Fortunately, you don’t need to be a Michelin Star chef to understand that cooking with gas allows you better control over heat and the cooking process. With gas, food can be heated quickly, or with a flick of the switch, you can stop food from burning. Gas ovens also create a small amount of water vapour which can help to stop food from drying out.
But there are so many gas cook tops and gas ovens to choose from, where do you start?
Choose the appliance that suits your needs
Might be an obvious statement, but think about the way you cook now and if that’s likely to change in the coming years. Your new gas oven and cooktop will be a long-term friend, so planning ahead always helps.
Have an idea of how your household cooks – whether it’s baking, frying, grilling or roasting, knowing how you’ll use your kitchen appliances will help you weigh up the value of different features.
Measure the space you have available for your cooktop or oven and make sure you choose a capacity and shape that fits your kitchen. Consider how many burners you’ll need on a cooktop and the sizes that suit the pots and pans you use.
Built-in ovens can be installed separately to a cooktop in a wall recess or under a bench. Free-standing units include both an oven and cooktop, and can be handy in smaller kitchens. Also consider what finish suits your home (e.g. white, black, coloured or stainless steel).
Buttons and knobs
Buttons should be easy to read and feature a pointer which clearly indicates the setting.
Make sure you select a cooktop and oven that are easy to clean, without fiddly areas where spills and crumbs can get trapped.
Always the final decider – even if you want that mega oven, can you afford the maintenance and ongoing bills?
Once you’ve got a good idea of what best suits your cooking style, home and budget, what else do you need to consider?
Fan-forced or conventional?
- Cook quickly and efficiently with even temperature throughout
- Several dishes can be cooked together at the same temperature
- Heat is dispersed throughout the oven, so there’s no need to preheat
- Foods retain their natural juices as cooking times are faster and at a lower temperature
- For conventional cooking, simply switch off the fan.
- Three different heat zones all at the same time
- The top level is hottest and ideal for baking
- The middle section is a moderate temperature zone, perfect for roasting meats
- The lowest part is cooler and best for long, slow cooking
- Cook a whole meal at once just by placing food at different levels.
What to look out for with gas cooktops
- Only buy appliances that are approved as safe for use with LPG in Australia. Approved appliances will carry a safety certification label and number.
- Flame-failure safety features can be installed on gas cooktops and gas ovens. It is an electro-magnetic valve fitted to each burner, shutting off gas if the flame has been accidently extinguished.
- There are also different ignition systems to consider such as an electronic ignition which creates a continuous spark when you press a button, or a manual ignition which is when a gas burner is lit with a match or hand-held sparking gun.
- Installations must always be done by a licensed gas fitter, and a certificate of compliance should be provided to you once the gas work is completed.