Always have I wanted a gas stove top. Now is my chance. I had envisioned years ago the best combination in the kitchen would be a gas stove and electric oven. I don't bake often except for old world breads and holiday birds. What would be my best combo? What are the advantages and disadvantages of gas and electric ovens?
I have used gas ovens with gas hobs, electric ovens with electric hobs, and electric ovens with gas hobs. By far the best combination is gas hob and electric oven. I'll break the pros and cons down:
- Heats up quickly
- Heat changes quickly - when you turn it off, it's off.
- Fine control over heat
- Can create 'hotspots', but this is why you have different sized rings
- Can be fussier to clean
- Obvious danger of gas leaks, but modern safety systems mitigate this
Electric hobs are pretty much the opposite. They can be slow to heat and react slowly to heat changes (so if you want to go from a boil to a simmer you have to plan 20 minutes ahead). They also have the disadvantage of remaining hot even when they're turned off, which can be dangerous. Their only advantage over gas hobs is a more even heat across the pan, and being easier to clean.
Electric Oven (preferably fan)
- Quick to preheat
- Even temperature throughout the oven
- Precise temperature control
- None that I can think of
In contrast, gas ovens are slow to preheat, have marked zones of different heat (cooler at the bottom, hot at the top) and have coarser heat control. Also, because the flame is generally at the back of the oven, you can end up burning larger dishes that butt right up to it. All this builds up to make an unreliable oven (in terms of cooking results).
In conclusion, a gas hob/electric oven combo is the best because it gives you ultimate control over your cooking.
When I switched over to a gas stove, some years back, I noticed that it took considerably longer to cook food on my new (Gas) stove. like 6 min on the electric stove vs 10 min on the gas stove for boiling about 2L (7 Cups) of water (for making Tea). Then, it made me suspicious if gas stove really saves me any money that I thought it would (Gas, based on Lower Calorific Value LCV, being 40% cheaper than Electricity, per unit of Energy, at that time).
I tried experimenting at home with a 0-150 degrees C thermometer and an average size pot, filled with 2L of water.
What I found from my experiment was that using electric stove, about 60-65% of the energy was going into heating the pot and the water in it; and in the case of gas stove, it was a maximum of 40% (based on LCV and optimizing the flame for minimum heat loss vs cooking). Adjusting the pot height from the flame, for maximum heat transfer efficiency, I was able to get almost 50% heat transfer to the pot and if the pot was higher than the manufacturer supplied base, heat transfer efficiency quickly dropped to 20-30 %.
As gas cooking was less efficient in my cooking experiment, the cost advantage for Gas, for factory set pot height, disappeared if cooking was the primary objective. But, for optimized flame to pot height, the cost advantage was back.
Also, if the stove is being used in the winter months when home heating is ON anyways, 100% of the heat value (both Electric or Gas) is used in heating the house, cooking the food along the process. In this case, cost advantage of Gas is achieved again. (Keep in mind the reverse effect in the summer months).
Recently, I replaced my old gas stove with a new modern gas stove and have observed (no detailed experiment) that it took even longer to cook, than on my old gas stove. Quickly noticed that the modern looking stove grill places the pot higher than in my old stove. Bringing the pot lower, reduced the cooking time back to as was on my older stove.
I wonder, if the Gas stove designers/ manufacturers try to maximize the heat transfer by optimizing the pot height or exploring ways for more efficient heat transfer to the pot.