Home oven recommendations

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Help buying a counter-top oven

Postby SlowRain » Mon Jan 14, 2019 22:53

My wife has given approval to buy an oven. Our main uses will be for things like fish, chicken, and bread. Her budget is up to NT$20K, so we have some wiggle room. The only conditions are that it be apartment-sized, suitable for the higher temperatures needed for bread, and 110v. Also, we’d like something very reliable, but it doesn't necessarily have to have a lot of bells and whistles.

Even if you don’t have any personal experience with this kind of oven, what are some things we should be aware of? Do I need the ability to steam if I’ll be baking bread in a Dutch oven (think FWSY and Tartine kind of breads)? Do we need a fan? How do we determine the oven’s efficiency and ability to retain heat? What other things should we consider?

We've only just started researching, but some brands I've come across are Dr. Goods, 烘王 (Hong Wang), Yamasaki, and Panasonic.

Thanks.
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Re: Help buying a counter-top oven

Postby cfimages » Tue Jan 15, 2019 07:26

Dr Goods.

No idea for bread, but it is great for roasts, cakes and so on. It's simple - one control for top heat, one for bottom, and a timer.

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Re: Help buying a counter-top oven

Postby SlowRain » Tue Jan 15, 2019 08:39

Here's a selection of what I'm looking at right now, but I may expand that later as I find more:

Dr. Goods - https://www.ucook.com.tw/products/dr-go ... E7%AE%B1-1

Hong Wang 9988 - http://www.hwcck.com.tw/

Yamasaki - http://www.yamasakitw.com/html/html_sk_K_4590RHS.htm

Panasonic - https://www.panasonic.com/tw/consumer/k ... h3800.html

I imagine all of these will handle cake, fish, and chicken quite well. I think bread in a Dutch oven may be the determining factor (I don't know, I'm just guessing). A lot of these show the size of the whole internal chamber, but that doesn't seem to indicate usable space once the racks are factored in. How can I estimate that? How can I compare the efficiency and insulation of each one? How about the evenness of the baking/roasting throughout the entire chamber?
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Re: Help buying a counter-top oven

Postby Dragonbones » Tue Jan 15, 2019 08:47

See threads here ovens-for-baking-bread-t10072.html?hilit=goods%20oven and here post108834.html#p108834. I bake bread regular in our Dr. Goods. Got it straight from the designer/importer in Xizhi, and although it was the same price as at Yixing baking supply store under the Minquan bridge in Neihu, I was able to negotiate a spare wire rack and spare pan or something like that (it was long ago). Do get the spare rack ($350) and pan ($500 but high quality); you'll need to shield the top of a roasting bird or bread when cranking the temperature very high in such a short oven (regardless of brand), and you can use the rack and pan as the shield on the higher rack. You can check out the ovens at Yixing if you like, before deciding.

Yixing info: As you’re driving East down Minquan (Minquan) E Rd towards Neihu, after passing the aquarium shops and crossing Fuyuan St. (the last before the bridge), instead of getting on the bridge, take the low road parallel to the bridge on the south side. Go a short block, just past a Bridgestone tire shop; turn right, and go about 50 meters, and the shop is on your left. 義興西點原料行 is the shop name; the address is 富錦街574巷2號 Fujin St., Lane 574, #2. Phone 2760-8115. Closed Sun., I think.

Steaming is up to you. You don't need to spend a fortune on an oven that can steam IMO. You can get a cast iron rectangular griddle (see 2nd link above) and put that atop a few tile strips on the oven floor (the tile strips are so that the cast iron doesn't cover the holes in the floor above the bottom element; a broken flooring tile will suffice). To steam, I use a stainless turkey baster (brought from the States) to squirt 100 degree C water onto the already max temp (250ish) iron plate after loading the bread. You can also steam by preheating a cast iron pot (Lodge, 5 qt, occasionally available at Costco), then loading a round loaf into that using oven paper and mitts, cover it, bake 2/3 of your bake time, then uncover to finish. The dough steams itself this way and you get great oven rise.
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Re: Help buying a counter-top oven

Postby SlowRain » Tue Jan 15, 2019 09:40

Here's another Panasonic I can consider: https://www.panasonic.com/tw/consumer/k ... c300b.html

But at this price, will I realistically get better insulation and heat distribution, or just more features that I probably won't use?

