Baking Made Easy With Smart Ovens

Ovens are really not an Asian thing — or at least they weren’t up until recently. The fundamentals of Asian cuisine have long made ovens an oddity in this part of the world; desserts are often simply fruit, sometimes soups, and breads are just as easily steamed as baked. And you don’t need an oven to make a good char siu. But as the world shrinks and people come and go, ovens have seen their profile rise. Everyone’s into a good cheesecake now, and there’s something fun about not going out to a restaurant to get it.

And so enter the oven, a staple of western kitchens, into the Hong Kong market. Toaster ovens abound, and in the full size version — including a stovetop — Brandt, German Pool, Whirlpool and Towngas all have models available in the SAR. But chefs can be picky beasts, and with that in mind, three new built-in stoves worth a look now come from German manufacturers Bauknecht, Siemens and Miele, and the retro cool French standalone Lacanche range (which has the burners) for serious gastronomes.

German engineering is no joke, and the same exacting details applied to cars are also applied to kitchen hardware. Siemens’ new TFT (thin-film transistor, the same swiping tech on iPhones) series includes items in combination of oven, steam oven and microwave. The TFTs have an easy reading clear text HD display for multiple function information, Siemens’ own softClose doors and activeClean features and a meat probe for perfect cooking are among other perks. The new oven has a capacity of 65 litres and includes up to 70 automatic programmes (depending on your model).

From Miele, the new glass-heavy PureLine series includes kitchen appliances ranging from ovens to coffee makers designed with integration with contemporary kitchens in mind. The pieces are meant to work together through an intuitive M-Touch interface, also a smart phone-type experience. The new Combi-Steamer is, as the name suggests, a dual oven and steamer boasting a 68-litre capacity equipped with Miele’s now standard Moisture Plus technology to ensure the days of shoe leather roast beef is a thing of the past.

Bauknecht may not be a name on everyone’s lips, but the home appliance supplier makes a line of high tech, stylish kitchen gear. Kosmos, manufactured in Europe, comes in a variety of configurations, but the top end PureClean oven (whose specifically designed enamel coating and programme make clean-up easy and chemical-free) boasts touch controls wrapped inside a massive, 73-litre elegantly designed unit with integrated handles. But the most attention-grabbing feature may be its Intelligent Heating optimised air circulation concept, which eliminates the need for pre-heating, can save up to 26 percent of cooking time and 20 percent of required energy.

Finally, Lacanche’s ranges are among the sexiest in the world. Available in a variety of colours, in electric or gas and configurable to suit individual needs and sizes, the Lacanches are the Ferraris of ovens. Depending on the model you choose, there could be up to six burners, two baking ovens, warming ovens, grills and induction rings. Lacanche also has Ferrari prices running upwards of €15,000 (HK$160,000). It is for the more traditional among us, with no programmable gadgets, and relies on stalwart cooking techniques such as smoke to indicate something is burning. Instant noodle chefs need not apply.