Home is where the hearth is, and in the absence of an open fire, your oven is the next best thing.
But choosing this centrepiece to your kitchen is fraught with pitfalls, and the choices out there are endless. The first step is narrowing down whether you want a gas or an electrical cooker, so we pit the two against each other, in a variety of categories, to see which will emerge victorious.
“Spiral” by Chris licensed under CC BY 2.0
Some people are cautious about introducing gas pipes into the home, as gas leaks are responsible for a significant number of house fires every year. In addition, an open flame can prove hazardous if you have a family home with young children and pets running around. On the other hand, with an electric hob plate, sometimes it can prove difficult to tell whether the heat is turned on, resulting in a nasty burn.
The verdict: Electric cookers are generally safer, but only if the ceramic plate changes colour to show temperature changes!
Electric ovens do cost more than gas ovens to run, but the difference tends to be negligible, as modern cookers are designed to be as energy efficient as possible. There is the additional factor of install costs with a gas oven, which is a specialised job, while electric ovens can be plugged in and ready to cook in minutes. The initial outlay for a gas oven also tends to be higher.
The verdict: While electric cookers cost more to run overall, gas is higher maintenance, and requires install costs and a higher initial outlay which should be factored into any budget. What this means is you should do your research, and compare options to ensure you get the right kitchen equipment.
“Gas Burner ~ Fire ~ Week 14” by kentishmayde licensed under CC BY 2.0
The reason we all buy an oven – to make delicious food. The gas cooker’s performance is all up top, with a wonderful, instant hob flame which will heat up a pan in seconds. For the chef, timing is everything, so those who spend a lot of time labouring over the sauce pan will be grateful for the convenience.
However, the baker might tend to disagree. Gas ovens often fail on heat distribution, with uneven temperatures between shelves and slower cooking times overall. Electric ovens come equipped with fans to spread the head evenly, and maintain a perfectly even temperature on all shelves.
The verdict: The saucier might disagree, but overall, for baking and oven cooking, the electric oven is still an outright winner.