I imagine I'll use a Dutch oven for making bread as it seems there will be less fiddling around. That should eliminate my need for flooring tiles entirely, right? But, what's the usable space inside once all the racks are in place? Will a Dutch oven fit? Also, knowing what you know now, would you still get a Dr. Goods, or is there some other oven on the market that you think may be better?

I live in Taichung, so I'd have to find a local store that sells them. Do you know the name or have the contact info for the importer/manufacturer?
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby Dragonbones » Wed Jan 16, 2019 08:14

Google is your friend: https://www.ucook.com.tw/products/dr-go ... E7%AE%B1-1
https://www.ucook.com.tw/products/dr-go ... E7%AE%B1-1
A Lodge 5-qt fits fine even with flooring tiles and a cast iron plate added. The plate I added is a Lodge Double Play Grill Griddle from Ruten.
I've been using this oven for many many years, very often (including semiprofessionally at one point, heavy usage). It has needed a few minor repairs (one timer knob replaced, one light bulb, one door latch. Service has always been fast and excellent (but I live near the company), and one at least one occasion, free of charge.

It's not well insulated but seems much more rugged than the Kaiser ones at Costco. It gets plenty hot for crusty bread and pizza, unlike small cheap ($3k) local ovens. It can roast a chicken if you cover the top with double foil, but can't fit a turkey. I would probably get the same oven again rather than dropping twice as much on something with electronics and functions I might not use (all being more things to break IMO). Simple and rugged is better in the long run. I don't trust companies to be there to repair electronic things 10-20 years from now. Just had a KitchenAid toaster go kaput after only 2 years. We spent more on it because every toaster we've had has died after 1.3 years or so, and we thought it would either last longer or be repairable. Nope, not only will they not do repairs on their toasters, but they designed it so that the owner can't even open it to try to repair it on his/her own!

Simple and mechanical is better.
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby SlowRain » Wed Jan 16, 2019 09:02

Thanks. I've been on that website. I didn't realize it was the official manufacturer.

I have a Dutch oven that's 19.5 cm tall, but I think that will be too tall for whatever counter-top oven I get. I may have to pick up that Lodge, which their website says is 6 inches tall. What's the largest size/weight whole-grain boule you can make in the Lodge?

I'm with you on the electronic/digital vs. analog debate. The problem is my wife is reading about how these steaming ovens are the bee's knees.

One more question: Do you know anything about Yamasaki ovens?
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby Dragonbones » Wed Jan 16, 2019 09:39

SlowRain wrote:Thanks. I've been on that website. I didn't realize it was the official manufacturer.

Yup. They designed it, had it manufactured, and distribute and repair it.

I have a Dutch oven that's 19.5 cm tall, but I think that will be too tall for whatever counter-top oven I get. I may have to pick up that Lodge, which their website says is 6 inches tall. What's the largest size/weight whole-grain boule you can make in the Lodge?


Big enough to almost fill the DO. I also routinely bake 2 loaf pans plus a small boule between them. The oven takes a half sheet size pan. I recommend the ones from the Dr. Goods manufacturer, as they are high quality and a perfect fit. Get 2, and if you bake cookies consider 3-4.

