Wall oven without a million cooking modes?

mweyandtMay 4, 2014

I'm looking to purchase a new 30" wall oven, and am having a very difficult time making headway on a choice.

So many models now have dozens of cooking modes (pie! pizza! chicken! deeper pizza!) which I have no interest in. I love the look of Miele and the new Bosch knob-less machines, but I do dislike using appliances with electronic controls when there are this many "modes" to avoid (e.g. microwaves).

On an unrelated note, I dislike strongly curved handles, which nixes 80% of all wall ovens, it seems.


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You would love my oven, unfortunately, the company went into bankruptcy right after I bought it. It's a Fagor (company out of Spain)... Cooking modes are bake, roast, broil, convection bake and convection roast. Period.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 12:14AM
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Um... if you want simple, you're probably going to have to go for knobs. The whole thought behind the touch screens is that people want to feel like they're piloting the starship Enterprise while they're making dinner and that they love seeing all those options even though they only use bake and broil.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 1:00AM
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I am not a fan of the food-oriented cooking menus either (e.g. Masterchef in Miele I believe). It feels like I'm being micromanaged when I cook. To others who don't cook much perhaps it's a godsend.

I haven't looked at the Bosch, but fortunately, the Miele does have method of cooking options (convection, broil, etc) although I think they have too many of these as well (bake, roast). I also think this is the way things are going for most high end ovens. I just hope they get better at making the annoying features less dominant on the interactive menu. I'm hoping the new Miele 6000 series has a better interface - we'll see. I think the ovens are supposed to come out in July.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 1:27PM
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If wolf ever solves the blue porcelain issues- only a few choices for standard and convection.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:53PM
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I don't see what difference it makes. You test out what you like and use those settings. I have a Miele oven. I don't need Masterchef & it doesn't intrude in any way.

Having had bake-broil only ovens most of my life, I really like the option of starting something in a cold oven or being able to brown the top of a dish without cooking it to death. That's the benefit of European convection. But I still have plain old Bake and use it quite a lot.

As for handles, you would need to look at manufacturer's websites to see if there are options. I'm not sure which brands do but someone here might know. Doubtless, only high end.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Wed, May 7, 14 at 9:22

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 8:08AM
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Different cooks find utility in all kinds of different things.
I baked with convectional electric and gas ovens for 40+ years and then got ovens with various cooking modes. I find them to be very useful. I don't think they relate to the way MW ovens operate, with recipes. They are really tools to use if you want them. Rather than call the modes by a food name like pizza which is kind of limiting, most have terms that are indicative of their use. like roasting(more heat from the top), convection roast(high speed fan to promote browning), baking(heat from the bottom, convection baking, (slower fan) dehydrate etc and indicate a specific effect of the heat/air movement. Miele does have a large number of functions but there are those who find them useful. I would not necessarily use the recipe modes but I do like that I can manipulate the amount of air movement and the direction in which the heat moves. It does take understanding how individual modes work and you have to see how it will benefit what you are cooking.

" Posted by ChristyMcK
I haven't looked at the Bosch, but fortunately, the Miele does have method of cooking options (convection, broil, etc) although I think they have too many of these as well (bake, roast). I also think this is the way things are going for most high end ovens. I just hope they get better at making the annoying features less dominant on the interactive menu. "

I would wonder why you would buy this type of oven if you don't want all these "annoying" features. There are ovens all across the continuum and rather than be annoyed, get an oven with just what you want.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 9:44AM
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you should then inquire about the mieel chef series which is manually operated with knobs or the thermador pro series wall ovens

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 11:16AM
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I talked my girlfriend into a Kitchen Aid, and down from a Thermador, in part because the interface was simple and easy.

That's totally a personal thing, but I think that's what the original poster was asking.

And truth be told, we still use the beat up Oster countertop convection oven way more ... daily as opposed to less than once a month.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 11:38AM
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Re: the 'annoying features' comment. It's all about tradeoffs, right? I do want a steam oven and most of these come with lots of options that are not important to me. I'm willing to make the tradeoff.

As an aside, I have never cooked with roast, bake, etc. and I may very well find them useful once I have them and see their utility first hand. Those that own these type of ranges definitely have a lot more to offer in terms of experience. My opinion is based on shopping for my appliances. It's also the food specific cooking that I personally put the 'annoying' category, but I also realize that's just my own opinion.

There is something really appealing to me (and I suspect the original poster) about simply turning on the oven without having to decide what method of cooking I'd like. We will have that simplicity in our Lacanche range, which we plan to pair with a Miele combi steam oven. It'll be interesting to see whether in fact I embrace some of the features only in the Miele. Time will tell!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 12:55PM
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I have never cooked with roast, bake, etc.

