Whether you are as good as Nigella in the kitchen or just your everyday family cook, installing the best cooker for your needs is essential. It pretty much boils down (pardon the pun!) to two options – gas or electric. As simple as that might seem, choosing between the two brings up enough questions to keep us all wandering around the electrical shop in a bit of a daze.
Your fuel supply:
Most of us have gas supply direct into our kitchen and often have an outlet designed for the purpose of installing a gas oven. You aren't tied to that option though. It is possible to have the fuel line sealed off and use electric instead. Obviously if there is no gas supply and you choose a gas oven you will need to use gas bottles. They can be expensive to buy and you must refill them at your own expense. It is also possible to have a duel fuel cooker which has gas on the hob and electric inside.
Installing your cooker
Electrical ovens are best kept on their own circuit to avoid overloading. They should be fitted by a qualified electrician. Gas should always be fitted by a Corgi registered plumber.
The thermostat on an electric oven is controlled by the centre of the oven, this means it will usually be hotter at the top than at the bottom – perfect for if you want to cook several things at once. A fan oven will have a fan in the back wall of the oven which circulates the air. This ensures the temperature is even and your food will cook thoroughly regardless of where in the oven it is. The best thing about fan ovens is the fact they usually take 10% less time to cook your food giving us savings in time, money and energy. Nowadays you can also buy a multifunction oven which will have a grill, conventional and fan oven all in one. Sometimes they are split into two separate components, they may have a rotisserie, bottom heat only or even defrost settings.
The flame in a gas oven is usually at the back and bottom of the oven. The hot air rises and circulates throughout the unit. It will normally be hotter at the top. Cooking in a gas oven produces a moist atmosphere, which is great for baking.
When it comes to cooking our food we all hope that we use energy as efficiently as possible, but which is better – gas or electric? Generally gas is the better option in terms of carbon emissions. But this may be offset by the fact that is often takes longer to cook your food in a gas cooker. A fan electric oven will actually speed up the cooking time and pre-heating time of your oven, thus reducing your carbon emissions from the electricity used. The best idea seems to be to have gas on the hob as we use this options more often and electric in the oven section.
So when it comes to buying your next cooker you may want to bear all these facts in mind. Check the energy rating and think about how you plan on using your cooker and how often. It really is personal choice but knowing the facts can only improve your decision making.