Duel fuel or gas range?
- tuqueboy May 5, 2009 10:51 PM
Looking at a Kitchenaid dual fuel 30-inch range (gas range, electric convection oven; convection can be switched off). Personally, I'm not certain if the extra $$ are worth it just for the electric oven. Does it really make that big a difference to baking?
Oh god yes. I've baked in gas ovens and electric ovens and I utterly despise gas ovens. If the gas oven is convection then a lot of the problems with gas ovens are mitigated, but the temperature fluctuations in a gas oven will still be greater than in an electric.
There have been other threads on this subject, but here's my 2 cents. I recently purchased a new range and I went with all gas even though I'm an avid baker. The reason? I hate electric broilers and I use the broiler function fairly often. I have had no trouble baking in either this oven (which is a GE Cafe) or my last one, which was a Maytag.
Have a Kitchenaid Gas convection for a couple of years now. Love it. Bought it because i wanted a gas cooktop..not looking particularly for a Convection oven. People had told me it would be great for baking. I am not really into that much baking, but I do like to roast a variety of meats. This Oven is just perfect for that. It is rare that I turn on the Non Convection feature of the oven . Convection all the way. I have not experienced any issues with uneven cooking I also utilize the bread proofing cycle as well as the dehydrator function. It truly is amazing. Also always use the temp probe when roasting...just tell the oven what internal temp I want and it shuts off when that has been reached. All the while reporting the current temp on the display.
I'll echo what flourgirl said. If you bake a lot then yes the electric oven might be worth it because the temperature is regulated far more evenly in an electric oven than gas. The trade off is you loose the gas broiler.
In either event if KA is still using the digital control panels then I suggest an extended warranty. I killed one a year for five years on my KA oven.
If you really do bake a lot, an electric oven is much better. It heats more evenly and maintains a fairly steady humidity level once it reaches the set temperature. The burning gas emits water as a combustion product, so the humidity levels are much higher and more variable. (You may want humidity for crust development, but the humidity produced by burning gas isn't controllable.) Finally, a gas oven vents much more heat into your kitchen.
I'm not a particularly good baker, but I do use a tabletop electric convection oven for critical baking (a thirty year old Rival). I use another tabletop gizmo called a Jet Stream oven for roasting. What I would never be willing to give up is the infrared broiler in my gas oven.
If you're a discerning baker, you'll want the electric (and convection) oven. If baking is not a big part of your kitchen duties and you've been happy with a gas oven previously, you may not see the value in having a duel fuel range. There are many opinions on ovens and I think it just all comes down to preference and use. Do you think you'll do more stovetop cooking and maybe the occasional roast chicken and sheet of cookies (go with all gas)? Or do you have grand plans of loaves of bread, flatbread, cookies, cakes, pastries, etc (splurge on the duel fuel)?
Personally, I have the Kenmore 40-inch duel fuel (duel oven) and I use the oven all the time. The temperature stays a little more even with the electric (and with the convection) and the broiler works just fine for me. I don't miss my gas oven at all. Of course, with the 40-inch range, the difference between all gas and duel fuel was negligible when compared to the overall cost of the range itself.
Something to note: unless you already have an electric range, you may need to upgrade your outlet (I think to a 220v?) to accommodate the duel fuel range, which would add to the cost if you hire an electrician.
Your main question: Yes, it's a big difference for baking. Even a gas convection oven (I used to have a very good one) bakes much less evenly than electric.
If baking is your main criterion, go dual-fuel. Also, as embee points out below, a gas range will make your kitchen far hotter than an electric.
I wish someone would make a home-style dual-fuel range with electric baking elements and a gas broiler, but I don't think such a creature exists. Dacor makes one, but I don't want a range in that style (or especially that price range).
Well, I have to say I'm no user of commercial appliances, and before I had this one, I had a flat cooktop (electric) and before that a regular coil electric stove. So, it depends what you're comparing it too. For me, this is way superior than anything I've cooked on before. At a friend's house recently, I found myself cooking on a coil stove, and, oh gosh, it was painful.
Is it the best gas stove out there? For sure not. Is it a good stove? I've been happy with it. Compared to other options, it was great value.
So, I guess you have to ask yourself what you're looking for... I've been cooking on mine for five years now. I did have to replace the control panel just a couple of months ago when it blew unexpectedly, but I don't know that that couldn't happen to other brands and models... I would buy it again, if the price was right.