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Gas oven vs. electric oven -- differences?

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amoule Feb 1, 2014 06:36 PM

I have moved into a house that has a gas oven. I'm very happy about the gas stovetop, which I strongly prefer, but I'm new to having a gas oven.

One thing I've noticed is that if I just warm plates in it they initially get condensation all over them. It's steamy in there. I assume there must be water coming along with the natural gas.

On another thread it was suggested that I make meringues as part of a gluten-free dessert, which seems like a good idea. I wonder how they would do in this steamy oven though. I've never had any trouble making them in an electric oven, but electric ovens are dry.

What are the differences in baking in a gas oven vs an electric oven? What does each do well and what does each do poorly?

Eventually I'd like to replace it.

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    Leepa RE: amoule Feb 1, 2014 06:48 PM

    The moisture in the oven is a product of the combustion process so any gas oven pretty much will have that. Many bakers like that because the moister atmosphere is good for baking breads and such. As far as meringues, I can't attest to that.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Leepa
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      amoule RE: Leepa Feb 1, 2014 10:48 PM

      Any idea which is better for roasting meat?

    2. Chemicalkinetics RE: amoule Feb 1, 2014 06:53 PM

      < I assume there must be water coming along with the natural gas. >

      You can say that, but the water is really a product of the combustion reaction:

      CH4(g) + 2 O2(g) → CO2(g) + 2 H2O(g)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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        amoule RE: Chemicalkinetics Feb 1, 2014 10:43 PM

        Interesting. That also explains why natural gas is clean-burning.

      2. sal_acid RE: amoule Feb 1, 2014 06:54 PM

        Moisture is generally a good thing in an oven.

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          ellabee RE: amoule Feb 1, 2014 08:03 PM

          My mother baked meringues successfully in our 24" gas oven.

          The steam is only really a factor at low temperature, and even then only when the oven is first turned on. The heat buildup quickly gets ahead of the combustion-product moisture. For anything where that might be a concern, just preheat the oven a bit longer.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ellabee
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            amoule RE: ellabee Feb 1, 2014 10:45 PM

            This is what I really need to know for next week. Thanks.

          2. wekick RE: amoule Feb 1, 2014 08:29 PM

            Gas ovens do have water as a byproduct of combustion but once they heat up and air flow starts they dry out and it is much more difficult to keep humidity in the oven. Electric ovens are more of a closed system and will hold onto moisture from the food. I know this is contrary to conventional wisdom. If you read baking forums especially about bread baking it is much more difficult to keep humidity in a gas oven.

            4 Replies
            1. re: wekick
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              ellabee RE: wekick Feb 1, 2014 08:51 PM

              One situation where that makes a big difference is in baking breads where you want steam held in for the crispy crust. Based on what you're saying, seems as if the pan-of-water technique works in electric ovens, but for gas ovens some version of a cloche is needed (a lidded Dutch oven Jim Lahey style, or a disposable aluminum pan set over the bread on a baking stone/steel, or an actual cloche).

              1. re: wekick
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                amoule RE: wekick Feb 1, 2014 10:47 PM

                I rarely get to bake anymore, sadly. Which is better for roasting meat?

                1. re: amoule
                  hill food RE: amoule Feb 2, 2014 02:39 AM

                  I say gas. that condensate coupled with the option of open flame broil? moist AND crusty once you get the hang of it.

                  1. re: amoule
                    wekick RE: amoule Feb 2, 2014 09:44 AM

                    It depends.
                    A gas oven being a dryer cooking environment will produce a crispness and promote browning. An electric oven if it has convection can do the same thing. Some electric ovens have a roasting mode that turns the upper element on occasionally for browning. If what you are baking or roasting in an electric oven you can do this yourself at the end of the cooking time.
                    As far as moistness, either oven will produce a moist roast, because the key is the internal temperature at the end. External moisture will not change this. Use an accurate thermometer that reads continuously. Once meat reaches 140F water is being released from the protein. This is an excellent site for all kinds of info about meat. It is geared towards BBQ but the meat science applies to the kitchen too.

                    http://www.amazingribs.com/tips_and_t...

                2. Candy RE: amoule Feb 2, 2014 09:48 AM

                  The problem with gas ovens is that if your neighbors also have gas ovens, the gas pressure can drop. That is unlikely to happen normally but on holidays when many people are baking it can throw off some of the timing.

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