By Eric Capstick
The toaster/oven that I used for the past 20 years was the size of a shoebox. It was called a toaster/oven but by the time I was finished with the thing it was charred black from mishaps that had occurred in trying to use it as an oven. It was simply too small to function as an effective oven and fitting anything larger than a medium slice of pizza inside presented a frustrating challenge. I recently replaced this essential and convenient kitchen appliance with an Oster Large Countertop Oven.
Though described as large, the Oster oven fit easily onto a shelf that I’d built to lift the previous device off the counter. The brushed chrome Oster model measures 20″ wide by 11 1/2″ high and 13 1/2″ deep and functions as a remarkably capable full service oven and toaster. Over the couple of weeks in which I’ve actively used this appliance it has been a wonderful alternative to my full-sized gas oven and I’ve used it for baking piles of cookies, drop biscuits and loaves of bread as well as baked ziti, homemade chicken pot pies and lots of other good stuff. I also use the Oster as a toaster, and the beauty of this is that I no longer have to struggle to fit four slices of bread in at the same time.
The Oster’s larger dimensions enable six or more slices to fit easily on the rack and can accommodate bagels as well. A revelation that developed after daily use of the device was that it provided a much more efficient use of energy for baking and cooking than traditional ovens. The Oster oven uses approximately 50% less energy than a conventional gas oven. That’s a detail that has made baking even more satisfying than it has ever been for me — it’s great to know that I’m using only as much energy as needed to do the job. This countertop oven can handle all but large dinner party-scale baking tasks.
The Oster oven is fully featured with digital controls, temperature and time presets and easy to use manual options, as well as a convenient clock that serves as a timer too. The device functions beautifully as an oven, convection oven and toaster; it also has task-specific buttons to broil, defrost, warm and heat up pizza. A bonus: included is a convenient baking pan with it’s own rack that is handy for all sorts of cooking needs, and it has an adjustable two-level rack with removable drip and crumb tray that makes the device easy to clean.
This has been a terrific addition to my kitchen, and is priced modestly in the $70 to $80 range. The best thing is that it allows you to reduce your family’s carbon footprint as you cook nourishing meals without wasting energy!