Choosing an oven for baking in India.What kind of an oven is best for baking in India, types of ovens and choosing the right oven. Should I buy a convection microwave, an OTG or go in for a built-in oven? Which is the best oven for a beginner? So here are a few things you would need to know and a few things to consider before you start your affair with your oven for a lifetime!Watch the video on this on my YouTube Channel, Baking For Beginners! Do follow my page on Facebook for regular updates on videos every Monday!
Broadly speaking, you could go in for the counter-top ovens, the kind which sit on the counter of your kitchen, or you could also go in for the built-in ovens, the kind which are built into the wall of your kitchen. Again in the counter top ovens, you could go in for a convection microwave or an Oven Toaster Griller(OTG). Built in ovens again could be either convection microwaves or gas operated ovens or electric ovens.
So when you plan to buy an oven here are a few things to know and consider.
- The capacity of the oven, which decides and determines how much by way of quantity, you could bake at a time, the size of trays and tins you could use.
- Your level of interest in baking.
- The space you have to accommodate your oven.
- Your budget and
- The after-sale services available in your city for the brand. Sometimes, the brand is fantastic, but not services in some cities!
Convection microwave :
Functionality : This can can cook, re-heat, grill food and bake your food as well. A compact gadget which does it all.
Ease of Use : Really simple to use, bakes your food evenly all the time!
Display, Controls : Microwaves normally come with digital controls and display, a feature I love and appreciate.
Weight, Counter space : But then microwaves can be quite heavy, so you can’t really shift or move them around, so you need to have enough space on your kitchen counter reserved for this oven.
Capacity :The maximum capacity of a microwave could be around 32 liters (I saw a 38 liter one in IFB) , and if you go in for a microwave of this capacity, you could easily bake for a family of 4. So do not buy a microwave which is less than 32 liters in capacity. Go one step ahead, carry your 9'' round and square tins to the showroom, check if the turntable rotates freely after you place the tin on it.
Cost : A convection microwave can cost upwards of Rs.15, 000 depending on the brand, capacity and the model you are buying and of course whether you are buying it online or offline.
Limitation : One major drawback about the convection microwave is that it is limited by capacity. You can bake on only one rack and one level at a time. Meaning you can bake one cake or one sheet of cookies at a time. You can’t use some standard size large baking tins in a convection microwave, especially the rectangular ones, because the tin will keep hitting the walls of the microwave as the turntable rotates.
So if you entertain very often or if you aspire to bake commercially, the limited capacity of a microwave may prove to be a serious drawback. So be sure to go to the store, and take a look at the various models available, and also read reviews about the model you plan to purchase.
Do check the after sale services available in your city for the brand.
Oven –Toaster Griller
Functionality : Commonly called as an OTG here in India, you can grill toast and bake your food and even keep it warm. But you can’t really use it for cooking or re-heating your food. Which means that if you have an OTG, you would still need to have a microwave to cook and re-heat your food. Which means additional counter space in your kitchen to house both the gadgets.I started baking with my tiny Morphy Richards 14 liter OTG, and it still works well for me!
Weight : OTGs are quite lighter in weight, which means that you can move it around, and you could also shift it as and when you need it. If you are really constrained for counter-space in your kitchen, you could keep it under your dining table or may be even in your garage, and then use it when you need it.
Controls : OTGs normally come with manual controls.
Cost : This will cost you anywhere Rs.9,000 upwards( for 40 liters) depending on the brand, capacity and the model you would be buying. And again, as usual, online and offline prices may vary...quite a bit! And they do keep changing every other day, so please don't hold me on this!
Capacity of OTGs normally goes up to 60 liters, which means that you could bake more at a time, you could bake 2 cakes or you know 2 sheets of cookies and even bake on 2 levels at a time. So, do not buy an oven too small as then you would not be able to fit in most standard sized trays and tins, even the 8’’ or 9 ‘’ round or square tins, will not fit in a very small oven. So the minimum size I would suggest if you are going to buy an OTG would be about 40 liters. And go in for even bigger ones if you aspire to bake commercially.
Ease of use : Bigger OTGs come with different modes for baking as well, so be prepared to spend some time in figuring out what works best for you and how your oven works! (Can be exasperating I warn you!) Again, do visit the store and read reviews for various models before you decide to buy. And definitely do check the after-sale services available for the brand in you city.
Built-in ovens : These again can be microwaves, electric ovens and then gas ovens which come as part of the cooking range. These are a different deal altogether as they are built into the wall of your kitchen as the name suggests. And these are really elegant, and stylish, and also come with a bigger price-tag! Sigh!! Not to mention the fact that you can't afford these in rented properties.
Gas ovens especially can be a blessing with all the power-cuts we have here! Hope to have one some day!
Cost : This could cost you anywhere between Rs.25,000 (gas ovens) – Rs.40,000 (built in microwaves and electric ovens) – Rs.1,00,000 upward for premium brands (I was stunned when I visited a Siemens showroom!). And these built in ovens I think you could consider at a later point of time, the point of no-return to be precise! But if you happen to live in smaller towns, I would suggest you be especially careful with the after-sale services if you are going to be going in for built in ovens. Now, we can't carry these to the service center, can we?!
So there isn’t one perfect choice of an oven, as it would vary according to different parameters and your individual requirement.
Coming up next is my post & video, comparing a convection microwave and an OTG side by side, do watch out. Please do come back!