who cooks with AGA traditional oven ..what do you think?

homeimprovementmomApril 4, 2013

I have been researching the AGA traditional oven - gas. Mrs. Ratfire in appliances wrote a very thoughtful post and email about her experience with her AGA. Much appreciated. I would like to know what other cooks have to say about their traditional AGA or if they have the total control how the on and off is working out. I live in NYC and if anyone is from NYC and wants to let me know what their experience is - who they bought from, installer, etc. I would much appreciate it.
I am asking in cooks because I am really interested in knowing what your experience is cooking with your AGA.
Cheers! Thank you.

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Welcome to the Cooking Forum, from one New Yorker to another.

Let me first be clear, I do not have an AGA range, and I had no previous user experience with one either. Besides the fact that there is something bothers me a lot to have an oven that is on 24/7 365 days a year, I Just have a few uneducated opinions about Mrs. RatfireâÂÂs passionate praises of her AGA range.

1. âÂÂthe AGA burns a small amount of BTU's per hour, all the time. The install guy told me about 10 BTU's an hour.â That contradicts what she said later. 10 BTUs canâÂÂt even heat up a cup of coffee by much. âÂÂI had it off for a week once. The ambient temperature of my house dropped significantly- .âÂÂ

  1. âÂÂEVERTHING comes out DELICIOUS- far superior to any other oven. â Sound like a Ron Popell commercial to me. No appliance can make food delicious.

3. âÂÂThe thing is a cast iron box- the heat is moist and fantastic.â I donâÂÂt think so. Radiant heat is what you use to dry food.

4. âÂÂI took my normal gas stove and left it in the garage. I have it if I want to use a full baking sheet- a full one will not fit in AGA.â Therefore, assuming you have the mega bucks to buy an AGA range, make sure you also have the room to keep your back up stove.

5. âÂÂI do not prefer the AGA for baking, â Therefore if you bake, donâÂÂt buy an AGA?


    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 7:40PM
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I don't know anything about gas ones, but was brought up in a 16th century house with a coal-fired one. As Dcrch says, they're on all the time. Our house was cool even during a heatwave. I understand it gets very hot in New York in the summer. You need a big kitchen too as you can't snuggle up to one unless it's a cold day. As D says - it's an oven. A lot of snobbery goes with Agas so go and see one in a real house if you can. We had two hotplates. The oine directly above the fire was hotter than the other. A hot top oven for most cooking and a cooler oven below. They're great for warming your clothes on a cold morning!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 2:37AM
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I know that Bulldinkie has one. Hopefully she`ll come in and share her knowledge.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 8:25AM
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Just to make clear, my previous post is not meant to say that AGA ranges are bad pieces of appliance. The features they offer can be great for many people.

There are different characteristics for people to be aware of when considering one.

For instance, weight. AGA can weight from 1,000 lbs to almost 2,000 lbs. A general range weighs under 250 lbs.

"The hearth or floor below the AGA must be strong enough to carry these weights as well as the extra weight of any plinth or slab used.

If the kitchen floor is suspended, it may require additional support underneath. Please check with your builder or a structural engineer.

The hearth must be also be non-combustible for a minimum thickness, dependent on the fuel type. See also the individual site requirements pages.

Any plinth or hearth must be absolutely level in all directions."


    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:48AM
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My cousins have one in their home in the UK (Leeds). It's wood burning.

The kitchen is tiny and is the hottest room in the house. In the damp cold weather (80% of the year) that's great but in summer....

We've spent many cold damp days gathered in the kitchen but in summer we avoid the kitchen and the rooms close to it at all cost

You cannot adjust the temperatures in the ovens. There are 4 ovens, all have a different temperature and you chose the oven based on temp not size. They are all smallish. Forget putting together a TG dinner where everything needs 350-400. You won't have enough room.

I don't cook much when we visit so don't recall how the hobs work exactly but I do know there was a warming hob where you could melt chocolate without a double boiler LOL (hey, its chocolate)

Jackie cooked mostly in the ovens and very little on the top and I always thought it was because of her cooking style but the thread linked below indicates it might have been due to the AGA which BTW, is BIG and red. It takes up almost one whole wall.

Here is a link that might be useful: GW thread

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 1:34PM
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I have a four oven,black,Ive had mine over 22 years.I enjoy cooking on .On thanksgiving get everything ready put in different ovens.Company comes get it all out.
They tell you what you need we poured a cement slab under the stove,they install it,mine sits in brick arch.
You can buy cookie sheets I have quite a few all sizes,aga sells kettles to use on there I also use other la crusetI like
we had something put on ours to cut fuel etc.I have to ask hubby I don't remember.
I can sit container chochlate on warming tray it melts,gloves,jack russell backs her hiney up to it to get warm.So many uses,raise dough for bread,buns etc on top.
Boil water fast,
as far as cooking you can mae some great meals,long slow,fast whatever,Ive always loved to cook and bake you get use to how it works which oven to use ,just like a new car,Start everything on top,then finish in oven,Theres an oven ,simmer like crock pot,below is an oven warming,top right is broil,high baking ,cooking .Below that is slow or lower heat baking.2 huge burners on top,warming tray.
One thing I like is if electric goes out you can cook and keep warm.Ours was out a week already.
Yes you can there is a knob bottom front from 1-10 you can lower if youd like.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:20PM
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I really appreciate people responding and sharing their experiences and thoughts. Thank you. I am thinking of the 3 oven traditional gas - we don't have room for the 4 oven. We live in an apt. in nyc and there is currently no heat in the kitchen as there is no radiator. We are remodeling and there will be one smallish radiator. But if we do purchase the 3 oven, we will remove the radiator - cap it off. I am a bit concerned about the range of cooking with the 3 oven. it does not have a warming plate, nor of course the extra warming oven. Does anyone who cooks with the AGA know how this then works out - can you actually cook and consistently cook items on the 3 oven?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 11:33PM
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EVeryone I know who has one has an electric oven as well - for times like christmas, hot weather........
I can't ever remember having any bother cooking anything in it at all unless it went out!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:02AM
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If you're in an apartment are you certain the floor can support the weight? An AGA can weigh over 1000 pounds! And that's without the concrete slab that has to go underneath.

