Today a dozen bakers will grace our screens as part of the sixth series of the BBC’s The Great British Bake Off – and each will attempt to impress Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood with perfectly risen sponges.
Whether you’re a keen baker, or your cake making is reserved for special occasions only, you’ll want the results to be impressive. But even if you measure your quantities meticulously and beat, stir and fold to perfection, the outcome will be a let-down if your oven is unreliable.
What makes a Best Buy oven
Which? has been testing ovens for decades, which has given us an unrivalled insight into what you need to look out for when making that important purchase.
Each oven we report on has been rigorously tested by experts at our Which? test lab. If an oven scores outstandingly, it will become a Best Buy – which means you can rely on it to assist, rather than thwart, your attempts at great cooking creations.
When we test ovens, whether built-in ovens or ones that are part of a freestanding or range cooker, we make three crucial assessments:
- Does the oven heat up quickly? Some ovens take barely four minutes to reach 180°C, while others will keep you waiting for nearly three times as long.
- Does it heat up to the temperature it says on the thermostat and stay there? You’d assume an oven would do this, but we’ve found some that veer wildly away from the set temperature, by 30°C and more, which could leave your cake burnt on top and uncooked in the middle.
- Is the temperature consistent throughout the oven cavity? Many ovens have hot and cold spots which lead to uneven cooking. The last thing you’ll want to do is open the oven door half way through to shift your cake – a sure-fire way of reducing the rise.
Find out which ovens excelled in these tests in our Best Buy freestanding cookers, Best Buy built-in ovens and Best Buy range cookers.
How we bake-off in our oven tests
As well as these essential measurements, we also bake in the ovens we test. And while we don’t go in for Bake-Off-style fancy showstoppers or tricky technical challenges, we do make sponge cakes and shortbread to check that each oven can really come up with well-baked goods. Sunken cakes and patchy shortbread get the thumbs down from our Mary and Paul equivalents at the Which? test lab.
Only those that excel at doing what an oven should, become Which? Best Buys.
- Discover the most reliable oven brands
- Browse our stand mixer reviews
- Build your Bake Off kitchen with our top 10 baker’s buys