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Ovens, Hobs and Microwaves

Ovens, Hobs and Microwaves – in short, Kitchen Appliances; in other words, a life saver. These appliances come in many shapes and forms, each essential to the creation of a home and crucial in any design. Due to the large range of appliances, nobody really wants to do their research on which style suits them best or which appliance has which feature. All they ever really do is pick the fancy ones and put it in any available space in their kitchen. That is why, here at BBK Direct, we have taken the time and put in the effort so that you do not have to.

Contrary to popular belief, Range cookers and Ovens are not the same. Range cookers include an oven and a hob and are always free standing. However, an oven is always built in and not free standing. There are a lot of pros to having an oven in place of a range cooker, one of them being that ovens are usually built in at eye level. This means that it is easy access and requires no bending, crouching or any form of ‘acrobatics’ on your part. As it is simple to utilise, it will allow cooks and bakers of all ages to use the kitchen appliance.  The great thing about an oven is the amount of space it offers compared to that of a range cooker as only the widest of range cookers can compete with the room an oven provides.

For those that do not live in the kitchen or are limited on space, a single oven is most likely what you are looking for. These ovens are made to fit anywhere in the kitchen, no matter the space availability. Most of the single ovens are made to be 60cm in height leaving plenty of room to fit pans, pots and other cooking utensils inside. 

Double ovens are most suited to larger household or for those who cook in bulk. Ultimately, a double oven are two single ovens stacked one atop the other. The biggest benefit of this oven is the dual usage, one oven can be cooking a tasty meal whilst the other is baking a delicious treat or perhaps grilling up a snack.

Other than size being a dividing block in the Oven industry, types are the main categories

The first are electric ovens, the most common on the market as well as being expensive to use as it takes up quite a bit of electricity. There are two type of electric ovens – Conventional and Convection ovens. Conventional ovens often heat from the bottom up which can create inconsistent cooking and cause pockets of warmer and colder air. Convection ovens on the other hand, heat up from the back which gets circulated via a fan ensuring equal amounts of hot air in every corner. Although, you need to keep in mind what you use to cook your dinner in as pots and pans with high edges could impact the way the food is cooked as the hot air may not heat up certain areas of the meal.

Gas Ovens are next on the list and second in popularity with the public. These Ovens are a lot more expensive to buy upfront but in the long run they are cheaper than Electrical ovens. The gas oven heats quickly and cools just as fast, it is best used for roasts and pots as the air is not as dry like with electric type ovens.

A less well-known type of Oven is the Steam Oven. A steam oven has a tank that needs to be filled before any type of cooking starts. This either needs to be done manually or if the oven has the feature, it can hook up to your house’s plumbing and have water at the ready to steam whenever you need it. They might not be as popular as the electric and gas ovens, but the demand is steadily rising due to the health benefits. As water replaces the need for oils and helps retain a lot more nutrients and minerals, this oven is favoured by those that promote healthy living. The only two cons to this oven are that it is usually more expensive than a gas or electric oven and your food will not turn out as crispy due to the moisture. 

There are five main types of hobs. They are Ceramic, Induction, Solid Plate Electric, Gas and Gas on Glass.

Ceramic hobs are powered by electricity and sometime features digital touch to control the heating pad and other systems such as locks to keep children from injury, timers and pause buttons to help better manage your cooking schedule. Ceramic hobs have a smooth surface, meaning they are quick and easy to clean. This type of hob makes use of electricity to efficiently heat the tempered ceramic glass.  

Induction hobs create a magnetic field between the Induction element and the pan. This magnetic field heats the pan or pot instead of the surface of the hob, therefore is more energy efficient ensuring that only the exact amount of electricity needed is used unlike Ceramic hobs which heats up the entire surface. The Induction hob also heats up a lot quicker than that of the Ceramic hobs and cools down faster too, this creates a safe environment for any little ones involved or clumsy errors. Induction hobs are perfect for those who want a modern feel to their kitchen due to its sleek and easy to clean surface combined with digital touch Induction technology to control the settings. Another benefit of an Induction hob is that it reacts immediately to the changing of heat settings whereas Ceramic hobs tend to do this more slowly.

The next type is Solid Plate Electric. This hob usually has four black seal plates that are heated with electricity and cool much slower than any of the other hobs on the market. For those with a budget, this hob will be most suitable.

Gas type hobs are quick to heat and are a lot more cost effective than electric hobs. These hobs have cast iron grates set atop the surface to keep your pan above the open flame to ensure the top is not smothered or damaged. To keep them in great condition, these grates need to be washed regularly in hot soapy water and then dried before being put back in place. A light coat of cooking oil can be applied to the bottom of it to prevent it from rusting.

Last but not least are Gas on glass hobs. Theses hobs are a sort of mixed breed of Ceramic and gas as the gas burners are placed on top of ceramic glass to ensure an ultra-modern and sleek appearance. This also makes them easier to clean but slower to heat up.

Believe it or not, there are three main types of microwaves.

The one we all know and love, is the Solo Microwave. This is the most cost effective, basic and simplest of the microwave types; using radio waves to heat up your food warming it quickly and evenly, some come with a defrosting option. It does not offer grilling or convection cooking like some other types. 

Next is the Microwaves with a grill, this is essentially the same as Solo Microwave just with the added benefit of a grill. This option usually comes with metal racks on the inside to raise your food closer to the heat elements situated at the top of the microwave. There are two types of grills, Quartz and Radiant. Quartz grills heat instantly and are best used for snacks that require instant heat such as pizza, sausages, etc. Radiant grills are best for proper food as it heats slower and over a wider area, this ensures an evenly cooked meal.

A Combi microwave, also known as a Combination microwave. It offers more cooking flexibility than the basic Solo microwave as it acts as a grill, a microwave and a convection oven. Convection cooking works by using a fan to circulate hot air to ensure quick and even cooking. These microwaves often look like mini ovens with a drop down ‘door,’ adjustable wire racks and are ideal for those with minimal space due to the amount of cooking options available. For some of the high-end combi microwaves, they benefit from a steam function as well. As mentioned before, this is ideal for those who promote healthy living as it helps the food maintain all its nutrients and vitamins. 

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