What HAVE you cooked with? I thought "bake" and "broil" were the simplest of possible oven functions.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 1:43PM
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1. turn oven on to heat desired.
2. broil is an option.

If you consider turning on the oven 'bake', then sure, I bake all the time. I guess I've never considered it a 'bake' or a 'roast' function.... just an oven that I do both in.

On the Miele there are separate functions for 'bake' and a static oven which they call 'surround', so I guess I was considering them different for the purposes of this discussion.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 1:59PM
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The bake and roast features on most ovens turn on different elements to heat the space differently. They can have top elements, bottom elements, rear, convection fans and convection heat elements and they can all produce different results.

Can you do the same with just heat, yes, and that is fine. As was stated earlier by someone if you like an oven get it and just use the features you want and ignore the others, really doesn't have to be all the complicated, people tend to make things way to difficult and end up making a mountain out of a mole hill in most cases. I know I am just as guilty of that as the next person.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Christy, You really should check out the ovens with knobs. You can leave the setting knob on bake or convection bake, and that will be just "on" when you turn on the temperature. My mother does that.

Bake and roast are the same thing. Bottom heat. We use "bake' for doughs and "roast" for meat and vegetables, but it's the same cooking setting.

Convection (fan, ventilation, whatever they call it) generally evens out the heat distribution in an oven, so is a good feature you might like to have on all the time. It's not so great for very delicate things like egg rising dishes (souffle without baking powder cheat, angel cake, etc.) . In some ovens it's fine, but others get too windy and limit the rise, so it's best to turn it off for those things.

Knowing that, and where your broil setting is, is all you need to do to use a modern oven like an old fashioned one. It's harder when you have to scroll through menus to get the oven to start, and can't keep it in your preferred mode, but have to chose it every time. You get used to anything, but knobs are easier.

What I love about the Gaggenau is that I have a display that uses meaningful graphics to display the mode, and a knob to choose it. The modes are oven based rather than food based (it assumes, rightly, that I know how to cook). I get to choose between convection, convection without oven light (economy), convection with full bottom heat or just the middle third, no convection with full bottom heat, full bottom and center third top heat, full bottom and top heat, full top heat and center third bottom heat, or full top heat only. Then there's broil with or without convection, or just middle third broil. Special settings for the pizza stone which has its own heating element (which I have and adore), and a roaster (which I don't have or need--I assume it works like a Nesco roaster, but fills up your oven.). Finally, it does low temperature settings for dough rising, defrosting and plate warming, and ultra high for self cleaning.

So that's a lot of settings, but they make sense, and the graphics on the display are on the top and bottom of the screen, showing you what's going on in the oven. And you get total control.

My Advantium has the menus, which I find useful for the speed cook functions, about which I have no instincts (you have to choose how much of each of infrared, convection heat and microwaves if you do it yourself), but for just turning on the oven (i.e., convection only), it's needlessly complicated and I've messed up that last "yes" response it needs to turn on and come back to cold food. Luckily, the MW function has an instant on button. :)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 3:15PM
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Christy, you may not be understanding the Miele modes quite yet. Surround is a non-convection IOW "bake" setting that "bakes" using the broiler element as well as the regular heating element in the bottom of the oven. It can be extremely useful for cooking foods that do not require long cooking times but do require top browning.

Unfortunately, the Miele user's guide has no concept of how to cook and recommends this mode for things like cream puffs, meringue and angel food cake for which is is totally unsuited as none of those require browning.

It's very handy, however, for things like Shepherd's pie, any type of gratin, or a casserole with pastry on top.

That said, it's nice to have it but it's not one of the most useful combi settings. The most useful -- by far -- is autoroast which lets you start anything (including a turkey) in a cold oven.

But I'm not familiar with the combi oven settings though Miele being Miele I'm sure they are somewhat similar.

Sounds like Lacanche is perfect for you. It's a great range that several of my friends have and the one I'd likely go for if gas were possible.

So with the two, best of both 20th and 21st C approaches.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Tue, May 6, 14 at 18:39

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 4:13PM
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Philwojo: I so didn't mean to make "a mountain out of a mole hill"! ;) Yet clearly I don't understand all that modern ovens can do. Thanks for filling in some of the gaps.

