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My old oven a, Creda fan assisted oven was on it's last legs, it was 14 years old, I knew this because I had a fruit cake to cook for a friend, a 10 " square cake. I set the timer to come on about 3 am so it would be getting ready mid morning when I got up. It was burnt black. Start again. The next one, I put in the oven and went out for 1 hour and came back and oh no, not again, it was burnt again. Now a 10" fruit cake does not cook that fast. It was only on at 90 degrees, it should of taken at least 6 hours.
So not willing to waste any more time on an oven that was burning things and dropping to bits ( the grill heat bars were held up with metal s bands over the stay clean sides) I decided to say to hell with it and get a new oven. My reasoning was that ovens today aren't meant to last 30 years and still be better than the modern ones as my mum said at the time. So here were go:-
Hotpoint Built in Double Oven BD32
A built in double oven, conventional oven/grill at the top and fan assisted oven below. The doors are hinged to open at the bottom opening like a flat drop down door. I wasn't sure about the doors opening this way at first but having got used to them, I find them useful now as I can use them a bit like a spare shelf whilst getting things in and out of the oven.
Both the top oven/grill and main oven have lights which illuminate when in use and bulbs are replaceable when blown.
Dimensions of the oven itself :
Height - 887 mm
Width - 597 mm
Depth - 577 mm
This is the part that I find the most benefit over my old oven that was a single oven only with grill above. It is the first time since leaving home that I have had a normal conventional oven, not fan assisted. I can now bake cakes without them cracking in the middle. I have spent the last 12 years thinking it was how I made cakes that was the problem, now I know that fan ovens were to blame.
As you may guess, I use the top oven mainly for baking and my buns and cakes no longer come out like an Everest peak but a perfectly risen smooth top cake any mother would be proud off.
It is not the largest of conventional ovens as it is the top part of a double oven. It is approx 18" x 7" x 17". I use the middle shelf when baking in the top oven although it would depend on what you are cooking. For jacket potatoes for example, I am sure it wouldn't matter too much where you have the shelf. I may be wrong on this, due to lack of experience with a conventional oven, I normally only use it for baking those fattening cakes and buns, leaving the main of my cooking for the slightly quicker fan oven below.
The grill can be set using all of the grill or only half, the left hand side comes on when using only half. I find this really useful if grilling only for myself.
There are 3 different shelf heights for the grill, I find the top shelf ideal for toast, bacon, sausages and other thin things like this. The middle shelf is better for grilling chops or grilling a bit slower. I have never used the lowest shelf as at nearly 5" away from the grill, I think it would be too far away.
The grill pan is a decent size at nearly 14" x 10" with a loose wire tray inside. The handle is fixed on permanently but it could be left loose and hooked on each time if desired.
There is also a removable plate which fits over the grill which is ideal when grilling food that spits, e.g bacon. It makes cleaning over the grill bars really easy and effortless.
*****Main Fan Oven*****
I decided on another Fan oven as that was all I had known since leaving home at the young age of 21. I still think I made the right choice as they are cook quicker and there is no fussing about which shelf to use. As the air is circulated by fan around the whole oven, you can fill the oven on all shelves quite happily and it will all cook the same. I do find though that it tends to cook quicker and burn first nearest the glass, this isn't too much of a problem though as I being aware of it, I simply turn things around occasionally.
As I said, fan assisted cooking is quicker, unfortunately, food manufactures haven't seemingly caught up with modern cooking and it is very rare that I am able to find instructions specific to fan ovens. They usually instruct you to 'reduce cooking time in accordance with the manufacturers guide' which isn't a lot of help really. Generally I find that I continue much the same, only reduce the amount of time by a few minutes.
I find that cooking things like Pork Crackling on a pork joint cooks better in a fan oven, the air seems to dry out the crackling better, delicious. Yorkshire puddings rise until they are nearly touching the next shelf, and jacket potatoes come out really creamy and moist.
The only thing I don't like fan ovens for is as mentioned above, and that is cakes and buns. I don't know why but they always come out like mountainous peaks and cracked in the centre. I always thought it was me until my mum got the same oven as I have how before me and she had the same results until cooking in her top conventional oven. When I needed a new oven, I by chance bought the same oven as my mother had, not that I was copying or anything, honest!
*Other functions of main oven*
The main oven has several other options as well as basic cooking:
Defrosting - You can set the oven to run the fan only defrosting frozen foods slowly. I have to say I have never tried this as I prefer to let nature take it's course and defrost naturally but it could be something I may consider in an unexpected 'emergency'.
You can set the oven to operate the light only although I don't know what advantage this would be if I was to use this.
Slow Cooking - You can use this function to keep food warm or warm plates without over heating them. I have used this occasionally and find it very useful for the warming plates if say hubby has been kind enough to go for a takeaway. The oven operates at about 90 degrees on this setting.
*****Electronic Clock and Timer*****
*Setting the Time*
The time is easily set by holding two buttons down together and then moving the time backwards or forwards by pressing another button. When you have the correct time, release all the buttons and that's it. Dead easy, even my husband could do this, well almost.
