Top positive review
160 people found this helpful
on April 3, 2011
I purchased the Smart Oven after watching the review on Cook's Illustrated. They
mentioned all of the positive features plus the price of the unit so I was not shocked when I went looking for the best price.
There are some excellent reviews here so I will touch on a few things that I have noticed over the short time I have had the unit.
I would suggest you purchase the cutting board and if you like to bake bread and make pizzas then the pizza stone is a well worth addition.
We have used the oven for baking artisan breads, pizzas, broiling open faced sandwiches, and of course toast. All with outstanding results.
Some features to note:
1. When opening the door when you have it in the middle rack, do it slowly, otherwise you could wind up with whatever you are making slide out. I did this with the pizza the first time, thinking it would simply stay put but it slid out too quickly. They tell you to open the door slowly in the directions!
2. The oven does get hot when in use, but it is mostly on the top. This is great for heating plates or leaving your cutting board on top to prevent you from touching the top. There is very little heat around the sides, front, or back to cause any concern. We have a few plastic cutting boards standing against the wall near the oven, 5 inches away and it is not a concern.
3. The pizza stone heats up very quickly, they mention 15 minutes which is very fast compared to the Emile Henry Pizza Stone that we use in the main oven. It requires 45 minutes of pre heating. Hint to the Emile Henry company, please make a 13" stone with the special glazing for the Breville Oven.
4. When making bread or pizza using the stone we found it much simpler to use parchment paper than corn meal. Placing a loaf of artisan bread (we have tried three of the recipes in the Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a Day) on top of the pizza stone is not a problem, however pizza can be a different matter. We solved this problem by purchasing a 10 inch round cake lifter. Place the parchment paper on the metal lifter, built your pizza, then slide it onto the preheated stone. Nothing falls away and it can be done quickly and no mess.
5. When your pizza or bread is 3/4 finished, open the oven and remove the parchment paper, this way you get the nice brown crisp finish on your pizza or bread.
6. When making open faced sandwiches I would suggest setting the broil setting to 400 degree's instead of 500. The first time I broiled brochetta with salsa and cheese on top of the bread, it made a mess on the broiler plate. After than I used parchment paper at the 500 degree setting and the paper went very brown. Sandwich was great but I was concerned, after than, 400 degree setting. It takes slightly longer but parchment paper does not brown.
7. There is a large crumb tray that opens up at the bottom. I find this an excellent design. You can simply remove it, and clean it up after each time you use your oven. Makes it easy to keep your oven spotless.
8. When baking bread I find the oven heats up quicker, and since it is a smaller unit bakes the bread slightly quicker than a regular oven. It is very easy to test doneness by inserting a thermapen in the bottom of the bread (artisan) and see if your temperature is between 205 - 210.
9. The controls to set the oven are very easy and they go over each one very well in the manual. I would have liked to see the broil setting adjust in 50 degree amounts instead of the 100 (wanted to broil at 450) but that is a small feature I would have liked to see.
10. As mentioned by many reviewers, toasting is outstanding whether you have one slice or 6, but it does take longer than you might except.
11. You can place a full size bread pan in the oven as well as change the position of the rack if you want to place the pizza under the broiler for a short time. Breville designed the oven so you can place the 13 inch plate or pizza stone in all three slots.
I purchased our unit at Amazon for $249. with free shipping and a week later it was on sale for $199.95 at our local Home Outfitters!
Accessories to purchase should you wish:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000VLJ8G You can also get quarter sheets as well.
Bread, Cake, and Pizza lifter:
I have not purchased the perforated 13 inch pizza sheet, so if anyone has any input on this I would appreciate any feedback.
I know this review is a bit long, but I wanted to touch on a few of the features that I thought about to supplement all the excellent reviews on this product.