Technological, elegant, made of high quality materials, energy-efficient and easy to use.
These are the main features of modern kitchens ovens and hobs. Products that, in terms of performance, are very similar to professional models
By Massimo Gianvito
Today, when we talk about domestic ovens, we refer to a real technology mix. It is enough to look at the control panel to realize it: touchscreen Lcd color displays are now widespread, allowing the user to easily manage all the functions of the ovens. But that’s not all. The entire oven door can become a real control panel: a full touch screen with an easy interface that allows to manage, control and supervise the cooking state at any stage. On the oven door also runs video-recipes that allow users to follow ‘live’ all the stages for preparing their own menu until the cooking is completed (Candy). In addition, wi-fi and apps, available in various models, allow to control the oven through smartphones or tablets. Among many options, we can also photograph an ingredient and the app offers one or more recipes among the available ones. The software recognizes the ingredient in real time and shows us how to transform it into a tasty dish (Indesit). Some automatic shutdown functions of the oven when the dish is ready, instead, increase safety and allow us to dedicate ourselves to other activities while food is baking.
Steam for any need
Steam cooking, born for professional appliances, is now a ‘must’ in domestic ovens. Steam ovens work with the vaporization of water contained in tanks placed inside the appliance itself, that is generally ventilated. The introduction of the steam oven, combined with other technologies, has allowed to reach quite high cooking levels with remarkable quality of food, saving time, and even energy, in the order of 15-20% compared to traditional cooking. Steam also allows to meet the needs of a cooking style that is more careful to well-being and fitness. This is a flexible tool that allows, for example, to balance humidity and temperature inside the oven. In addition, when the temperature reaches 100 °, a micro-steam is created that reaches every corner, keeping the optimum humidity level constant (Gourmet Vapour Technology by Samsung). It also allows to cook with three levels of steam and get the best flavors (Electrolux CombiSteam).
Cooking on multiple levels
The oven internal fan makes the air circulate at high speed and in a homogeneous way, bringing undoubted advantages, such as cooking dishes at lower temperatures than the traditional ones and using multiple levels of the oven at the same time. This saves time and energy without compromising the result of cooking. Another solution created in order to allow baking on several levels, is the Surf system (Beko): hot air is introduced inside the cavity through multiple hole rows located on both inner side walls. This method results in a more uniform circulation of air flowing horizontally on each level, ensuring a more homogeneous and effective cooking of food. Great attention is also given to particular food as pizza, for which specific features (and specific models) are available. Finally, now with the home oven we can also make yogurt or small cheese shapes (Beko).
Design and much more
Design and technology are now indissolubly bound. Ovens (and cooking hobs) are no exception: they are characterized by elegant finishes, often in stainless steel or copper. Real furniture objects and discrete kitchen protagonists. But design also means ease of use and ergonomics that facilitate the use and access to the oven. As in the case of the handle rotating depending on the door opening corner, thus following the natural movement of the hand, without distorting the arm in any way. Every time the user opens and closes the oven door, he can experience the perfect ergonomics of this solution (Neff). Or the handle that, combining ergonomics and elegance, is made of satin steel, and allows us to adjust the oven functions by simply touching the icons on the handle itself (Smalvic). And cleaning is no longer a problem: now almost all ovens have automatic washing functions, often based on the use of steam.
A look at the hobs
It is known that for Italians cooking is not only a hobby, but is a real pleasure and pleasure is greater if the kitchen is comfortable and well-equipped (and easy to clean). Modern induction hobs well express the concept of freedom of action and flexibility in the kitchen, even better if the hob offers a unique cooking surface that can be used to cook with several pots at the same time (Siemens FreeInduction). So, it is possible to use the heating surface according to everyone’s needs, thus creating new cooking zones. Each pot can therefore be placed anywhere in the hob. The automatic detection will activate only the areas covered by the pot surface, distributing heat uniformly, with significant time and energy savings (Whirlpool FlexiFull).
The right temperature where it is needed
The activation and management of induction hob takes place with the touch controls, placed under the glass, in a very simple and intuitive way. It is possible to differentiate the power of the various cooking zones, usually indicated by a red Led light; each induction area is equipped with an independent timer. Various levels of power are available. It is possible to visualize the warm level while cooking and set the perfect intensity for the dishes by choosing from the different available levels. The programming also includes the automatic shutdown function in the case of the appliance is on for a long time and the safety lock for children. The worktop has to resist to the everyday use, wear, shock and scratching, so it is made of durable and easy-to-clean materials such as vitroceramic (made from so called “unstable” glass, such as those with a base of Lithium silicate) or stoneware (water-resistant ceramic material with compact paste, which cannot be damaged by chemical agents – Smalvic). Of course, Smart applications are available also for induction hobs and allow flexibility and imagination in the use of the hobs themselves; for example, we can access to numerous automatic recipes or be assisted in preparing dishes.
Gas is still a protagonist
Although induction technology is progressively establish itself, gas cooking is still very present in the kitchens. One of the main problems of the gas is the dispersion of a part of the heat during cooking, so here is a solution that allows to precisely regulate the dispensing of the flame through nine different levels of power. In the traditional “gas” cookers, in fact, the control of each burner is rather imprecise. Now the precision in flame dispensing is ensured by new knobs with a gradual and easy-to-handle regulator (Bosch FlameSelect).
|Gaetano Bonarrigo, project manager of cooking sector at IMQ
COOKING: INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
When we buy an oven or a hob, what should we consider? And what kind of behavior should we keep in the daily use of these products? We asked it to Gaetano Bonarrigo, project manager of the cooking sector of IMQ (Italian Institute of Quality Mark)
What should be considered when buying an oven or a hob?
The main advice I want to give is to check the energy class of the household appliance: an important tool that allows consumers to make a comparison among the products. A more efficient energy class guarantees lower costs on the bill. Of course there are differences in the purchase price. So consumers must do their considerations: for an intensive use product I would like to say that the price is to be considered like an investment.
What advices for everyday management?
The most important thing is to read the instructions manual carefully and, above all, to strictly observe the contained instructions, which unfortunately is still often little and bad made. In particular, the improper use of household appliances should be avoided: for example, do not use the hob as a support surface, especially when it is still hot. It is important always to pay great attention to the hot parts and of course to use caution when extracting the dishes from the oven. Special care is required by gas products. It is important, for example, to check if there is a proper ventilation in the room, and in particular that the famous "ventilation hole" is near the appliance and is not closed. If any failure or malfunction occurs, it is necessary to close gas and call for technical assistance. It is fundamental not to improper repair it. Similarly, avoid using the oven to warm the environment in colder times, and, in any case, do not close the ventilation areas of the room.