Bosch HES5053U Review
This single electric convection oven impressed us with its very consistent temperatures.
Besides being beautiful, the Bosch HES5053U is an excellent performer. Exhibiting the brand's sleek, efficient Euro look, this single electric convection oven impressed us with highly consistent temperatures on all degree settings, as well speedy boiling on its 12-inch element—the 0-60 mph test for range tops.
Strangely, the oven's high-powered burner, the "powerboil," wasn't particularly impressive, losing the race to its non-"powerboil" brother. And while the Bosch HES5053U is a solid performer, it may lack some of the features expected from an oven in this price range ($1,199 MSRP, $1,079 on sale).
Outside of actual performance, a sort of name game is afoot. Though it's branded Bosch, this oven is actually manufactured by Frigidaire, which makes its own less expensive version for around $400 less. Frigidaire even sells similar ovens for Sears under the Kenmore nameplate. Unless you want your kitchen to look sehr Deutsch, there are other non-Bosch options out there with similar performance. With this oven, you're paying for a name and a look.
Design & Usability
The brushed, stainless construction gives this oven a sleek, European look of high-powered efficiency.
The Bosch HES5053U is a 30" freestanding range with a radiant cooking surface. It's a traditional range that follows Bosch's usual design language: evenly spaced buttons, easy-to-read fonts bracketed in-between thin white lines, and a front-and-center logo. The range features a stainless door and trim to match, though the flat cooktop itself is entirely black. Small black knobs on the back of the unit necessitate a bit of a reach—sometimes over boiling water, no doubt.
Next, two high-powered burners feature dual elements under a ceramic top. The cookware should be as close to the size of the burner as possible, but dual elements mean a burner can accommodate large pans while still maintaining the smaller setting for smaller pots. One of these dual element burners is the ineptly named "powerboil" burner, which Bosch insists should be written in lowercase. Despite its name, this is not the range's quickest burner.
As for the oven, a 5.4 cubic foot space divided by two racks with seven designated slots make up this portion of the appliance. That said, this oven's main feature is its convection setting, which activates a heated fan when turned on. Circulation of hot air by the fan results in a higher heat transfer to the food, so any given food temperature may be achieved at a lower setting on this oven than with other conventional models. Effective convection cooking means food can cook faster, and the lower oven temperatures mean lower energy consumption.
This rangetop can do it all with gusto.
All four rangetop burners were fairly quick, but one of them was spectacular, boiling six cups of water in just three minutes. It was not, however, the "powerboil" burner, but the front right element instead. We recommend using that for the heavy work.
The simmering temperatures were solid, getting the job done just fine—though not as cool as some other electric rangetops we've tested. The high temperature cooking from this Bosch was certainly hot enough to sear and sizzle, so much so that it actually got in trouble on our tests. Use caution with the front left "powerboil" burner—it heated our test pan to almost 800°F on high.
Bear in mind, though, that despite the excellent performance results here, electric rangetops are much more difficult to control due to their lack of flame. With nothing but a glowing ceramic disc to rely on visually, it can be hard tell just how much heat your food is getting.
Oven Broiler & Convection
We noted decent performance throughout the oven's settings.
Displaying a standard amount of fluctuation, the oven hit the 350°F temperature on the nose after just ten minutes. Unfortunately, the extremes of keep-warm and 550°F were a little too warm, and not quite warm enough, respectively. This is not a huge deal, since middle cooking temperatures such as 350°F are far more important.
If you require less fluctuation, the convection oven provides slightly better temperature variance, though we found it actually undershot the 350°F mark. Additionally, the broiler does excellent work in the oven cavity, heating up faster than John McEnroe arguing a toed line.
This Bosch may be a tad more expensive than it ought to be, but for the most part, we liked what we saw.
The Bosch HES5053U demonstrated high-quality performance, yet it fails to provide the medley of features one might expect for the price (MSRP $1,199, on sale $1,079). But if you're interested in creating a kitchen full of that European Bosch look, this is an oven that will offer you more than just eye candy.
Performance wise, we were most impressed by the oven, which exhibited a quick heat-up with excellent temperature consistency, acceptable temperature range, and desirable features including the convection setting and the adjustable broiler. Serious bakers who can live with just one oven will certainly be pleased with this model's performance. The range was decent too—quickly boiling water on one of the burners and maintaining a steady simmer—but it lacked some common features, such as a bridge burner. As for what it does have, the dangerously-hot-but-unimpressive-in-terms-of-speed 'powerboil' burner setting and the 100W warming element seem to function like a German car's cup holders—they exist so they can be listed on the fact sheet, but are not particularly useful.
Basically, the HES5053U would be a solid choice if you're looking to expand your suite of Euro-styled appliances; it doesn't sport a host of extra capabilities, but it offers excellent performance for the features it does have. If you aren't dying for that efficient, cultured look, save your money and buy an oven that offers a better overall package.
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