Five smart ovens to make cooking fun
Appliances aren't just space-eating monsters anymore. In fact, they are starting to become one of the most valuable assets in the kitchen.
Washing machines are getting smarter, letting you know when a cycle has finished. Fridges are becoming more advanced, with some connecting to your Wi-Fi network. And dishwashers are beginning to be quieter and quicker. But it is in the cooking territory where things are really starting to heat up. Literally.
Unfortunately, there are no ovens that will produce a Michelin Star meal without you having to lift a finger or know a little about cooking, but there are a few ovens that give a hint as to the future of cooking and how it will be more fun.
Samsung Smart Oven MC32F606TCT
The Samsung Smart Oven is a combination microwave that comes with the ability to make fresh dough and yoghurt, as well as help you have healthy fried food. Yes, we did just use the words healthy and fried in the same sentence.
The Slim Fry technology combines a grill and warm air circulation to give you crispy chips with only a tablespoon of oil, a bit like a Tefal ActiFry or Philips Airfryer. The clever oven also has a Smart Multi-Sensor to read a food's temperature every second in order to figure out which cooking stages have been completed, making sure you don't under or over-cook anything.
In terms of numbers, the Samsung Smart Oven has a 32-litre capacity, an LED display, maximum power microwave output of 900W and it measures 309 x 523 x 506mm. To be honest though, we were sold at the idea of healthy chips.
Breville BOV800XL Toaster Oven
Like Samsung, Breville also offer a countertop smart oven which comes in the form of the BOV800XL Toaster Oven that will roast meat, cook pizza, bake cookies and, as the name suggests, grill up to six pieces of toast, among other things.
It's double the wattage of the Samsung at 1800W and Breville claims it "does the thinking for you", which is always useful if you are someone who doesn't cook often.
This smart oven will automatically adjust the heating elements to make sure you get an exact cooking process each time and there are nine menu functions that will give you the ideal temperature and cooking time. It will also remember them for next time.
It was the cookies that got our ears up this time though.
PRICE: $249.99 (around £150)
AVAILABILITY: Amazon US.
GE Profile Series 30"
GE Appliances moves into the built-in arena of cooking with its Profile Series 30" built-in double convection wall oven (PT9550SFSS) that not only claims to bake evenly, meaning perfect cakes, but users can also wirelessly control it from their smartphone using the company's Brillion technology.
You'll be able to pre-heat the oven, change the temperature, set the timer and check timer status remotely from your smartphone and this clever oven also cleans itself, which is always a bonus.
The control panel is by no means simple with a mammoth of buttons offering a range of features and functions, as well as a large LED display, but there is also a strip LED notification light under the panel that syncs with the timer so you'll be able to see quickly when your food is ready or how long you have left to wait.
PRICE: $3,799 (around £2,250)
AVAILABILITY: GE Appliances (US only).
LG Smart ThinQ
LG's Smart ThinQ range has a number of appliances within it, one of which is an electric single range oven with infrared grill (LRE3027ST) that can be controlled using the LG cooking management app on your smartphone.
You'll be able to set precise temperature control, monitor the self-cleaning feature and see what is going on from your smartphone so you'll know if someone has been nice enough to cook you dinner.
Just like the GE Profile oven, the control panel is a beast with a number of buttons and options but it's easy to navigate with the left side managing the cook top and the right side controlling the oven functions. And there is a scrolling display.
If you have the Smart ThinQ fridge too, you're in for a treat as you can also send a recipe from it to your oven – clever right?
PRICE: $1,399.99 (around £830)
AVAILABILITY: LG (US Only).
Dacor Discovery IQ Smart Oven
If money is no object, Dacor's Discover IQ smart oven, announced during CES at the beginning of the year, offers the ability to text you when your food is ready to eat.
There are single and double oven options available and all you have to do to call yourself a chef is pop the food into the cavity, close the door and select the recipe from the display menu. Alternatively, you can download one online.
With Wi-Fi connectivity on board, you can control and monitor the oven from your smartphone or tablet through the Discovery IQ app, which will let you perform tasks like preheat the oven or find out the temperature of cooking meat, for example.
PRICE: From $4,500 (around £2,675)
AVAILABILITY: Dacor (US Only).
Although many of these ovens are limited in availability or pretty expensive, we like the idea of cooking becoming easier in the future and by the looks of things, more fun too. Fingers crossed we see some of these on UK turf soon. Preferably with a drop in price.