The oven is one of the mainstays of today’s modern kitchen. Merriam-Webster defines an oven as “a chamber used for heating, baking, or drying”. We often use the terms “stove” and “range” when referring to an oven, but they actually refer to two different things. A “stove” (also called “cooktop”) is a separate appliance with four to six elements or burners, usually built into a counter, and powered by electricity, gas, or induction for heating food.
A “range” is a one-piece unit that includes a stove (cooktop) area with elements or burners that use gas, electricity, or induction for cooking. Below this cooking area is the oven, which can be powered by a different method than the cooktop (e.g. dual fuel range).
Conventional Electric Ovens
Electric ovens have been part of our lives since they were first marketed on a mass scale in the first half of the 20th century. They operate by using a heating element on the oven floor that radiates heat that bounces off the oven walls. As the hot air rises, it cooks the food. However, the heat being radiated isn’t even, and hot spots can be found in the cooked food if it isn’t rotated from front to back at regular intervals. Food on the highest rack will also cook faster than food on the lowest rack, so it should be moved from top to bottom, in addition to being rotated.
There’s a broiler/heating element as well at the top of the oven. To use it, the oven rack is moved to the highest position possible, which is usually three or four inches from the broiler. Most broilers only have the “on” and “off” settings. Some ovens give you more options for your broiler settings. Many modern conventional electric ovens allow you to use both the oven and the broiler at the same time.
Conventional Gas Ovens
Gas ovens have also been popular in the United States since the early 20th century. Most conventional gas ovens are heated from the bottom, with the broiler in a separate compartment underneath the oven. You don’t have the same cooking distance flexibility with this type of broiler, but you can usually get four or five inches from the heat. There are some gas ovens where there are burners on the top as well as the bottom, which allows broiling within the main oven compartment.
Gas ovens heat very quickly, but there is a wider temperature fluctuation and less even heating overall compared to electric ovens. Many gas ovens will also have “hot spots”. Because the gas combustion releases some moisture into the air, gas ovens can be more humid, which adds time when you want to brown or crisp food.
A convection oven still uses traditional heating methods, such as gas or electricity, but it has a fan and an extra heating element at the back. The fan pushes air over this heating element, which is recirculated into the oven, maintaining a constant, even temperature. A convection oven with the extra heating element and fan is known as a “true” or “European” convection oven. Regular convection ovens only have the fan, and may not cook food as evenly, since the fan blows around both hot and cold air.
Most manufacturers today give consumers the option of being able to switch the convection function on or off in their conventional oven, depending on what they’re cooking. There are also microwave and toaster oven combinations with settings to turn on the convection mode.
Food cooks about 25 per cent faster in a convection oven. Since most recipes are designed for conventional ovens, it’s recommended to set the temperature 25°F lower than the recipe suggests, or reduce the cooking time by one-quarter. However, most convection ovens today have an automatic convection conversion feature that will automatically convert your temperature or cooking time for you from your conventional recipe.
Wolf Convection Range Ovens
The Wolf brand offers convection ovens in a number of different models and styles. Its dual fuel range features gas-fueled burners or induction elements up top, and a convection electric oven below. The 30- and 36-inch models have two fans and four heating elements to control the heat and air flow, and reduce any cold spots — even when using multiple racks. There are 10 cooking modes to choose from: bake, roast, broil, convection, convection bake, convection roast, convection broil, bake stone, proof, and dehydrate. The convection ovens also include the settings of self-clean, timed cook, delayed start, and Sabbath mode.
The 48-inch range models have a second 18-inch single convection oven for quick preheats of smaller meals, or extra capacity for large family meals. With the 60-inch model there are two convection ovens, each with two fans and four heating elements, providing 9 cubic feet of dual convection oven capacity.
With all these models you have the choice of Wolf’s signature red, black, or stainless-steel knobs.
Wolf also provides gas ranges with gas convection ovens that come in 30, 36, 48 and 60 inch models. These heat quickly, cook evenly without the hot and cold spots, and have an 18,000 Btu infrared broiler for ultra-fast sears. The 48-inch model has a second 18-inch non-convection oven, while the 60-inch model has two 30 inch gas convection ovens. All gas ovens have a Sabbath mode, and bake stone kits are available as an accessory.
Wolf Built-In Convection Ovens
The M series is Wolf’s newest line of built-in electric convection ovens. They’re available in 30 inch single and double ovens, with professional, transitional, and two different contemporary styles.
In the M series, Wolf has introduced the new Dual VertiCross convection system that uses two corner column fans with parallel vertical heating elements for faster heating and improved heat saturation and distribution. Both single and double ovens have ten cooking modes: convection, bake, roast, broil, convection roast, gourmet, proof, warm, dehydrate, and stone. As well, there’s a self-cleaning feature, and Sabbath mode.
There’s also a gourmet feature that has a menu of almost fifty presets that automatically controls the cooking. It tells you the proper rack position, sets the right cooking mode, and even adjusts the temperature on its own. No more trying to calculate and adjust temperature or cooking times from conventional recipes.
The M series is also remote ready (only for one oven at a time in double ovens), allowing for remote control of your oven. Some modes can’t be enabled remotely, but if started manually they become accessible from the mobile app.
Microwave ovens have been in homes since the 1970’s and are now found in most kitchens. Microwaves not only reheat and thaw foods faster than other methods, but snacks and complete meals can be prepared in a fraction of the time it would take with a cooktop and oven. Microwaves have warm and cold spots, which is why most newer models have a turntable.
Convection Microwave Ovens
Convection microwave ovens offer the benefits of quick cooking in a regular microwave with the baking and roasting functions of a convection oven. Most of these ovens offer the combination feature of “fast bake/cooking”, which uses microwave energy at the same time as convection cooking. The microwave energy cooks foods faster than convection alone, and the convection cooking provides browning and crisping of foods in a way that microwave cooking alone cannot.
Wolf Convection Microwave Ovens
Wolf convection microwave ovens are available in 24- and 30-inch side-swing, drawer, and drop-down drawer designs. The 24-inch models come in the transitional style, while the 30-inch ones are available in transitional, professional, and contemporary styles. Microwave 24-inch convection ovens have 900 watts of power, and the drawer models come with 950 watts.
The convection system provides even heating, with no hot or cold spots. There’s a gourmet mode that detects moisture and humidity levels, and automatically adjusts the cooking time and power level for several preset recipes. The “keep warm” mode turns your Wolf microwave into a warming drawer that keeps food warm for up to 90 minutes.
There are two pre-programmed settings that make it easy to cook with both convection heat and microwave automatically. Except for those foods that cook best by convection cooking alone, most foods are well suited to combination cooking, using either “micro bake” or “micro roast”. The combination of these two methods produces juicy meats, moist and tender cakes, and fine textured breads, with the right amount of browning and crispness.
As well, Wolf has a 24-inch standard microwave oven with 1200 watts of power. It also has the gourmet and “keep warm” mode.
Regardless of which type of oven you have, you can count on C&W Appliance Service to keep it in top condition. Call us today at (855) 358-1496 or (214) 358-1496 or complete our online service request form.