The built-in oven is undoubtedly one of the essential household appliances in the kitchen and for domestic use: the multiple programmes available as well as increasingly innovative technologies allow you to choose for your home, an object perfectly capable of combining design and performance, precisely because it allows you to prepare an infinite number of dishes in a short time and without any effort.
Available in a wide range of different models, it represents a household appliance that normally falls into the high-end range: the relatively high price requires one to focus on the technical specifications and features in view of a purchase choice, so as to easily orient oneself towards the most suitable model to meet personal and individual needs.
There are, however, professional ovens of a very high standard, even though built-in ovens for domestic use usually have nothing to envy: they have different functions and always guarantee impeccable cooking, while maintaining a precise orientation towards energy saving, a factor that should not be underestimated. The built-in oven is the first choice when it comes to large appliances: this is because it can be easily installed under the kitchen worktop, usually at the hob, or on a column, to facilitate its use given the height of the hand. It comes in standard compartment widths of 60 and 90 cm and requires only a small space on the side, provided in the dedicated wall unit, to serve as a cavity to allow proper ventilation. However, when it comes to choosing the right appliance for every need, doubts can be frequent: is it better to have a built-in gas or electric oven? Should one prefer self-cleaning built-in ovens or ones that require manual cleaning? What features are really relevant?
Built-in ovens: which to choose?
There are many different types of built-in ovens on the market: gas, electric, ventilated, combi, self-cleaning, all with different features and programmes, as well as advantages and disadvantages related to their use. Choosing is often not easy, but one must first evaluate what one wants to get out of the appliance so as to understand which one can be most useful and efficient. Particular attention must also always be paid to the energy class: A++ and A+ are the most popular as they are highly efficient and can minimise consumption, significantly lowering the costs of such an investment, especially in the long term.
Electric built-in oven
The electric built-in oven is undoubtedly one of the most widespread and used in kitchens: it is less expensive, quick and relatively simple to install, and enjoys the same simplicity in terms of ignition, operation and management of the cooking programmes, which are increasingly advanced, equipped with cutting-edge technology and able to guarantee that food is always cooked impeccably and evenly. On the other hand, it requires a higher consumption of electricity and often proposes functions that are not really necessary and destined not to be fully exploited.
Built-in gas oven
The main advantage of the built-in gas oven is the considerable saving in terms of consumption, because methane is less expensive than electricity. On the other hand, however, the costs of the device are higher, as is the more complex installation, which requires specific supply systems as well as special grilles for the evacuation of combustion gases prepared in advance.
And if the advantage lies in the gas oven's ability to reach the desired temperature much more quickly, on the other hand, cooking is less homogeneous because the device cannot guarantee the thermal uniformity necessary to avoid food rotation. It is also potentially more dangerous due to the possibility of gas leaks: by law and for this reason, the latest generation ovens must be equipped with a safety system to prevent such accidents.
In fact, from an economic point of view, gas ovens would be cheaper than electric ovens, but it must be borne in mind that it is precisely gas built-in ovens that are considerably more expensive than electric ones, due to the industrial cost of making them efficient and safe.
And although the economic advantages are obvious, buying an electric built-in oven is recommended precisely because it is easy to install and certainly easier and less 'cumbersome' to use due to the advanced and increasingly modern cooking programmes. However, should it be necessary to opt for the purchase of a gas oven, it is always better to be cautious, installing a device capable of measuring the possible presence of carbon monoxide in the air.
Thermo-ventilated and multifunction built-in ovens
Equally recommended are the multifunctional built-in electric ovens, household appliances that perfectly combine two different cooking modes: static, i.e., carried out with the help of heating elements placed in both the lower and upper parts of the oven cavity, and ventilated, thanks to which the heat is evenly distributed inside the oven thanks to the presence of a fan that guarantees uniformity along with faster and more even cooking of food.
In the thermo-ventilated ovens there is also a circular heating element inserted in the rear part of the oven that works in synergy with the fan, concentric to it, allowing several dishes to be cooked at the same time, arranged on different levels, without flavours and smells mixing and compromising their integrity in any way.
Combi built-in ovens
Combined built-in ovens are increasingly chosen because they have advantages and a special feature: they combine the practicality of a conventional electric oven, equipped with the most advanced programmes, with the functionality of a microwave oven. Often in energy class A+ and A++, they allow several foods to be cooked at the same time, guaranteeing in both cases, rapid, uniform and always perfect cooking regardless of the time schedule, maintaining the desired heat constant and guaranteeing the best performance in relation to consumption.
The temperature, depending on use, is in any case adjustable by means of a thermostat, whose external knob indicates the temperature in degrees, usually between 50 and 250 C°, 700 - 800W if we are talking about microwaves. The maximum temperature in the static/ventilated function can usually be reached by means of the grill function, which allows for a crispy and quick browning of the food being cooked or for roasting meat, with the possibility of combining this choice with the static or ventilated cooking mode, useful for example when cooking roasts. These are technologically advanced built-in ovens capable of responding to the most common needs, while still guaranteeing an excellent quality/price ratio.
