basic gas range questions - please help
I'm in the market for a gas range. This will be the first time I've ever purchased a range, so I'm pretty excited, but also completely ignorant...please help! I've done some searching on this board, but I can't seem to find the answers I'm looking for.
We are in the fortunate position to get a discount from GE, so I'm pretty focussed on their products. Leaning towards the GE cafe range, but I'm open to their other products as well. Here's a basic list of what I want:
cast iron grates
largest oven I can get
most BTUs I can get!
Built in temperature probe
I've never had a convection oven before...is it very noisy? What do you think of your convection oven as compared to my old standard electric? (I think the stove I have is older than I am - and I was born in the 70s).
I'm having trouble understanding dual fuel. Does this mean that the range is gas, but the oven is electric? Do I want that? Wouldn't a gas oven be more efficient? Please advise!
It seems I can't get away from either getting a warming drawer or a lower oven, I'm not sure I will find either of these useful, not to mention I actually use my oven drawer for storage! Given the choice, I would definitely go with the lower oven (IMHO a warming drawer is pretty wasteful). Does anybody out there actually use this, if so, what do you cook in there, and why? I suppose if I had a turkey in the oven and wanted to bake a pie at the same time...but wouldn't the pie taste/smell like turkey?
Thanks in advance to anybody who's able to offer advice.
You've asked a bunch of questions I just can't(or wont) answer.
I can tell you that modern convection ovens are very quiet, to the point that I can't hear the fan on mine at all. I had an older Tappan convection range, which I won in a servicemans troubleshooting contest, and it was so loud that I could hear it three rooms away, and you could only use it in the convection mode. It had no conventional mode. The new ones allow you to use either mode.
Be careful of those cast iron grates. Manufacturers, to make the range look more "commercial", add big grates, but sometimes increase the heighth over the flame, to such a distance that cooking times suffer. Commercial ranges have enormous top burners, which domestics don't need (plus, you'd need a bigger air conditioner, in the summer).
So far as that "effeciency" question; the best suggestions are to pay attention to the YELLOW EFFICIENCY STICKER, which, by law, must be on every new appliance.
Take the time to find out how much electricity and natural gas costs, in your locale, and that will allow you to compare the energy usage of the electrics to other electrics, and the electrics to gas models.
The other suggestion would be to read consumer opinions, from websites or Consumer Reports Magazine. That's a good start.
Thanks for your time.
Racks are TOO SMALL. We love this Range BUT a 22 lb. turkey crashed down because all of the oven racks are just a tad too SMALL. Enough that you will not notice the problem until you put something heavy on it. THe easy fix is to order racks from another company that are EXACTLY 24 inches wide. The original racks for this are 23 and 3/4 which is not noticeable to those who don't really use their oven. We really use it!!
I have no idea why you're having a problem with your oven racks, but I assure you that I really use my oven - and quite often have very heavy things on the racks like large and full le creuset pots - and I've never had an issue like this. I just checked my oven, and the racks have a comfortable margin over the rack ledges on both sides.
Lucky you! I couldn't afford the GE I wanted, but I got a great deal on a Frigidaire (that's an oxymoron if I ever saw one) Galaxy model, this past summer. It was the first gas stove I ever bought (a few came with houses, years back) and it is immensely gratifying.
I went with continuous cast iron grates. Love them! Not only are they durable and heavy and nothing rattles, I can move pans off the heat, slide things all over the place, set serving plates RIGHT next to the pan, for transfer of food...I gained so much useful surface area, from my dumb, circular ringed electric!
I have a true convection oven and it's extremely quiet. Often, I have doubts and have to check the oven light indicator to make sure it is on. I understand that, with convection, one misses the "dual fuel" aspect less (I wanted this; could not afford) as the uneven heating/baking that is characteristic of gas ovens is ameliorated by the convection.
Year ago,a rental I lived in had a double gas oven (from the '60's, I think; the upper oven was actually above the cooktop, like microwaves are today) and I LOVED IT! True, I didn't use it all the time, but the smaller oven was useful when I didn't want to heat the big one, and, of course, at times like Thanksgiving it was a miracle.
FYI, many dual fuel ranges require 220v for the oven so you may need to run some wiring depending upon your circumstances.
I would opt for a lower oven for exactly the reason you mentioned -- cooking a large meal such as Thanksgiving dinner. No the pie won't taste like Turkey. And with the smells in the house at that time no one could tell anyway.
You want the upper oven to be at least 5+ cu ft.
A convection oven is not noticeably noisier than a regular. However, convection cooking requires adjustments to your recipes since cook times will be shorter.
I own a GE stove. We bought it about 2 years ago. It was recommended by Consumers Reports. Our bottom drawer is for storage. No burners or warmers. We do not miss the capability but we do not bake much and it saved money on the purchase price. We had stoves before that had broilers or storage. Storage for us is more useful.
Our stove has 4 burners, a super boil, simmer and two "regular" burners. The only thing I do not like is that you cannot put big pots (wide diameters) on the back burners without touching the back console of the stove. I feel that the heat deflecting off the pots will scorch the console. The simmer burner is one of the back burners. I also vote against stainless steel. Its a scratch waiting to happen.
I have the GE Cafe Range and I love it. I wanted all the same things you did and I couldn't spend $5000 to get them. I also wanted the commercial look - aesthetically I find it clean and spare looking. That (and the soon to be replaced hood) will be the only stainless in my kitchen. Every other appliance is white. But I had an enameled range previously and I thought it was hell on wheels to keep clean. I find it light years easier to keep this range looking nice. The cast iron grates are terrific as well and also mucho easy to keep clean.
