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Jun 1, 2006 12:52 PM

Rookie question about gas oven pilots

  • n

Okay, this is really dumb, but I've never had a gas stove before so here goes...

If the stovetop is gas powered, is the oven beneath necessarily a gas powered oven? I ask because I need to keep my sourdough starter around 80 degrees, and the book says an oven with a gas pilot light is usually about that temperature.

If, when I go to turn on my oven, it makes a clicking noise (like when you turn on a gas stove to light it), that should mean it's gas powered and has a pilot, right?

I stuck my hand in to see if it was about 80 degrees, but it's so warm in my apartment I can't tell a difference between inside and outside during the day. I know, logically that would mean I should be able to keep my sourdough starter on a counter somewhere, but sometimes at night the temperature drops.

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  1. Actually, you can have a gas stove with electric oven. Are there slots along sides of the bottom of the oven floor? If so, you probably have gas, with the gas element underneath that. But with an electric ignition so that you don't have an active pilot, like older gas ovens (which you had to light through a tube end in the front bottom of the oven).

    Anyway, turning on the oven light bulb is fine.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Karl S
      Hungry Celeste

      If your gas stove is of fairly recent vintage (last 15 years), then your oven probably doesn't have a pilot. Electronic ignition replaced constant-burning pilots in the mid-80s, and even extremely inexpensive gas appliances have electronic ignition nowadays. But Karl's right; turning on the oven light will generate some heat. Use a household thermometer to check the temp (you don't need to run out & buy a fancy one). Another way of achieving a good proofing temp inside an oven is to put a bowl/pan of hot water inside...some low-wattage bulbs don't give off sufficient heat, esp if your kitchen's ambient temp is rather low.

      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        Recent models of GE gas ovens have pilot lights and not electronic ignition. Just with that and not further research of other brands (and with all due respect), your information that ALL new models have electronic ignition is incorrect.

        I suggest to original poster, Noodles, that a call to the gas company will provide a free technician to come and light the stove. Just tell the company you need someone to light the pilot and all the information you need will come from that. It is quite important to know the dynamics of one's oven not only to use for cooking, but in case of any emergencies. IMO, the best answer to the rookie question is to ask for a free technician from the local gas company.

        1. re: kc girl

          But the "clicking" sounds is a piezoelectric starter - ranges and ovens with pilot lights don't "click" and electric ovens don't click either.

          And electric ovens with gas ranges are usually a more expensive specialty item - unlikely to be installed by a landlord and unlikely to go unmentioned by somone sellig their hosue. The vast majority of the time, the entire until will be one or the other.

          1. re: kc girl

            I don't know - I had a GE Profile gas range that I purchased about 5 years ago before upgrading to a commercial-type range, and it certainly had no pilot light. And I checked the GE web site and it seems to indicate (I didn't check all of them, but did look at a pretty fair cross-section) that all their gas ranges and ovens have electronic ignition.

      2. It sounds like you have a gas oven with an electric starter. When you turn on the oven, do you get a clicking, and does the oven come on. If so, there is no continous pilot to keep the oven warm when not heating.

        1. I'd recommend a oven thermometer... but also,

          I have heard of nuking a cup of hot water and proofing things in your microwave. I haven't tried this myself, but thought I'd throw the idea out there. keeps the ambient humdity up, I'm sure you could do the same thing in your oven with an over safe container.