Shop Like A Chef: 2 Oven Features You Should Look For

If you binge-watch baking contests and pride yourself on your culinary skills, you might be thinking about updating your kitchen with a brand-new stove. But how do you know which state-of-the-art features will really matter in the long run? Here are two oven features you should look for, and how they might improve your cooking experience:

1: Customizable Controls

Gone are the days of simply turning your oven on "bake" or "broil," or hoping that the "low" setting on that stove doesn't burn your sauce. Any home chef knows that making a perfectly roasted chicken or risotto sometimes requires a careful finesse, which is why newer, customizable controls are so vital to your success. Fortunately, these days, you can find modern-day ovens and ranges that are as smart as you are. Here are a few customizable controls that might help:  

  • Oven Humidity: Wouldn't it be nice if you could keep that piecrust from over-browning or make that roasted turkey even more moist? Believe it or not, some ovens offer humidity controls, which allow you to make major adjustments during the cooking process. For example, if you notice that your vegetables aren't caramelizing in the oven, you might be able to turn the humidity down so those veggies roast instead of steam in their own juices.
  • Upper Element Heat: If you adore casseroles with perfectly bubbly, crisp tops, you might love the ability to adjust the temperature of the upper heating element. Unlike other ovens, which usually only allow the user to bake or broil, but not at the same time, some ovens have controls that allow you to turn up the upper element while baking simultaneously. This means that while those potatoes Au Gratin finish baking, you can boost the temperature of the upper element to add a little color to your dish. 
  • Burner BTU Output: When you need to boil water quickly or use a mega-heated flame to sear some stir fry, being able to adjust the BTU output on your range might be incredibly helpful. Fortunately, some stoves allow you to allocate more BTU power to one burner. 

Before you start shopping for your new stove, think carefully about the dishes you prepare most frequently. That way, you can avoid buying an appliance with features that you won't use. After all, that fancy broiler might not help much if you spend most of your time baking cakes.     

2: A Warming Drawer

That warming drawer might seem like a feature you would never use, but most people find them much more useful than they ever suspected. Here are just a few of the reasons you should invest in an oven with a warming drawer:

  • Heat Up Plates: Most people don't realize it, but putting dinner on a cold plate can make it chill faster—which can ruin your meal. To avoid eating lukewarm chicken or chilly pasta, use that warming drawer to heat up your plates before dinner.
  • Keep Prepared Dishes Safe: Bacteria grows best when it is between 40 and 140 degrees, which is why the USDA classifies this temperature range as the "danger zone." Fortunately, warming drawers can be used to keep food within a safe temperature range without burning.  

Before you try to stash your entire holiday dinner in that warming drawer, experiment with the feature long before your dinner party. Doing this will help you to understand how much space you have, how well the drawer responds to temperature changes, and whether or not dish flavors meld in the tight space.

By investing in the right stove, you might be able to create dishes that are safe, delicious, and impressive. Consider looking at companies that offer Thermadore appliances and other brands that offer modern convenience.