IIRC if the floor is suspended, and what apt. floor isn't, you will need a structural engineer to certify it can support the weight.

In addition, how will you get it INTO your apartment.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:56AM
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when they come to install its in pieces,no problem there also if you want they look and tell you about what support & all you need,they did us but like I said hubby is a contractor.So we did that.Look up aga web site ,it will tell you about the 3 why wouldn't it do all your needs.I have the 4 with warm oven you said 3 without the warmer so it would do all mine does.
Mine is gas propane.We buried a big tank he comes like every 6 months to fill.
Makes no sense I have 4 the one is warming I feed 12 people like on Easter no problem we got ham in,casseroles put in So when guests get there time to serve.
Only problem I have in the 22+ years Ive had mine cant make round pizzas so I make rectangle pizzas on cookie sheets, so actually that's not a problem.
You start the food on top then finish in the ovens.
Ive dried clothing,Have a jar with a little candle left sit on there melts,smells good too.I use it for different crafts,shrinky dinks ..lol

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 5:59PM
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Interestingly, there are 2 AGA cookers on CL in Maine right now. I'd love to have one, but the time is not right for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aga cooker in Maine

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:46PM
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I don't live in Maine - and I don't have room for the 4oven.Thank you for the advert though.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:42AM
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All locations have Building Codes specifying permissible floor loading per square foot. An AGA range most likely is a Code violation without supplemental structural support.

I would really be careful if you live in a seismic active zone. a 1,000 lb piece of metal shaking may create problems.


This post was edited by dcarch on Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 7:53

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:42AM
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Why would it shake????They are solid,We had earthquakes mine has never moved.also I don't think the people would put if not right...Theyre pretty good.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:07PM
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bulldinkie, I've never even heard of an AGA, so I had to look it up. That is one cool looking piece of equipment.

The weight wouldn't be an issue here, we seldom have earthquakes and the heat would be nice if the power goes out, which happens regularly.

The only problem is the price. (grin)


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:40PM
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"---Why would it shake????They are solid,We had earthquakes mine has never moved.--"

There are many kinds of seismic force movements in the X,Y,Z dimensions during an earthquake. The AGA will mostly survive fine, It is very solid; however, due to it's weigh it may cause structural damage if it is not properly supported.

In a vigorous vertical shake, a 1,000 lb weigh can become more than a 10,000 force.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:00PM
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and what Im saying is..the aga people install it they know what theyre dealing withand what needs to be done.I really don't think its gonna move for anything it has a pipe going thru attic etc its heavy ,It is very well supported.The customer doesn't do any work.My hubby poured the slab but they told him what they wanted.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:56PM
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Did you ever get one? I can recommend my installer (who I think has NYC in his service area). Mine is inside my second floor apartment and has caused no issues. I have a large kitchen and a two oven aga; I did keep my conventional range too but only use it very rarely. It is handy to have for large or complicated meals and for cakes which need a longer bake at a moderate temperature. The Aga does make the kitchen extremely hot in summer; I plan to shut it off for June-August moving forward. It uses a fairly significant amount of gas too, costs me about $50 monthly to run it.

As a cooking tool it is fabulous! Excellent breads and incredible roast meats or veg. I don't understand the 'moist heat' comment but think she means that the radiant heat keeps the foods moist inside; my sense is that the ovens sear the outside of foods very quickly so the insides remain moist. There is also (I think) less air exchange in the ovens so vapors from cooking linger which may also help prevent drying out of food. Basic things like rice or potatoes (boiled, baked, or roasted) are so easy and almost impossible to screw up. Brings large pots of water to the boil incredibly fast (admittedly, it can only do this once and then needs time to recover). The ovens are small but can be filled right up; you cook stuff right on the floors and can pile pots on top of each other. The Aga cookware slides on the tracks on the sides of the ovens so you don't need to use shelves; I keep one shelf on the bottom of my simmering oven but otherwise don't use racks at all for the most part.

It is also lovely for keeping dry towels and dish rags and keeping the kitchen warm and drying shoes and damp coats etc.

The three oven adds a useful addition of 50% capacity over my two oven, plus a more moderate temperature for baking. I have heard that the baking oven tends to approach roasting oven temperatures when cooking a large meal but using the cold shelf and the large roasting tin helps to create a cooler micro-climate within the oven for things that need less intense heat.

If you have a good air conditioning system, you might be fine with just the three oven to run year-round. If you throw a lot of large dinner parties or think you might want to shut it off in summer, I would only install if you have space for a small conventional range or cooktop/wall-oven combo elsewhere in the kitchen. A couple of burners (electric or gas) would be useful. The extra cooking facilities are not required but are likely helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: my Aga

    Bookmark   December 29, 2014 at 4:25PM
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