Steaming is not required to get good bread. It can help, but you can also just bake the bread fully proofed and it's fine.
I've done it zillions of ways both times. I DO get better oven-rise on boules (plus side support, assisting with vertical rise) in the D.O., but it's so dangerous to take out and load a 250 degree C cast iron DO that I don't do it often. If you do it, use two thick oven mitts and a long sheet of oven paper on which the boule has proofed and been scored (optional). You'll use the two extreme thirds of the oven paper as handles to lower the boule into the smoking hot DO then trim the excess paper quickly with shears, put the lid on, and move the DO back to the oven. Bake 2/3 of your baking time with the lid on, then remove the lid and finish baking.

One more question: Do you know anything about Yamasaki ovens?

Nope. Just the local crap $3k+ ovens (avoid), the Kaiser (I haven't used it but don't like the look and feel; I've felt the knobs etc in the store), and Dr. Goods (I used to have two, one for small-scale baking and reheating in the small "bakery" I opened at one point).
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby SlowRain » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:50

I'm familiar with using cooking paper to lower a boule into the pot as that's the method I'm doing when baking bread in my slow cooker right now. Never thought of trimming away the excess, though. The video I saw on YouTube didn't use cooking paper. How dangerous would that be?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtoMhY0vS9E

How many grams of flour do you use for a boule in your Lodge Dutch oven?
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby Dragonbones » Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:56

SlowRain wrote:How dangerous would that be?

Well, how close do you want *your* fingers to 250 degree C cast iron? I use the oven paper.

How many grams of flour do you use for a boule in your Lodge Dutch oven?

Not sure, haven't done it in a while. A proofed boule about the size used in the video is perfect, so you can experiment and adjust. Any extra can be saved as old dough or baked alongside the DO as a small free loaf.
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby Tempo Gain » Thu Jan 17, 2019 15:39

Dragonbones wrote: but can't fit a turkey.


Really? I've managed to do 10 or 11 pounders in cheap convection ovens.
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby Dragonbones » Fri Jan 18, 2019 08:47

Huh! Well I haven't really tried, but just a regular roast chicken was about as big as I'd try, as I don't like the top of the bird to be only centimeters away from the top element, and even with the chicken it needed foil on top to avoid burning.
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby channamasala » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:10

Reading with interest (and yeah, not been around in awhile).

It's time for us to get a new oven - our cheap plug-in crapbox needs to go. The dial popped off and the numbers wore off so many years ago that we now can't even estimate the general temperature (and it seems to be stuck on 'burn everything to a crisp' so yeah...time to go.)

It seems like every option discussed here is electric, and I was wondering if it was even possible to get a gas oven (and hire someone to hook it to the gas, obviously).

I don't bake bread, but I do bake cakes, cookies, tarts and I make baked stews, lasagne, and casseroles. I'd like to be able to fit a larger roasting pan, like a Le Creuset, which our cheap Sampo plug-in could never do. I'd like something I can bake on two levels with, so I can make cookies. I'd like to be able to make a decent sized pizza.

I don't need any bells and whistles. I do prioritize size.

Ideally I'd like it to sit just below our gas stove hob, rather than on a large shelf right above our cat litter in the back hall. For obvious reasons, while that arrangement worked with our little Sampo (though it wasn't the best layout), it won't work with something larger. I've seen steel, um, furniture? Cabinet frames? that could hold a decent-sized oven on the bottom and a gas hob on top at basic local kitchen supply stores.

Even more ideally, I'd like something that is gas, and includes a gas stove hob.

I've seen electric ovens with stovetops, but I don't want an electric stovetop - I find them barely useable.

Thoughts? Help?
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby SlowRain » Sat Jan 19, 2019 16:07

Dragonbones wrote:A Lodge 5-qt fits fine even with flooring tiles and a cast iron plate added. The plate I added is a Lodge Double Play Grill Griddle from Ruten.

Are these the Lodge cast-iron goodies you have?

https://shop.lodgemfg.com/dutch-ovens/5 ... h-oven.asp

https://shop.lodgemfg.com/griddles-and- ... riddle.asp
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Re: Home oven recommendations

Postby Dragonbones » Mon Jan 21, 2019 09:49

Yup
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