Gone are the days when we had to wait hours long for our meals to get prepared, or to reheat leftovers. Thanks to the advancing technology, there are now a plethora of ovens available out there for you to explore. Ovens are the type of appliance that can do almost everything for you – from roasting, reheating, to baking and a lot more.
Contrary to the regular ovens which perform the ordinary functions, the modern era has paved way for better use of technology which has resulted in better versions of ovens. In this article, we will be discussing the various types of ovens available in the market which you can buy for your convenience. But before that, let’s discuss what ovens are by definition.
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What is an Oven?
Ovens are the type of kitchen appliance which are used to expose the ingredients to hot environment, in order to make them cook faster and in an efficient way. Ovens comprise of a hollow chamber and it offers a means of heating the chamber in a controlled way.
Since cooking is a basic need if human beings, it is important to note that heating the food is the key aspect about having food. Heat is produced by the oven which facilitate for a cooking environment. The heat is generated from open fire cooking, heating elements, as well as the gas stove in the oven.
What Are Ovens Used For?
You might be wondering what these powerful appliances are used for. Here’s a list of the reasons why people love having an oven in their kitchen:
- Baking and defrosting
- Roasting and boiling
- Grilling and steaming
- Frying and broiling
- Even distribution of heat in the oven allows evenly cooked meals
- Faster meal preparation
The reasons can go on. Ovens can come in the form of ranges as well. In such types, you can experience the best of both worlds – the stove part, as well as the oven. Hence you can use them alternatively, whenever necessary.
Brief Timeline of Ovens
During the early 19th century, coal ovens were widely used. They were cylindrical in shape and were made up of heavy duty cast iron material. Hence, gas ovens were widely used in the early 19th century. They soon gained lots of popularity and became a very common household cooking method. At that time, gas lines were easily available too.
In the late 19th century, electric ovens came into being because of the Canadian inventor, Thomas Ahearn. Because of high prices of electricity, the popularity was quite low amongst the customers. Mostly people opted for gas ovens as they were cost effective. However, in 1930s, when electricity became cheaper, electric ovens started gaining popularity.
In the 21st century, ovens have become more high tech and robust in terms of cooking strategy, utilizing a plethora of energies and techniques like Electrical coils and radiation energy. Not just that, but ovens these days, come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, along with smartphone integration as well.
Types of Ovens
It would be unfair for this powerful appliance to be reduced to a few types only. It’s important to recognize a few elements like process, operation, mounting type, heat transfer methods, etc., to establish a distinction between various types of ovens.
1. Ovens Based On Process
Some of the ovens based on their process are as follows:
- Earth Oven
This type of an oven is like a pit that is dug into the ground and then heated up by rocks. Many cultures around the globe have used this for cooking for centuries until new inventions came up.
- Ceramic Oven
Ceramic ovens are the ones that are made up of clay and other ceramic material which can take different forms, depending upon the culture and the requirements of cooking. These ovens are synonymous to brick ovens which were popularly used in Italy.
- Gas Oven
A gas oven is used for cooking widely across the globe. It is one of the popular picks as gas tends to be much cheaper than electric oven. They are used as the standard and basic ovens for the modern day use.
- Toaster Oven
These are a form of electric ovens which consist of a front door, a wire rack, as well as a removable baking pan in which bread can be toasted and slices can be placed horizontally on the rack for an incredible toast.
- Electric Oven
An electric oven is the one that produces heat electrically and through resistive heating. Electric ovens consist of cabinet where the food is cooked with ease. They are cooked evenly as well.
- Microwave Oven
This type of an oven heats food using electromagnetic radiation which are similar to radio waves. They have three characteristics that facilitate cooking – they’re reflected by metal pass through glass, paper and plastic, and they are absorbed by the food.
- Wall Ovens and Steam Ovens
Wall ovens make it easy to work with roasting pans and Dutch ovens in which you can make amazing stews. They are mounted at the waist which makes it easy to use them without bending. Steam Ovens cook food using steam to create heat on the inside. The heat inside the oven turns the water into steam which ensures that food is cooked to perfection.
- Masonry Ovens and Double Ovens
Masonry Ovens comprise of a baking chamber that’s made up of fireproof concrete, stone, clay or brick. They are fired up with natural gas and sometimes, even electricity. On the other hand, double oven consist of a built-in oven fixture with either two ovens or a dual one. This means that it may have one electric oven and one microwave oven.
2. Ovens Based on Their Target Audience
Some of the ovens based on their target audience are:
Residential ovens produce lower cooking temperature which means that they do not typically require a high end exhaust hood which can save you from additional expenses. They’re used in homes and are appropriate for everyday use as well.
Commercial ovens and ranges generally need a range hood that matches the capacity of the stove. This is because they produce higher cooking temperatures. Commercial vent hoods are important to keep the kitchen safe. They are built for restaurants and hotels.
Industrial ovens are like a heated chamber that’s used for a variety of different heat treatment processes. They function at an extremely high temperature and can be used for both, large and small applications. They’re used in the pharmaceutical industries, food production and even in oil and gas industries.
Kiln ovens operate at high temperatures. They are a thermal processing unit which are used for burning and hardening samples. It turns objects made from clay into pottery, bricks and a lot more.
3. Ovens Based on Their Operation
Some of the ovens based on their operation are as follows:
Gas ovens are used to cook food through a gas fuelled burner. They’re the type of appliances that need a steady supply of natural gas to perform its functions optimally. The gas is ignited either by a spark generator or a small pilot flame, depending on which gas oven model you plan to get.
Electric ovens use electrical energy to heat up the food and it converts the electricity into heat using the heating elements present within the oven. These types of ovens have multiple cooking methods as per the heating method used in it, hence they are versatile and will let you cook the meals of your dreams.
- Conventional Heating
Conventional oven use two heating elements to create heat inside the oven. The bottom heating element is the primary source of heat and is the best for roasting large cuts of meat like chicken, turkey, etc. The upper heating element, on the other hand, delivers intense top down heat which works best for browning and broiling ingredients.
- Convectional Oven
A convectional oven comes with an additional fan, along with exhaust system, unlike a conventional oven. It circulates the heated air throughout the oven while the food is cooking and offers consistent heat distribution all over the food.
- Radiation Energy
Radiation energy is used by microwave ovens. It uses the heat and cooks food by exposing it to electromagnetic radiation within the microwave frequency range. This also facilitates even distribution of heat and cooks your food well.
4. Ovens Based on Mountings
The design, style or in other words, mounting of an oven can be based upon the following:
- Slide In
These type of ovens are designed to slide between the cabinets to offer effortless and cohesive integration with custom cabinetry. They also make your kitchen interior look good.
As the name suggests, a countertop oven can be placed on the counter of your kitchen or on a side table. You don’t have to bend to take the meals out or put them in and they’re the most commonly bought ovens.
This type of an oven is easiest to install and can be placed around eye level which means you don’t have to kneel, bend or crouch before it to place the food into it. It can complement the look of your kitchen too.
A freestanding oven can fit anywhere into your kitchen and will not require any cabinetry work either. It is cost effective and the sides are finished too, hence can stand on its own. It may have burners, along with an oven too.
Though there is a plethora of options available in terms of ovens, you can pick one that best suits your cooking needs, your kitchen interior needs, as well as your budget. You should be picking a gas oven if gas is cheaper in your region and a countertop oven can be great if you’re cooking for a few people only. Hence, do look out for those factors.