some time to maybe make my housekeeper buy me a new one. However I'm still looking for something new for a reasonable price in the mean time. I'll let you know. –  Lotte Laat Jul 29 '12 at 6:49

I was always told that electric ovens bake better that gas. They have a more even heat since they have a heat element on the top and bottom. Gas heats from the bottom, making my baked goods cook on the bottom faster and leaving the middle taking longer, then I end up with dark crusts and dry casseroles. An appliance older than 15 years is probably due to be replaced anyway.

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Please keep in mind that this is a Q&A site, not a forum, so answers should try to address the question directly. In this case, the OP can't actually replace the existing oven, and is looking at stand-alone (not built-in) ovens, so I'm pretty sure that already excludes gas. The decision is about various stand-alone electric ovens. I think the options are a bit different in the Netherlands, but a lot of them are probably like what we call toaster ovens and microwave/toaster ovens in the US. –  Jefromi Jul 10 '12 at 13:48
    
I remember from other questions that there are electric ovens with a signle heating element too, so the generalization is not completely correct. But yes, it is certainly better to have an oven with both top and bottom elements. –  rumtscho Jul 10 '12 at 13:51

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