use Advantium or regular MW with convection for pizza??

munchladylandSeptember 17, 2012

Hi all,

We are planning a kitchen reno but will only have one oven in it. For several different reasons we are going with an OTR microwave-not my favorite look, but so be it. Until very recently we had a pretty huge convection oven/toaster on the counter that my husband used very often to make pizza, which has become his specialty. He is such an awesome dough and pizza maker that we have a deal: if I agree to keep the stand mixer on the counter, he agrees to make dough as often as I request (which is pretty often). And then he makes a pizza for the kids' dinner, and more for us. And sort of cleans up. =)

My question is this: has anyone used an Advantium or a regular microwave with convection cooking to cook pizza specifically? I've read different things about how well each of these options cook. We're about six months away from the renovating but our fridge just recently died, forcing me to make decisions about all the appliances.

Thank you!!

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I can tell you that a regular microwave is lousy for reheating pizza, and I sure wouldn't try actually cooking in one. Do you have a regular oven you can use for pizza? Mine turns out fine in my very basic Frigidaire, baked on terra cotta tiles.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:19PM
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A regular microwave? no. Don't even try.

A convection microwave? Sure. Works great! Preheat and off you go!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 4:43PM
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In order of best to worst taste:

1. pizza cooked in an Advantium using convection
2. pizza cooked in an Advantium 240 using speed cook
3. pizza cooked in an Advantium 120 using speed oook
4. pizza cooked in an Advantium using microwave only

Option 1 is slow, but yields real-oven results. After all it's oooking like a conventional electric oven does except that a fan is helping to move the heated air around.

Option 2 tastes almost as good. The conventional heating elements combine with heat emitted by halogen bulbs above and below the food, adding some microwaves to speed things further. But with 2900 watts of halogen lamps and ceramic heaters above and below the food, and 1500 watts of convection heat, only a small percentage of the cooking needs to be handled by up to 975 watts of microwaves. The result is foot that is cooked, according to GE, 8 times as fast as with a conventional oven, whilst retaining a crisp real-oven taste and texture. It comes very close for something cooked in just a few minutes, thanks to being able to combine several high-powered cooking methods at the same time.

Option 3 is speedcooking in an Advantium 120. Here things get problematic - GE claims the A120 can cook 8 times faster than a conventional oven, vs. 4 times faster than the A240. What they don't make clear is that the A120 is not only constricted by having access to only half the wattage as the A240, it also has to get by with half the amperage too - 15 amps rather than 30. And since watts = amps x volts, the A240 has access to four times the cooking power than the A120 - a powerful 7,200 watts (240v x 30a) rather than the measily 1,800 watts (120v x 15a) that the A120 must get by with. The result is that in order to deliver food twice as fast as the A240 as promised, it makes much higher use of microwave cooking in the speed-cooking modes than the A240 does. So not only does your food take twice as long to cook, it still has a hint of that soggy microwaved texture that is largely filtered out by the A240. After all, the 240 can have the halogen bulbs and the convection element on at the same time, whereas the 120 must cycle between the two, or mix a moderate amount of halogen or convection heat with more microwaves than would be ideal.

Option 4 - you already know how pizza cooked heated up in a microwave oven tastes.

