After 5 good years, it’s time to say goodbye to my beloved oven. It has been a good run. When shopping for a new oven and considering my passion for bread baking I was wondering: Which oven is better for this purpose. Electric or Gas? After much research, this is what I have found. For baking bread, the best oven is the one you know best. Honestly, it comes down to how well you know your oven and it’s characteristics. Heat distribution, humidity, temperature. Cost is also a factor. Below I have compiled comparisons between gas and electric ovens that will help you decide which one you will prefer. There is no right or wrong answer. Just your preference.
Before we dive into the numbers I will say this: I know that deciding which oven to buy is not an easy decision and not one that is taken lightly. If you’re stuck without an oven completely, you can cheer up, your baking days can be continued undisturbed by baking in a Toaster Oven (assuming you have one). Baking in a Toaster Oven is challenging but in this post, I have gathered great tips that will bring you amazing results. You’re welcome to check it out until you decide on the “real thing”.
What’s the difference between an Electric Oven to a Gas Oven
The key factors are in the table below. For more information feel free to scroll down.
|Heat||Bakes evenly. Temperature does not drop during the baking process||Has cold and hot spots. More difficult to reach an even bake.|
|Temperature||Usually accurate||Better rely on a thermometer|
|Humidity||Dry heat, less humdity||A more humid baking environment|
|Cost||More expensive to buy, more expensive bills||Gas is usually cheaper than electricity ( read below for a more detailed look at these costs)|
Let’s expand on this.
Electric ovens take longer to reach the required baking temperature. It means you need to preheat the oven prior to the time the recipe requires. However, one of the good things about baking bread in an electric oven is the fact that the temperature does not fluctuate during mid-bake. The electric oven maintains a consistent heat throughout. Due to the energy source ( electricity ), you can be sure your bread will be baked evenly at all times. In gas ovens, the gas ignition can cause uneven temperature and therefore uneven bake. The last thing you want is a bread baking in an oven that the temperatures keep fluctuating causing a soft crust, or bad rise. The electric oven is great for baking. Its dry heat will help produce the bread to be crisp and golden brown BUT make sure your bread does not get too burned ( that’s where tin foil comes to the rescue ).
Gas ovens heat up quickly unlike their electric counterparts but they tend to have hot and cold(er) spots, making it more difficult to get an even bake. To top that the main heat comes from the bottom of the oven that can cause the base of the bread to burn if not using convection to spread the heat evenly which can help in this situation. Another way around this issue is to rotate the bread around in the oven so it can get even exposure to all the hot spots equally. This way you can avoid a half tanned bread and other baking catastrophe’s.
In general, every oven has some problem in temperature accuracy but usually electric ovens are more accurate than gas ovens and usually will be off about 5 degrees from your thermostat display on the oven. Another thing to consider is the source of energy and how it can benefit your baking. Electricity is very reliable in the seance that there will be fewer temperature drops during baking and less thermostat use.
Gas ovens heat up very quickly but their temperature stability can be quite fluid at times. As previously mentioned the gas ignition can cause uneven temperature and therefore an uneven bake. It is recommended using a thermometer (external baking thermometer ) to make sure your desired temperature hasn’t gotten away from you.
As previously mentioned, gas ovens supply dry heat which is great for baking crispy bread but the lack of moisture (there is no water vapor from the gas ignition) can have its problems especially when making bread. To tackle the lack of desired moisture you will need to be a little creative and luckily there are many methods to add a bit of moisture in your oven, such as baking in a dutch oven which keeps the moisture in the pot, use a water spritzer during the baking process, add a pan of water at the bottom of the oven. Each of these methods will do the trick.
One of the benefits of gas ovens in regards to bread baking is the humidity level. A more humid baking environment is important for the baking process and helps in preventing crust from becoming too dry and hard.
Electric baking ovens are considered cheaper to buy and install and therefore control most of the market but in the long term are
Gas ovens are considered more expensive to buy and install (often you need to install a gas point which makes installation more expensive ) but over time they are more economical and efficient due to cheap gas bills.