I also liked this range because it doesn't have the big overhanging back panel that so many free-standing ranges have. I have always found them to interfere with the use of the back burners. The Cafe looks like a slide in but is a freestanding that comes with an optional low profile back panel (which I purchased and I'm glad I did.)
I don't use the lower oven much - but mostly because I also have a fairly large toaster oven sitting on my counter that I use ALL the time. If I didn't have that, I'd be using the lower oven a lot more. And when I DO need it, it comes in handy. And I find it works fine as a warming drawer, too, for the few things I make where this is really necessary. And no, I don't notice any migration of food odors/whatever from the upper oven to the lower oven.
I'm fine with gas oven as well. I was considering the duel fuel, especially because I was also considering the GE Monogram, but nixed it for the following reasons: 1) I hate electric broilers and 2) it would have cost more, I was already stretching to buy the range in the first place and we would have had to add a 220v outlet behind the range which would have added even more expense.
I'm a very frequent baker and I was a little disappointed with the evenness of the baking at first - even compared to my previous gas range, which was an el cheapo Maytag. (I would have kept that range, the oven was amazing and kept a perfect temp the whole time I had it, except that the burner got all rusted out...) But I started using the convection features on the GE and things are getting better.
I don't find the convection noisy, but the fan that turns on when the oven hits a certain temp is pretty loud. I just live with it - I'm not that anal.
I don't use the middle burner much, but I love the continuous grates. I have also found that the middle burners' jets get clogged easily. Maybe because I don't use it often...
Thank you both so much for the replies. Very much appreciated. dmd_kc, I really appreciate your detailed advice. I understand the fad factor, but we have a stainless fridge and a very oddly out of place 30+ yo beige stove... What appealed to me about the cafe was that it didn't have the back part... partly because I feel this will allow for more room for pots on the back burner, and partly because I just tiled a backsplash myself and now it's all covered up by our range top! That might be a good thing anyway to prevent messy stains on off white tile and also because our counter top has a lip that goes up the wall a few inches - which might look odd in the end. But if you say the Profile performs on the same level as the cafe, then perhaps they are worth a closer look. I did look at the Monogram line and actually really didn't like the look...plus I only have 30 inches to work with, so those really don't make sense to me.
As for the center burner, I agree, the griddle is likely too small and oddly shaped to make sense, however, I thought it would be great for making gravy with a roasting pan on the range etc.
Glad to hear that a gas oven works well for both of you.
I know the GE ranges pretty much inside and out, after extensive research for my own purchase. If you're set on that line, the Profile range that retails for around $1800 gives you pretty much the same performance as the Cafe, but it doesn't have the Cafe's "commercial" look -- which is not to my tastes. Design trends are turning away from stainless appliances and granite countertops right now, which most designers and realtors believe are going to date a kitchen to the mid-aughts and will shortly become a liability (unless you have one of the 36" or larger $7k ranges like Monograms or Vikings, which I've decided are not for me).
My previous range was an all-gas GE Profile convection and it cooked like a charm. Performance with the dual-fuel's electric oven will be a bit more even, some say, though my gas oven was still excellent. The sound of the fan was negligible -- far less than the range hood. You can hear it, but I bet you wouldn't notice if you didn't know what to listen for. The biggest difference is that electric ovens vent far less heat into the house. That's a nice thing when it's warm out, but the inverse during the winter.
The Profile and Cafe both have a bottom drawer that also functions as an oven. For things that need steady heat like casseroles or warming already-baked bread, I've spoken to several people who use it and like it very much for what it is. Just realize it's warmed with a much smaller heating element, takes longer to get to temperature, and is more susceptible to losing heat when you open it to check on things. Some people don't like its placement at the bottom, but I don't think that's a problem. I'd use the top, higher-performance oven much more often than the little one.
The GEs' center burners are an oval, suited best to the supplied center griddle. I happen to think it's too small and oddly shaped to be useful, myself. I'd rather use my big separate griddle on that burner. You might find a regular round fifth burner like on other brands more useful. I think I would.
The ONLY real drawback to the Profile is that the white and black models come with enameled cast-iron grates. Since I want my range in white, that means grates will be light gray, like they were on my old Profile -- and that's a huge issue. The gray looks very nice until you use it once, and presto, it's got burnt-on gunk. Yes, you can get it clean by submerging the grate in ammonia in a plastic bag for several hours, but that's a too-onerous task. The enamel eventually wears and gets scratched over the years.
If you want stainless, though, those grates are cast-iron. The Profile range has a much more home-kitchen look, which I think is preferable aesthetically -- but that's up to you. Its big burner is 17k instead of 18 on the Cafe. That's not an appreciable difference, especially for the price gap.
This is pure opinion here, so take it for what it's worth: Home ranges that are supposed to look like restaurant ranges are like Hummers to me. They're meant to resemble something from a world not intended for the average civilian. Based on the experiences of two close family members and several friends, I believe stainless steel is impossible to keep looking even remotely clean (most so on a fridge). And, as I said above, I think it's a design fad whose time has gone.
Convection fan is pretty quiet.
Yes, dual-fuel means your burners are gas and the oven is electric. Some people prefer electric (I don't) claiming it heats more evenly. It really depends on the oven. And the cook. I have a gas convection oven that heats very evenly and I would never consider swapping it for electric.
Warming drawers are of limited use. In a range, even less so. A true warming drawer is heat/humidity controlled so a dinner plate (with dinner on it) can be kept at serving temperature if a family member is running late. It's meant for keeping already-warm food at temperature, not for warming cooled food. I have yet to see one on a range that does anything of use.