Paul, April 19, 2009
Still no bread baking this week.
However, we stumbled on a little extra tax-rebate cash and decided to finally upgrade the current “Burn-O-Matic” piece of poop GE oven we are putting up with. Went oven shopping and after much confusing sales pitches and questionable claims – “Oh, AccuTemp is much better than TruTemp” What? – we settled on a Whirlpool glasstop, convection with “SteamClean” and self-cleaning.
So I may be back to bread baking shortly! Woohoo!!
Went with white because A) all our other appliances are white and B) stainless and/or black is a bitch to keep clean. The designers who come up with these trendy styles are clearly not doing their own house cleaning. True, the white version isn’t as “sexy” as the stainless. But anyway…
So now the white stove is on order – it has to be ordered from Whirlpool since white just isn’t a popular choice any more. I also noted that if you WANTED a coil top, you’d be hard pressed to find a decent one that wasn’t just low-end. These days it’s glasstop or gas.
I’d have loved to get a duel fuel – gas top and electric oven, but that seems to be seriously elite and available only in the $2300+ range of ranges. Yeah, ok, so that isn’t quite in my budget.
So now we’ve ordered our spanking new quasi-fancy stove (relative to the $400 model we bought new 10 years back) and just need to wait for it to be delivered. In the meantime, I do the unthinkable: I keep looking stuff up on the itarweb AFTER we’ve bought it. Surprisingly, seems we actually got a very good deal. About $200 CND less than it is listed most anywhere, except Craigslist or kijili.
Now completely aside and likely unimportant to most anyone here: we may have a problem.
You see, we have a parrot. Parrots and toxic fumes are a deadly combination. (See this avian site for details.)
Teflon, or more specifically PTFE (polytetraflouethylene) coatings – Teflon® is just a brand name, like Silverstone® – is normally found in the coating of Self Cleaning ovens. This would seem to mean that not only is the SelfCleaning cycle verboten as this heats the oven to 900+ degrees for 2 to 4 hours to burn food bits to ashes, just normal use of the oven releases toxic fumes. Now this is what’s said on the intarweb and I’ve been trying to find some slightly more concrete evidence that it is or is not true.
Now we did get this particular because it also has a SteamClean feature. What’s “SteamClean” you ask? Well, you toss in 10 oz of water in the bottom of the oven (another plus: hidden coils) and it heats up the water for 20 minutes to steam off spatters and spills. Much lower electricity use, shorter and not as stinky as a full-on SelfClean cycle. BUT if the oven is Teflon coated anyway, it will simply not be a good choice for a bird owner.
“Why did you get the SelfClean if you weren’t going to use it?” Good question. Answer: because it seems SelfClean is becoming a “standard” feature you can’t get a stove without at a certain level. Like the glass cooktop. None of the mid-price ranges we looked at had coils. And the feature set I was specifically wanting, Accutemp – supposedly “accurate to within two degrees” – multiple rack positions and convection all came with the other mid-price features.
So I’ve emailed Whirlpool to get more info on the non-stick coating and other “first use” issues in regards to the bird. If it does turn out the oven is teflon coated, we’ll have to finds a new one. Since bread making often aims for temperature around 500ºF or higher, this means the coating will ALWAYS be a problem, not merely on first use or when SelfCleaning is used.
I await their response and will decide if we stop the order and switch to another oven. Hopefully the store (Bad Boy) won’t have issues with that.
Other sources of toxic fumes: the flat cooktop. Seems they may be putting a coating of some sort on the glass top which, although not PTFE, is still dangerous to birds. Hopefully, this will burn off quickly and keeping the bird away in her room with the door close and a kitchen windo open will sufice. We expect to get the bird right out of the house when we first fire the oven and cooktop up as there’s definitely going to be some stinky action with most surfaces first few times they get heated.
So we wait and see…