Range cooker features

When choosing a range cooker, aside from width, fuel type and aesthetic, features are a key consideration before you purchase. As you would expect range cookers are available with a huge variety of features – from multifunction ovens to catalytic liners. But what do they actually do?

Oven types

Range cookers are available with various oven types depending on the fuel type and specification. Gas cookers offer conventional ovens with a traditional temperature gradient – hotter at the top and cooling toward the bottom of the cavity.

Most electric and dual fuel range cookers offer either fanned or multifunction ovens. Fanned, as the name suggests, utilize a fan at the rear of the oven to spread the heat evenly throughout the cavity. Multifunction ovens allow the user to select a cooking method best suited to the dish being cooked – functions include conventional, fanned, top/bottom heat etc – and offer a greater degree of versatility then standard conventional or fanned ovens. A multifunction oven is usually available on mid range cookers upwards, and with increased specification usually comes an increase in the number of functions.

Oven liners

Standard oven liners require manual cleaning – generally considered to be something of a thankless task – as a result some range cookers, generally at the more expensive end of the spectrum, feature catalytic liners. Also referred to as Stayclean or Selfclean liners, catalytic liners are coated with micro-porous enamel and absorb the grease splashes during cooking. Catalytic liners work better at higher oven temperatures, so if you cook at lower temperatures it is worth leaving the oven on it’s highest setting for a further 15 minutes to allow the liners to work.

High-end range cookers sometimes feature a pyrolytic cleaning function – when selected, the oven door locks and the cavity is heated up to a very high temperature, reducing food residue to ash which can then be brushed out of the base when finished. Pyrolytic cleaning is a rare feature and can usually only be found on select high end cookers.
Chef Top

Again, usually found on mid to high end cookers, a chef top sits above an elongated burner on the hob. Manufactured from stainless steel plate it offers excellent heat transferal and is used to cook meat, fish and vegetables  – ideal for Eastern dishes, the chef top is also known as a Teppanyaki in Japanese restaurants. A chef top offers a healthy way to cook due to the low amount of oil used.

Wok Burners

Many range cookers offer a wok burner on the hob area, designed to offer enough power to cook at the extremely high temperatures required for wok cooking. Wok burners vary from brand to brand and are often double or triple ringed for responsiveness and controllability.

Rotisseries

Almost exclusively found on high end range cookers – notably a large number of Britannia models – a rotisserie offers a succulent way to cook pork, chicken and duck by rotating the meat and cooking it in its own juices using the grill element. Cooking by rotisserie

Is a cleaner alternative too, as fat and grease is collected in a tray at the base of the oven.

Telescopic Shelves

Utilising steel runners like a drawer, telescopic shelves let the user pull the food out from the oven or grill without supporting the tray, allowing for easier and safer inspection of food.

Timers – Automatic & Pre-Programmable

The majority of range cookers available will feature a timer – these vary from standard ‘set to off’ timers that require the cooker to be manually turned on, through to pre programmable timers that let you set the dish, the time you require it, and do the rest for you! Obviously the latter style of timer is found on more expensive models, and the majority of cookers will offer a halfway house and let you set an on/off time.

Fish Burner

Simply an elongated gas burner, a fish burner will offer the ability to poach a whole salmon, efficiently heat up a griddle or make gravy in a roasting tray.

Handyrack

A really useful feature offered by Rangemaster, the Handyrack is a shelf attached the main oven door, swinging out when the door is opened and facilitating easy and safe checking of the food being cooked.

Warming Zone

Again, a feature utilized successfully by Rangemaster on their wider models, the warming zone provides an area of the hob in which to keep food warm while completing the rest of the dish. It’s also ideal for keeping a coffee or tea pot warm too!