Combining a fan and exhaust system with traditional heating elements, convection ovens enable faster and more even cooking, allowing you to prepare better-tasting meals in considerably less time. That same improved functionality have made convection ovens more versatile, equipping them with the ability to cook dishes well beyond what traditional ovens can typically do.
No, you still can’t cook everything on a single countertop convection oven. However, having a model like the Breville Smart Oven Air can easily expand your cooking options without taking all that much space in your kitchen counter.
To the unfamiliar, Breville’s line of Smart Ovens has been among the most popular convection-equipped ovens in the market in recent years, with plenty of folks finding a whole lot to love in its sturdy build, versatile function, and smartly-designed heating elements. Simply put, if you held a survey of what countertop ovens people had in their kitchens right now, there’s a good chance this particular line will end up somewhere near the top of the results.
The Smart Oven Air is the latest model to roll out of Breville’s line, bringing with it the same generous cooking area, energy-efficient cooking, and intuitive controls that characterized previous iterations of the appliance. This time around, it’s expanding the oven’s cooking capabilities, adding air-frying, dehydrating, and even proofing dough to the available preset functions.
That’s right, no more trawling through YouTube to find videos of raising dough and making jerky on an oven – just place your food items, turn the knob, and let it do its thing. What’s really more impressive is the air-frying function, which allows you to use it to crisp French fries, onion rings, and prawn tempuras evenly in place of a dedicated air-frying appliance. Seriously, a convention oven that can brown erstwhile deep-fried food to a delicious crisp – it’s pretty wild.
According to Breville, the air-frying was made possible by a new fan design, which maximizes airflow inside the cooking area. When combined with high heat, the pairing enables the unique crisping function that really sets it apart from other similar appliances in the market.
A proper replacement for a large oven, this countertop unit comes with a generously-sized interior that measures 16 x 12 x 7 inches, allowing you to cook large chunks of meat without any problem. With eight different rack positions, it can accommodate a wide range of food items, too, giving you a chance to cook efficiently, whether you want to cook pizza, bake muffins, or make your breakfast toast.
Like previous models in the line, the Smart Oven Air comes with Breville’s Element IQ technology, which adjusts heat on the fly to ensure the interior temperature is level throughout the entire cooking period. And, yes, that’s the whole reason they call the oven “smart,” rather than the usual connectivity most modern devices employ to justify a “smart” billing.
Do note, this thing gets hot on the top and sides (not surprising, since it legitimately reaches 480 degrees Fahrenheit inside), so make sure to steer clear of the oven while it performs its cooking functions. On a more positive note, that hot top panel makes it ideal for heating serving plates or warming leftovers, so you can get a side job done while baking, roasting, or making pizza in the main compartment.
Since some former customers have cited previous models’ propensity for overheating, Breville has added a cooling fan to circulate some air onto the sensitive electronics. Yes, that means this is going to be even louder than conventional convection ovens due to the additional fan, although being able to prevent overheating should also help prolong the appliance’s lifespan.
As we said above, the updated oven comes with a baker’s dozen cooking presets, so you can accomplish a wide variety of cooking tasks with minimal effort and supervision. To give you a clearer idea of how you can use this thing, we’ll list down and discuss every single one of them:
Bake – From cookies and muffins to bread and cake, the Breville Smart Oven Air can do a swell job with all your kitchen baking needs. Use this setting, which puts the convection function in the background, for making cakes, soufflés, and custards. No need to turn the fan off manually or engage in trial-and-error as you would with a regular convection oven.
Cookies – Basically, the same as “bake” with the air-circulating fans out in full force.
Roast – With its spacious cooking interior, this oven can accommodate up to 14-pound turkeys without touching the heating elements on top, opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to the size of meat and fish you can roast in it. From burgers and salmon to lamb chops and prime ribs, you should be able to rely on this for all your indoor meat-scorching duties.
Broil – This setting is, basically, roasting with only the top heating elements turned on. Use it for tender cuts of meat, like steaks and pork chops.
Toast – With two removable racks inside, Breville claims the Smart Oven Air can toast up to nine slices of bread in one go. Yes, we have no idea where the extra slice will go on either, assuming each rack gets four slices, but the product page clearly says it can do nine, so we’ll take their word for it.
Bagel – This is, basically, similar to the toast setting, but with the temperature more precisely adjusted for a bagel’s thicker and fluffier frame.
Warm – This low-heat setting is great for defrosting food, as well as heating leftovers for those days you’d rather not cook. Use it any time you want to warm a dish without cooking it again.
Reheat – Same as warm, albeit with a little higher temperature.
Pizza – You don’t have to be a ninja turtle to appreciate a delicious home-cooked pizza and this thing comes with a 13-inch pizza pan just for that purpose. And, yes, you can fill every inch of that pan with delicious cheese-covered goodness.
Air fry – Use this for any food item you’d normally fry, like French fries, onion rings, and whatever else tastes good scorched in oil while covered in batter. Do note, it won’t the same as actual deep-fried stuff, but it sure can crisp with a vengeance.
Proof – This simplifies the process of rising dough in an oven, giving you a specific setting you can go to every single time.
Dehydrate – Use this to easily dehydrate and spoil-proof any type of food, from fruits and vegetables to meat and fish (to zombies). It comes with a dehydration rack, by the way, so no need to stock up on any additional cookware.
Slow cook – Just put a pot of any dish you’d normally leave on a Crock-Pot and this thing can perform the slow-cooking function that leaves meat so tender it falls off the bone. Like dedicated slow-cookers, it comes with both high and low settings, with the latter prompting the oven to run for up to 10 hours.
Available now, the Breville Smart Oven Air is priced at $399.95.
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