NOTE: Before you consider which oven to purchase based on cost alone it is worth to mention that the energy market is constantly changing, Solar home farms are changing the landscape and at any given time this data may change. So if you do use solar panels your electricity bills might be lower than usual and the electric ovens may be more the more economical choice for you.
Top Tips for Baking in an Electric or Gas Oven.
In baking like in life, you need to really get to know your oven to get the best results. Think of your oven like a new friend. In the beginning, there might be some misunderstanding between you two but as you get to know each other it just keeps getting better and better. So without further ado here are some great tips.
5 Top Tips for baking in a Gas Oven:
- Use a stone surface in your oven for an even bake. A baking stone can help you avoid a gas oven biggest downside – heat distribution that doesn’t supply an even bake. A baking stone can easily balance out this problem by providing constant heat at high intensity in a way that will bypass the hot and cold spots in the oven.
- Avoid hot spots by rotating your bread. As previously mentioned. Gas ovens tend to have hot and cold spots. If you leave the bread in the same position for the entire bake you may find that all your hard work has been wasted and that your bread has burned in some spots and has not baked enough in others. The solution? rotate your bread at least twice during your bake.
- Want crispy bread? Turn up the heat. The humidity in a gas oven can stand between you and your crispy bread. To get the crispy bread you desire you should turn up the heat by around 25 degrees Fahrenheit ( from the regular temperature you would bake at ) This will shorten the baking time you are used to so make sure to be attentive to your bread.
- Use bright colors for your bakeware. This is simple physics. In a gas oven the heat projections from a gas burner is intense and can cause the bottom of your bread to bake quicker and burn before the rest of the bread has a chance to bake properly. Glass or silicone bakeware will absorb less heat and the chances of burning the bottom of your bread will reduce dramatically. So try to avoid using dark color bakeware which absorbs more heat and speeds up the baking process and increase the chance of burning the bottom of your bread.
- Bake at the top shelf of the over for golden results. Gas ovens have an advantage over electric ovens in the field of humidity. Humidity is important for baking bread but can be a factor that causes the bake to be slower. This means that in order to get a beautiful golden loaf (especially at the top of the bread ) you risk overbaking the bread. The solution is to bake the bread at the top shelf of the oven to get a nice golden crust. Like any solution, it is not completely perfect and is recommended to keep a close eye on your bread to make sure it does not burn.
5 Top Tips for baking in an Electric Oven:
- Steam up your bread. Electric ovens tend to have a dry environment. This can cause your bread not to rise properly. There are two ways to combat this issue and help the rising process. Either use a spray bottle and spritz some water into the oven to create that moister you need ( open the door ever so slightly when spraying ) or simply pour some water into an empty pan at the bottom of the oven. This should do the trick.
- Cover your dough with foil. An electric oven can be too good for its own sake and can over brown your bread. Using foil to cover your bread in the later stages of baking will still allow air and heat circulation but will protect the top of the bread from burning.
- Preheat your oven. An electric oven warms up relatively slower than a gas oven. It is recommended to turn up the oven and start the preheating process sooner than you would with a gas oven. It is super critical to have the oven in the right temperature before placing your dough in the oven. Use an external thermometer to be sure you have the desired temperature before you start baking.
- Location Location Location. Be sure to bake your bread in the middle shelf of your electric oven. This will ensure an even bake from the top and bottom. Also, rotate your bread at least once to ensure an even bake all around.
- Pick the right bakeware. If baking bread in a pan or bakeware and you want your bread brown on the sides make sure to use metal pans/bakeware to get this result Avoid glass, ceramic or silicone as they tend to have a cooler surface and will brown the sides slower thus creating the top of your bread to brown more quickly and you will not have that even bake you desire.
in the end, the choice between a gas or electric oven is built mainly on personal preference. How do you like to bake? on a baking pan? on a stone surface? in bakeware? What is your budget?
I personally prefer a gas oven as this is what I always used in my bakery. Gas ovens heat up quickly, the bills are cheaper and I like the way my bread brown in a gas oven. It feels closer to the “real thing” (FIRE).