I've been wanting to update with a more complete review on the oven but Uni is seriously crazy and i haven't had time to do a lot of things. i don't even have enough time to mug, much less bake. and i had some pineapple tart pastry left over in the fridge for almost a week before i could squeeze time out to finish it up. i ended up using them on egg tarts instead because i decided to keep the leftover pineapple jam for my brother when he returns in a couple of months. i think it is okay but i'll be observing the jam. according to my dad, because the jam is made with a significant amount of sugar, it should be able to keep well. so i'll keep this updated.
today was the first saturday since school started that i stayed home to sit down and study properly. without going for training, or tuition, or classes or things like that. so to reward myself i decided to end the day with this post (and a milk bread dough proofing in my oven right now).
looking forward to freshly baked bread tomorrow morning. ^^
alright, review proper!
after about a month with my new oven, i feel prepared to write a full review. everything here is from my own experience.
About the Oven
In case you haven't read my first post on the oven, the Rowenta OC 7891 is apparently the best oven in the market and how it compares to its counterparts OC383 and OC7861 is that it has a steam function and comes with an additional cocotte which is basically this huge container like thing with a glass cover and a base with a filter (i don't know what you call it) thing to place water underneath, put the 'rack filter' so that it doesn't come in contact with water and then your stuff.
it is huge, please refer to my post here, and comes with two grids and an additional base thing at the bottom.
cleaning has been pretty easy because of the hidden wire rack underneath. it is rather big so you may have to stretch a little further to get the insides if the oven is placed unstrategically. my only complain would be the wait for the oven to cool before being able to clean it without burning myself (yes probably as of all ovens). so yup. cleaning is pretty easy.
the OC7891 comes with 28 preset menus which basically means that everything from the type of oven mode (grill, convection, fan, fan+convection, defrost), to the temperature and time is all preset. for certain menus, it is possible to modify the time and temperature which i have not done so so far.
i have only used two preset menus so far. the ones for meringues (menu 13) (see post here) and menu 26, if i'm not wrong. i tried the steaming function for this because my dad was curious and we steamed egg with scallops and it was really tasty. the key point perhaps, would be the retaining of moisture, flavor and 'juice' which could be seen in the bowl. scallop was still tender and we picked the fish setting because we figured they both cook pretty fast and it's pretty light.
to use these settings, you would have to enter the approximate weight of the item (e.g. 1kg of chicken) and the oven will then decide on the appropriate temperature and time needed. for the egg scallop dish we did, i adjusted it to the minimum weight which is 0.5kg.
for the manual mode, you basically will hit the mode/menu button once and then use the knob to pick the mode required. as mentioned the modes available are:
3. Convection with Fan (bottom heat with fan)
5. Fan (recommended for pastries)
so far i've experimented with all except the defrost one. (i personally find it a waste of electricity to use the oven to defrost something when in hot sunny Singapore i can just place it outside for a couple of hours and it'll defrost perfectly fine)
so far i'm more comfortable using the convection and the grill function. the fan makes it a little hard to control in my opinion and as far as i know, the meringue menu (13), uses the fan. which is okay with me because everything is preset and i don't worry about the temperature.
the Grill Function comes with a fixed temperature and i was pretty surprised when i found out that i couldn't adjust the temperature for this. so if you're worried of food burning before it cooks, use the lowest rack. one more thing is that it is recommended that the grill function is used for a maximum of 1.5 hours to avoid abusing the wire grill on top. always rest after 1.5 hours to ensure the lifespan of the oven.
the convection mode is great, the safest, most traditional way of baking and the mode i use most often. a chef once told me that for this oven, 170degrees Celsius is the universal temperature. so if you're lost, use that as a base.
both the auto and manual instructions for using the modes/menus are found in the slot card cleverly designed to fit under the oven so no need to look for the instruction booklet all the time.
so once you've decided on your specifications/menu, press the start/stop button (twice- once to enter the details, twice to start the oven) and you'll see a little thermometer on the screen blinking. this means the oven is preheating and when the oven is at the specified temperature, the thermometer on the screen will stay with an OK sign at the bottom. your bakes are then ready to enter the oven.
we've also used the oven to grill (manual mode) chicken thighs, fish etc etc. and it turned out decent. chicken was tender and not over or undercooked. fish as well.
i have not experimented with the bread proofing functions because as i've mentioned in a previous post, i think it's a waste of electricity to use the oven for something that can be done at room temperature in Singapore. right now i've a bread proofing in the unheated oven. that post should be up in maybe a week (hopefully).
the oven heat in the convection mode is not evenly distributed. for my oven, the heat on the left is stronger than that of the right. not much of an issue for me btu if you're particular, perhaps you could consider turning the tray during baking or using the fan. this is not so evident in the grill function for some reason :/
Buy or not to buy?
good question. personally, i feel that if you intend on baking long term and will be using the oven from moderately-heavily, this oven will probably be a good choice. it was a good buy for me because i caught it during the pre CNY sale at a discounted price which i've mentioned in my earlier Review Post together with a couple of freebies. i purchased it at Best Denki at Great World City. one plus point about this oven is that should you intend on doing some big scale baking, it is able to accommodate. i had 3 trays of meringues in once (read meringues post). maybe i was pushing it a little but it is possible. 3 trays of cupcakes may be difficult but cookies may be possible. i have not tried. note that these trays are rather big. good investment in the long run but if you're looking at light to occasional baking, perhaps you may want to look for an alternative, especially considering the fact that this is a pretty big stand alone oven and may take up a significant amount of space in the kitchen. if you're not willing to dedicate your oven such space perhaps you could explore more options.
ALRIGHT. i hope i've covered most things and if there's anything else that i missed or you would like to know, feel free to leave a comment and i'll try to help.
hopefully when i'm freer i'll be able to update with more detailed pictures.