Rainy Day Musings on New Oven Woes

Rainy red

Well, here it is. The post you’ve all been waiting for—an update on the workings of the oven in my new electric stove. I wish I had good news to report, but I do not.

A week or so ago, two men from Dave’s Appliance came to test the oven. As far as their readings were concerned, nothing was amiss, but they turned down the oven’s electronic setting by ten degrees. In talking with them, we also learned several facts.

First, our complaint is not uncommon, and they have had to go many homes with new electric stoves. One irate customer even produced a burnt loaf of banana bread as proof of her oven’s erratic temperature. Second, new ovens don’t heat the way they once did. In the old days, say the 1990s, the temperature was controlled by a mercury thermostat. We all know that mercury is toxic, but it sure did a good job of regulating an oven’s temperature. Nowadays, ovens use an electronic-based thermostat, and at least in low to mid-priced stoves, these thermostats have huge swings where they overshoot the temperature by a lot and then cool back down. (Hence burnt banana bread and cookies.) To make matters even worse, the oven announces it is up to temperature when in fact it isn’t. The men from Dave’s recommend preheating the oven for twenty minutes.

The final cherry on the sundae is that the men from Dave’s told us that we could spend three times what we spent on our stove and still have the same problem. After they left, Clif did some research online, and the information he found confirmed what we had been told.

Clif turned our oven’s setting down another twenty degrees, and I made a batch of biscuits to test the new settings. Now, I am rather proud of my biscuit-making abilities. Usually, they are light and fluffy through and through. However, with the new oven, even with the lower settings, the bottoms were not burnt, but they were hard and crunchy, not what I want for biscuits.

Yesterday, I spoke with the folks at Dave’s and told them about my oven woes. I was assured that I could return the stove and just pay the difference if we bought a more expensive one. However, because of what we have learned about modern ovens, I am reluctant to do this. We could spend more and still have the same problem.

So here is what we are considering—a large convection toaster oven, one big enough for pies and pizza and even a 9 x 11 pan. My daughter has a toaster oven she swears by, and she sent me a link to Bon Appétit’s glowing review of a Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Convection Oven (model #31126). According to Bon Appetit, the Hamilton Beach is not only very affordable—$70—but bakes like a champ. And at the little house in the big woods, we do a lot of baking.

In retrospect, I’m not sure what we would have done if we had known ahead of time about the foibles of low-to-mid-range priced modern electric ovens.  Waited until we had enough money for a much more expensive one? Installed a gas stove, which has a more responsive heat?  (Unfortunately, we would have to pay a significant fee to have it hooked up, and we have a budget as big as a minute.)  Held on to the old one, keeping our fingers crossed that the door didn’t just give out entirely in the middle of a batch of cookies?

Here is a lesson we have definitely learned: The next time we buy an appliance, we will be sure to research the hell out of what we are buying.  We will not assume that the new model will be as good as the old model, even though it is from the same manufacturer. (Our old stove was a Whirlpool, our new stove is a Whirlpool, and Clif feels as though we’ve been sucked down a whirlpool.)

Onward and upward!


25 thoughts on “Rainy Day Musings on New Oven Woes”

  1. Sorry for your difficulties with the new stove………..I understand some of the problems with new appliances……….too complicated to relate here………….I still prefer electric for a stove!

  2. I hear you! We have always put our trust in Sears, but our repairman says our Sears snowblower is poorly designed. You’re right in thinking much research needs to be done before buying anything that impacts the budget. Things are not what they appear to be or once were. More’s the pity. Good luck. XOXOOXOX

    1. So true, Burni. Once upon a time, we could just go to Dave’s and be sure that we would get a reliable appliance. Those days, it seems, are gone. Sigh.

  3. Thank you for sharing that information about modern ovens…I don’t have one and now feel it fortunate that I’ve saved myself some grief. Poor you. Once I baked at least four times a week and that was just cakes and cookies, plus meals. Now I don’t bake 🙂

    1. Yes, yes! Fortunately, the new oven does a fairly good job baking bread, which is a staple in our house. But still!

  4. Glad to know this…our electric stove is probably from the eighties (remember harvest gold?) and though I don’t bake as much as you, I think I’ll be keeping it until the bitter end. We have a ‘vintage’ Sharp microwave/convection oven and I loved the combo feature until the convection aspect died. It made the best poultry, tender inside/crispy outside in about 1/3 the time. Convection ovens really do the best baking. I’m sure you’ll love the HB.

    1. Eliza, hold on to that stove as long as you can. Thanks for the tip about convection ovens. Your comment has pretty much sealed our decision to buy a convection toaster oven.

      1. We ordered one today, a little bigger model than the one I shared the link for. As soon as it gets here, it will be tested lickety-split for biscuits and cookies. I’ll keep you posted.

      2. Yes, it would be lovely if you could taste the biscuits and gingersnaps I’ll be making just as soon as the new oven is hooked up.

      1. I suppose I do. But the problem is, I haven’t the faintest idea what to replace it with, from Dave’s or anywhere else. Several of the other comments on this post reinforce the sad truth that in the U.S., at least, stoves just aren’t what they used to be.

  5. I had to replace my oven last year and I’ve been having the same problems. The top burners on mine are awful too… Way too hot , seems there’s no low settings that hold. I’m going to look into that toaster oven. Thanks, Laurie. Good luck

    1. Cynthia, today we ordered a large convection toaster oven. I will be testing it as soon as we get it hooked up, and I will definitely let everyone know how my biscuits and cookies turn out. It really is a sorry state of affairs when you can’t find an oven that will bake the way it is supposed to.

  6. In the past five years, we have had several problems with brand new appliances–and we thought that we had done our homework. They just don’t make them like they used to, you know!!!

    1. Son of a biscuit, what a sorry state of affairs! Loved our old stove. But after twenty years of heavy use, it was on its last hinges. Literally.

  7. 😦 Now that stinks. We bought a Jenn-air when we moved here about eight years ago. I know at the time we paid more for that brand but we had their appliances before and knew they were good. It is electric and has the option to bake or convection bake. I only use the convection because it works so well. I put two loaves of cranberry bread in this week at the same time and thought maybe it would take longer but they were both ready in the same amount of time as one. I just don’t think they make appliances to last any more. It is more like the cell phones and the computers – a couple of years maybe and then you’re suppose to trade them in for news ones and toss the old ones out. Be sure to let us know if you buy the convection oven and how it works. Here’s hoping it does the job for you. Maybe Dave’s could modify your current oven so the new one will fit inside and you don’t have to give up counter space since they know about these issues and keep selling them. In my dreams, right? 🙂

    1. Thanks, Judy! I’ll keep you posted. Yesterday, we order a stand-alone convection oven.

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