Caring For A Classic AGA Oven

AGA ovens are much like a quality piece of art; they look good and serve many purposes, and will last for lifetimes as long as they’re kept in top condition.

These cookers are certainly built to last, as their cast iron casing and enamel fixtures make them one of the most durable ovens available. It’s this durability that often fools people into thinking that their ovens don’t need as much caring for as any other kitchen appliance, but in actual fact AGA’s require regular maintenance in order to run properly. (more…)

When you come to buy a new oven, whether as a replacement or as part of a kitchen renovation project, you might well be surprised by the amount of choice you’re presented with. For starters, you have to decide on the its energy supply; with traditional style models back in fashion, solid fuel heating is growing in popularity, competing with conventional stalwarts – gas and electricity.

Traditional or Cutting Edge Style?

Following on rather neatly is the actual design. Obviously a lot will depend on your physical restrictions and the existing colour scheme; you wouldn’t want a hulking black AGA in a cutting edge minimalist bijou kitchen full of miniscule objets d’art and barely enough room to swing a cat. So there will be limitations, which will help you to narrow your choices somewhat. Ovens aren’t all created following the same one dimensional blueprint. So whether you’re looking for a clean, white façade or a slightly more colourful alternative, you shouldn’t come up short.

Getting the Specification Right

If you fancy yourself as the next Mary Berry and enjoy nothing more than baking cakes and other treats for the family, the size, temperature and visibility offered by an oven is hugely important. First and foremost, you will need a window. This will enable you to see the rise of a bake without opening the door and allowing all the heat to escape. It’s not a standardised feature across all ovens, even if they do appear on the majority of designs, so always double check that the door includes a transparent glass panel.

Then comes the temperature of course. Whether you’re a baker or a budding chef, the last thing you want is to have to adjust timings or compromise on quality just because your oven is limited to 200 degrees. Sure, this might be enough for most dishes, but there are always going to be those occasional few recipes that demand 250 degrees or even more. Therefore, if you’re serious about cooking, make sure your oven matches your aspirations.

So what about size? Well, as mentioned previously, a great deal will depend on the space you have available, or indeed what you can make available within the kitchen. You may have your heart set on a large oven to allow you to cook everything all at once, but if it doesn’t fit then it won’t just be your turkey that’s stuffed at Christmas. Get out your tape measure and see what fits or what adjustments can be made to squeeze your dream oven into your kitchen.

How will it fit in with Your Kitchen?

Do you want it to be built into your cabinets, fitted under the worktop with a stove on top, will a single suffice or are you looking for a double? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer as every homeowner has their own requirements and limitations. So whether you’re going for a like-for-like replacement or having a complete re-fit, take a look at the sizes, shapes and options that are on offer.

Then of course you might fancy saving yourself some time and investing in a self-cleaning oven. At the click of a button, it will rinse away any excess grease and grime, leaving you with a (reasonably) clean interior. Now, as an oven cleaning company, you might expect us to be fully against any kind of automation; however, it is always a good idea to keep your cooker clean and free from the usual detritus – no matter how it is achieved. But, as effective as the mechanism is, it’s still far from perfect. So while you may be able to get away with reducing the frequency of thorough cleans, you won’t be able to eliminate them entirely. So be sure to bear that in mind before you make a purchase.

Value for Money

How about price then? After you’ve worked out the size, style and specification, you’ll need to have an idea of your budget. The cheapest models can be under £200, while at the top end you’re likely to be looking at four figures; however, there are plenty in between to choose from. By setting an upper limit, you can immediately eliminate or include a large number of models in an instant.

As with any major investment these days, it’s important that you seek customer and expert reviews. Occasionally they will highlight issues that aren’t made obvious in the manufacturer’s description and even make you aware of added benefits – such as good value for money or decent efficiency. There are a whole host of top brands creating a range of fantastic ovens, including Zanussi, Siemens, Hotpoint, Neff and Electrolux. While a big name isn’t always a guarantee of quality, you can usually be assured of decent ongoing service and readily available parts – at least in most cases.

Flying the Flag

Of course the aforementioned manufacturers are all fine and good in their own right; however, each one is missing one vital element – British heritage. For those that like to fly the flag in their kitchen, only an oven that has been designed and built in the UK will do. So if you’re a patriotic baker and want to enjoy the best of British, look out for products from the likes of Stoves, New World and Belling. It’s great quality from a name that you know you can trust.

So work out what you need, what you can afford and where it can fit in before you part with any cash. A keen amateur baker may have entirely different requirements to a trendy couple looking to bring a little glamour to their kitchen, so no two consumers are the same. As long as you continue to maintain and clean it regularly, then there’s no reason why your new oven shouldn’t last for many years to come.

Of course if you’ve recently purchased an oven or have had your own experiences in the past, be sure to share them below or on our Facebook page. Whether serious, useful, funny or awful, we’d certainly love to hear from you.

Happy baking.

Images sourced from Flickr: Image 1, Image 2 and Image 3