One last note - the over-the-cooktop Advantiums are rather shallow front-to-back, a result made necessary to squeeze between 12" deep wall cabinets. The round plate in an OTR Advantium is 13" wide. The built-in wall-oven Advantiums (with the drop-down door) fit into 24" deep cabinets and thus have a much deeper oven cavity - 16" round trays are included. A large pizza won't fit into an over-the-range Advantium.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 2:52AM
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Thanks for the responses! Lee676-I probably should have been clearer that it's somewhat small pizzas we're talking about. I just measured the pan he uses most frequently and it is 12 inches across, which should just fit in an OTR Advantium. Your explanation of how the 240 vs 120 watt Advantiums is very helpful. I would love to fit in a wall Advantium, which might be a tight fit in my small galley kitchen. It does, however, sound like the OTR would suffice for our needs, which would be an extra convection oven. The super snazzy 240 Speedcook would be awesome, but the really critical thing is just that extra oven. Particularly because when we (infrequently) entertain, we're usually just cranking out a bunch of small pizzas one after the other. Also the extra convection oven would be helpful for holidays. One extra question, which might reveal my complete ignorance: if we went for the 240 volt oven and put it in the wall, is it difficult to run that sort of voltage? I'm pretty sure it's only 120 where we would put it in right now. Obviously I also know next to nothing about how electricity works (that's also my husband's domain, along with pizza making!)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 8:53AM
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And I should have researched a little bit before assuming the 240 volt oven was only available as the wall oven. There is an OTR 240 volt that might be a perfect compromise for us. Assuming we can get the right type of electricity in there- always a dangerous assumption in this old house of ours!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 8:58AM
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It is usually pretty easy for an electrician to install a 240 line for a new appliance. If you have no extra space in your breaker box for an extra 240 circuit breaker, that can drive up the expense quite a bit if they have to install a new breaker box, but most often breaker boxes have extra spaces. Other than the spot in the breaker box, it should not cost any more to run a new 120 volt line than a new 240 volt line.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:47PM
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It's usually fairly easy to run a 240v/30a line, though it depends on the house, and how easy it is to fish wire from the electrical panel to the exhaust hood location and how far away it is. Generally, the only time you run into difficulty is if you live in an old multi-unit apartment or condo where your electric panel consists of a small number of 120v fuses. You may face a lesser challenge if you live in mid-20th-century house with low service amperage and a small eletrical panel that's already full (and even then, you can substitute dual or tandam 120v breakers to make room for a new 240v breaker). But usually, it's not a problem. Note also that is you're replacing a plain exhaust hood with a combination over-the-cooktop microwave/exhaust hood, you may need to add a circuit even if you get the 120v Advantium. That's because it uses nearly the entire 1800 watts available from a 120v/15a circuit and thus requires a dedicated circuit (with nothing else that runs off it). If your kitchen has just an exhaust hood now, the wiring for it is set up for just a low-wattage fan and may well be shared with other outlets or appliances in your kitchen, and if you run your above-the-cooktop 120v microwave and the toaster at the same time and they're both on the same circuit, the circuit breaker will trip or you'll blow a fuse.

The convection function on the 120v and 240v Advantiums is actually equally effective - both use a 1550 watt heating element with a fan to circulate the hot air around both racks. The microwave is slightly faster in the 240v (975w up from 925). So a Advantium 120 will work nicely as a second oven. But for cranking out pizzas one after another quickly, you'll want the twice as fast, and much better tasting cooking made possible by the Advantium 240's speedcooking prowess.

The over-the-cooktop A120 gives you five style choices - stainless steel in "Profile", "Cafe", or "Monogram" styles, and Profile in black or white. The 240 offers all of those except the Cafe. The stainless-steel versions include a backlit keypad; the black or white ones don't. (note - there are two Monogram 120s that look alike, i don't know what the difference is).

PS - verify any key data before you buy. I'm not an Advantium expert.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 3:27PM
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I meant to add in the above post, remember that convection cooking is only slightly faster than cooking in a conventional oven. Microwaving yields microwave taste and texture. Thus the advantage for the much faster and better-quality speedcook on the A240. I've used both - the A120 is a definite improvement over a convection/microwave, which itself is much nicer than a plain microwave oven. But if you can wing it, the A240 is unquestionably the way to go.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 3:33PM
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> (note - there are two Monogram 120s that look alike, i don't know what the difference is).

just found out - one is "professional" style rather than "European" style, which means a thicker handle. For that, you pay an extra $100. The Cafe version actually looks quite similar, despite being $200-$300 cheaper than the Monograms and as far as I can tell, having an identical feature set. The Profile series have distinctively different styling though, with curved glass and trim; going Profile stainless steel will save an additional $100 costs yet another $100 less. Black or white drops the price $100 more for the cheapest over-the-cooktop Advantium (and loses the backlighting on the control panel buttons).

The 240v models sell for $300 to $400 more than the equivalent 120v versions. For a given price, I'd take a black A240 over a Monogram A120, or a stainless Profile A240 over the same-price "pro" Monogram A120.

Nice and simple to figure out :-)

(I'm facing a similar dilemma - which all the different Advantium models, they don't make what I want - a 240v high-speed oven that can be placed under a countertop. I must decide what I'm most willing to give up).

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Maybe combo micro-convec bake can work but I'd try it when you have a duplicate Pizza ready to put into the convection and not suffer thru a lousy pizza pie.

Doesn't the Advantium do convection only? The Miele does.
It's about 25%-40% less time than the oven. I do toast in the Miele too and they can be put over the range though you might need a contractor to set that up specially ... they don't have a vent option as the Advantium does. You'd need a downdraft or some other ventilation option

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 11:53AM
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