Plllog: I love the interface of the Gaggenau combi steam oven - it is very simple and intuitive despite all of the options. I think they did a great job making the interface user friendly. I haven't bought the Miele yet and am keeping my eyes out for a newer floor model/discounted 24" Gaggenau combi steam with a left hinge, which would fit our current space. The current Miele combi steam is $3500 compared to $6800 for the Gaggenau combi steam which tips the balance toward the Miele (tradeoffs!).

Rococogirl: Ah, I see the difference. The showroom person said it was the 'regular oven' mode without convection. I see that is not exactly the case. I do like the blend of classic and modern in my two appliances choices and am super excited about the Lacanche. I got the electric oven with the Lacanche which comes with a convection toggle switch so even the Lacanche will have more features than anything I've used before!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 6:41PM
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I would really take the time to read the threads about the Miele ovens. A number of folks were having problems with low temperatures on them.

Some of our helpful folks here, posted that the Miele oven must be operated in this mode or that, in order to get the "Correct Temperature"~~~~~It seems as thou I made a comment something to the extent of, "One must be a Rocket Scientists" to be able to bake in a Miele oven.

Larsi, who is as "Dye in the Wool" Miele fan, as one will ever see, says He hasta bake cakes and delicate things in his Miele Speed oven, in order to avoid cakes with "soft Centers", (paraphrasing).

So it you want "simple", I do not think Miele is your answer!

You can find those posts by doing a search AT THE BOTTOM, (not the top), of the main appliance page~~~search for Miele Oven.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 7:04PM
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Ooops! Christy, my eyes slid right over "steam", but yes, the idea holds true for the Gaggenau combi-steam as you know.

Rococogurl, when you say that setting lets you start in a cold oven, does that mean that it heats up linearly instead of gonzo preheat mode? That's a very good feature, if so! I do quite a bit of starts cold baking, and love that my Gaggenau allows me to do that, but it has to be done in the settings rather than having a mode. I just leave it on regular, rather than fast, preheat.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 9:33PM
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plllog, not familiar with Gagg. i inquired about it when I was looking at the Miele but no service in my area.

dont exactly understand your question. There is no gonzo preheat. my oven takes 30 minutes to heat. I dont pay attention to the marketing.

there is one mode/setting called autoroast. it starts in a cold oven --no preheat needed. it is excellent for anything that needs to brown but not rise. Uses top element to heat the oven very quickly so there is no extension of cooking time. it makes an amazing roast chicken and is even more convenient for turkey for obvious reasons. Its a setting I use frequently. temperature range is 325-425.

Gary, give it up with the Miele temp problems. There hasnt been a recent report of one. You said yourself they are over.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 12:41AM
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Ah! Thanks for the explanation of "autoroast". That makes sense given the name.

Some ovens have preheat mode where they throw everything at getting the cavity warmed up fast, then switch to the selected cooking mode. That means that if you put something in the cold oven, it'll probably be ruined by all that fast, intensive heat. I'm not sure what the science is, but those are the reports. One of the features I insist on is a gradual preheat so I can do my cold start baking. The Gaggenau lets you choose which you want in the setup.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 4:17AM
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plllog -- Sounds like the gagg has an extra option in there.

With my oven, I select the type of heat what I need, then the temperature. It does only what I set. The settings/modes are quite precise.

F.ex. I was baking a calzone on stone at 500 using intensive, which is a convection setting like a brick oven, and it turned the dough gray -- the hot air created too much heat. I use intensive for pizza.

Switched to Bake, non-convection, at 450 and the next one was perfect. The oven recovered its heat very quickly as well.

In theory, convection should be great for bread baking but I find the hot air can restrict the rise. So I've been switching to conventional heat.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 9:21AM
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This conversation was very helpful to me and made me rethink our options. In fact I have been able to find a nicely discounted brand new 200 series left hinge 24" gaggenau combi steam oven with 5-year warranty which we've purchased. I think for the simplicity of the interface (turn knobs, no food specific choices), the plumbed aspects of it, and because it's side door and aesthetic will work best in our space, this was the ideal solution for us. Thanks for all your input. I am very excited!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 8:22AM
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    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 3:29PM
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I couldn't make space for it, but really loved the look and feel of the Bluestar wall oven with the french doors. As I recall it had one knob, which set the temp, broil, or turned it off and a switch for convection. Perfect simplicity. The oven in our CC range is similar and works like a champ, except you have to bend over and reach over the oven door to manipulate things inside. Give me a simple mechanical thermostat any day over electronic gimmickry.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 5:13PM
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I did not get all wrapped up in cooking modes when choosing the new wall oven for our remodel. I went with ratings, opinions here, reliability and the most important --- gliding racks and how smoothly they roll out. ;-)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:21AM
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