August 14, 2007

Gaggenau BL 253 Lift Oven

Lift Oven

I’ll say this about Gaggenau’s new Lift Oven design: it looks cool. At the touch of a button, the bottom of the oven descends to enable you to add or remove items—a clever solution to the problem I’ve frequently encountered of the oven door getting in the way, particularly in cramped kitchens. This design could plausibly prevent some charred forearms, and in that sense I think it’s marvelous. Plus, you know, many bonus points for the geek factor.

Since this oven isn’t actually shipping yet and I haven’t seen one in person, I can’t say how great the real-life experience of using it will be. But a couple of things give me pause.

First, there’s this statement: “Since heat rises, the heat remains in the oven cavity, resulting in minimal energy loss during the lift operation.” I’m not sure I find that entirely convincing—but I suppose it depends where the heat is coming from. This oven has 11 heating methods, presumably some of which involve the heat coming from below. In those cases, I have a hard time seeing how this oven would lose less heat when the bottom is completely extended than a conventional oven with the door open. Notwithstanding the fact that heat rises, that hot air has to be contained somehow, and three walls would seem to do a better job of that than one. Still, when the heat is coming from above or from the sides, I can imagine this design would work quite well.

Second, the picture shows rolls being placed directly on the floured bottom surface of the oven—not on a baking sheet or rack of any kind. OK, great that you don’t have to clean one more thing, but…won’t that surface get, you know, hot? Won’t that be sort of hard to work with, particularly when you’re doing multiple batches of baking? Of course, you don’t have to bake directly on that bottom (ceramic) surface. Grill shelves, baking trays, and grill trays are available as accessories. You can attach these optional shelves at various heights (on those two round metal supports in the back), and up to two of them can fit at once (so you can bake on two separate racks at once, or grill something on an upper wire grill shelf while using a lower tray to catch drippings). But still…I have to wonder if this will be as convenient to use as all the technology suggests.

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