The time is then displayed brightly in the centre of the control panel.
*Auto Cooking Programmes*
I don't often use the auto cooking features as I am rarely away from home around tea-time unfortunately, (only joking) but I know it would be invaluable to anybody who is at work and wants to get tea starting before they get in. I know I used to use this feature on my old oven all the time when I was working before my family appeared.
There are two ways of setting the Auto Cooking Programmes:
---Cook period timing
You can set the amount of time you require the oven to cook for and then it will turn off afterwards. By being able to adjust what time the cooking period will end, you are also setting what time the oven will turn on. I hope that makes sense! You are saying that cooking will finish at 6pm after cooking for 2 hours therefore the oven will turn itself on at 4pm without you actually setting 4pm as the start time.
---Automatic On and Off Cooking
With this setting, you are setting a start time and a finish time during which the oven will turn on and operate at the temperature you have set. Assuming you remember to turn the temperature dial on that is! A mistake I have been known to make occasionally and have cursed when I've come home and the oven has never been on at all.
The minute minder can be used at any time of the day, like a stopwatch, great for things like timing eggs boiling. It is simple to operate, just one button to press and the minutes set and off it goes. It gives a clear bell ring when the time is up and then all you have to do is press the minute button again to cancel the timer.
*****Care and Cleaning*****
The sides are self cleaning which is a real blessing for me. They stay nice and clean and any splashes or residues are simply heated away. The floor of both ovens and roofs are however not self cleaning and do need cleaning from time to time.
The top oven/grill has the slide out panel for easy cleaning as described above.
The internal shelves also remove and are easily cleaned by all the usual oven cleaning products available.
The doors are very easy to keep clean, the inner glass is easily removed by means of undoing two screws. After cleaning the inner glass, you can then get to the outer glass easily from the hole where the inner glass was. When finished, just replace the glass and fasten back in with the screws. I have found this really useful as it is so easy to restore my oven back to it's original new from box look. The glass is marked on one side to ensure that you put it back in the correct way with the most heat resistant to the oven.
And obviously, there is the grill pan to clean out after use, something my husband has yet to master, but what the heck, I can't have it all.
Included was a pretty good instruction manual and a Quick start reference guide which also informed me how to set the Electronic Timer start up, or basically the clock.
The instruction manual covered everything I needed to know about my oven including the dimensions of the oven housing for installation. It covered
The main parts and use of my Double Oven
Temperature Conversion Chart
Oven Timer Operation
Grill Pan and Handle
Operation and guide for when using Top Oven for Grilling
Using the Top Oven as a Convection Oven
Cooking temperature charts
Using the Main Oven for Fan Cooking and Other functions
Care and Cleaning
If something goes wrong
Hotpoint Service Cover
There was also a basic Do's and Don't safety information section.
I have to admit to not reading the instructions through completely when I first got the oven and I have learnt a thing or two since reading it properly. That said, the only thing I really refer to now in the instructions is how to set the oven to come on automatically when I am out and need to start tea off before I get back. As it's something I do rarely, I can never remember how to do this and find myself digging the instructions out each time. For this reason alone, I would be lost without the instructions.
*****Ease of use*****
I have had this oven for over a year now and am very pleased with, I am able to keep it looking as new clean, and it is very easy to operate. I do find that I forget how to set the auto timer programmes from time to time as I don't use that feature that often, but the instruction book is easy to follow making it easy to set the timer quickly and easily.
I particularly like the slide out cleaning plate over the grill pan, you can imagine how much bacon fat gets splashed up there and I wash this every time I clean the grill pan out. I think if it were to be left longer, it would build up and be yucky to clean if not done regularly. You can appreciate how much yuck would be on the grill above the heat bars if not for this great invention.
*****My overall opinion*****
I would definitely recommend this oven, I find it reliable and efficient. The fact that I have in effect 3 main features here, a grill, a conventional oven and a fan oven makes it a really oven for me.
This is where I got a bit of laugh over my mum. At the time she was not into computers big time.
She bought hers from the local Curry's store and paid a whopping £549.99 whereas I searched online and bought mine from Robertson's Online. The price,,,,are you ready,
^^^ £384.00 ^^^
So as you can see, do shop around and compare prices, to say my mum was sick after I got mine was a bit of an understatement.
She now has a computer!!!
First written on Ciao under my other name, Craggsy23
Built In Electric Double Oven, Conventional Cooking in Top Oven, Variable Twin Grill, Circulaire Fan Cooking in Main Oven, Slow Cook Setting, Defrost Function, Programmable Timer, Easy Grip Control Knobs, Oven Lights, Fan Cooled Doors, Extra Large Viewing Windows, Catalytic Easy Clean Liners, 1 Shelf in Top Oven, 2 Shelves in Main Oven, Grill Pan with Grid, Roasting Tin, Top Oven A Energy Rated, Main Oven A Energy Rated / Short name: Hotpoint BD32