Ventilated built-in oven
Functionality of built-in ovens
Built-in ovens have a wide range of state-of-the-art functions, but these may vary depending on the appliance model under consideration: in view of a choice it is advisable to evaluate each one to understand what really meets personal needs.
Cooking System and Functions
A good built-in oven must have a forced ventilation system and a grill function, in addition to the common functions and programmes most frequently used: the standard functions that all ovens are usually equipped with are the grill and the adjustable thermostat, as well as the timer that can scan the cooking time by emitting a sound signal when finished and the function for defrosting food.
The most sophisticated and professional ovens have special functions dictated by recent technologies, capable of satisfying even the most demanding consumers: these functions can be pre-set programmes for specific cooking of meat, desserts, fish and leavened products. Some models are capable of steam or microwave cooking, but of course in this case the prices also tend to inevitably 'rise'. And while many functions may be superfluous, just as many are absolutely indispensable.
Thanks to the programmed cooking function, which is present in many built-in oven models, it is possible to program the start and end times of cooking, as well as to switch the oven on in advance and switch it off automatically when cooking is finished: a particularly useful feature for those who are often away from home, but still want to cook delicious and always perfect dishes.
Remote control represents an advanced function thanks to which it is possible to operate and regulate the oven, even outside the home and remotely via smartphone or tablet on which to install a specific application designed ad hoc. This function is usually available in the top models of the manufacturers, who provide consumers with household appliances for the kitchen that are increasingly high-end and have nothing to envy to purely professional products. Automatic cooking allows, by means of certain sensors, to automatically select the ideal cooking settings according to the dish to be prepared and its weight. In some models, the most common recipes can even be pre-set, and there are also programmes that allow you to quickly defrost food as well as reheat previously cooked food without altering its taste and consistency.Built-in oven use
Thanks to the rapid pre-heating function, it is possible to reach the programmed and desired temperature very quickly and within a few seconds. This function is a valuable aid in preparations for which an oven that is already hot before the food to be cooked is placed in it. An example is pastries, cakes, tarts and leavened products in general.
Self-cleaning.Interesting and incisive is the self-cleaning function, designed for those who have little time or do not particularly want to dedicate themselves to cleaning the oven. There are normally two automatic cleaning systems in built-in ovens: catalytic and pyrolytic. Catalytic ovens have side walls, together with the back wall, covered with special enamelled panels and treated with a special material that is able to decompose the fats accumulated during cooking thanks to a catalytic oxidation process, transforming food residues or charred food into gas without leaving any trace inside the device.
This is not the case with pyrolytic ovens, where the device reaches a temperature of 500°C to reduce food residues, forming ash and charred traces that must subsequently be removed manually by ordinary cleaning.
Automatic safety shutdown
The automatic safety shutdown allows the oven to automatically stop working after 12 hours of inactivity even if it is accidentally switched on. A nice advantage that reduces the risk of fire or even worse, unpleasant household accidents.Safety lock
The safety lock automatically locks the control panel and door so that the oven will not be accidentally operated if it is switched off, or opened if it is in operation. This is an advantage, especially in the presence of children and so that there is no risk of inadvertently changing the cooking programmes, irreparably damaging the food being prepared.Cleaning the built-in oven
How to clean the built-in oven
The oven should normally be cleaned thoroughly after each use so that any food residues accumulated during cooking are removed beforehand. Specific products for cleaning the oven are readily available on the market, with perfectly effective formulas that facilitate this operation. However, they often contain caustic soda, making them aggressive and potentially irritating for people as well as harmful to the environment. If you really don't want to resort to natural methods such as vinegar, bicarbonate or lemon combined with a soft microfibre cloth, the use of such products involves disconnecting the device from the power supply and ventilating the room after use, as well as obviously using gloves, not breathing the vapours produced and rinsing everything thoroughly, leaving the door open at least 8 hours before using the appliance again.
built-in oven tips
Built-in oven and safety
The supplied user manual is an indispensable element that the manufacturer is obliged to provide. It contains all the technical specifications as well as instructions on how to use the appliance in the best possible way without risking compromising its efficiency.
The built-in oven must also always display the IMQ or CE marks in a clearly visible manner. For the safety of the whole family, it is always important to choose built-in ovens that have a door fitted with triple glass, capable of keeping cool even while cooking, avoiding the risk of household accidents. They should also preferably be equipped with a tangential fan so as to protect the surrounding furniture from overheating: this device allows hot air to escape from the oven, as well as cold air to flow inwards so that the handle is always kept at a temperature below 40°C.
Always follow the instructions in the user manual and it is important to keep the device in the best condition for a long time.