need advice on choosing the right 36" convection range for baking

LeCakeNovember 20, 2012

I am going crazy for two weeks trying to decide on which 36" convection, gas or electric for my in home baking business. I prefer to stay at or below $6,000. My common sense tells me all gas would be better for baking. I have used an electric oven for 10 years and I am known for my moist cakes. I make wedding cakes. I have until Sunday to decide per the builder of our new home. I am looking at a r366 Wolf AG, open grates floor model for $3,800.00. Once I buy it that's it. I have heard this model takes 30 minutes to heat up and a zillion pros and cons of EVERY great model from Blue Star to Viking. Was thinking Thermador as well. Thanks for your input.

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The differences between gas and and electric-
In many places you will read that gas is moist heat due to the release of water as part of the products of combustion and that electric is dry. In reality, the products of combustion require more ventilation and are vented out so the gas ends up dry. Electric ovens are not as ventilated so they hold moisture from what you are cooking. The moisture is helpful the first part of the baking cycle for cakes and breads. It helps the rise and makes the surface texture better. The second part of the baking process is better dry as it helps with browning and crispness. This can be accomplished in the electric oven by opening the oven briefly and turning on the convection mode. Some commercial gas ovens use steam injectors to overcome the dryness.

The electric oven may also have a narrower range of temperature. This is often the reason baking forums give for using electric ovens. You would need to check the actual specs on the thermostat. The typical oven has a swing of 25 degrees on either side of the set temperature, but some electric ovens have a s little as 2 degrees. As far as long preheats, this is a good thing because it takes that long to preheat the bulk of the oven which can contribute to even heating(radiant) as much if not more than the convection. Even when ovens have a rapid preheat and show they are "at temp", they still require time to come to stabilize and come to full heat.

Electric ovens also can have a third convection element which is a benefit when the oven is full in keeping the heat even. Gas ovens usually only have a fan. KA and Wolf have dual fans and elements in their ovens. I have a Wolf 36 inch DF and it heats very evenly. I think the dual fans is helpful in the 36 inch size. I had a previous range with just one fan and it heated very unevenly but it might just have been that brand.

Electric ovens often have self clean while only a few gas ovens do.

Electric ovens can have modes that are beneficial for various types of baking and roasting. They can direct the heat from the top or bottom more.

I have baked with gas and electric and both will work and you can find all kinds of people with success with both. I would probably go with electric for baking cakes though.
Convection is also another issue as some people use it for all baking. I do not, but just use it where I see it as a benefit. The rapid heat transfer can cause the outside of the cake to rise more than the inside. This may vary oven to oven depending on the force of the air and how often the fan come ons. It is a learning curve oven to oven.

I have a Wolf DF range and an Electrolux wall oven. Both function very well and in a similar way, except the Electrolux does not have an all convection mode. It bakes evenly without it. The Wolf also bakes very evenly on the convection bake mode and the regular bake mode as well so I have never really used the all convection mode. I used a Profile oven this past summer and the convection fan came on and off and the temperature setting were not as versatile as my ovens at home. Also had the Dacor Discovery ovens 5 years ago and they never worked right and they bought them back, but the third element was a detriment in that oven as it burned stuff on the side facing the back.

People seem to like Wolf and Electrolux ovens on these forums but there are some others. Search the brands you are considering on the bottom of the main appliance page.

Good Luck with your decision.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:06AM
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Thank you so much for your wise input, learned a lot. Can you put a 16" pan in your oven? Thank you, Robin

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 5:58PM
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