Ovens

Bosch HES5053U Review

This single electric convection oven impressed us with its very consistent temperatures.

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Introduction

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 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 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.

The "powerboil" burner, despite its name, is not the range's quickest burner.

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.

Rangetop

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 high temperature cooking from this Bosch was certainly hot enough to sear and sizzle.

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.

The convection oven provides slightly better temperature variance.

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.

Conclusion

This Bosch may be a tad more expensive than it ought to be, but for the most part, we liked what we saw.

The 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 look, this is an oven that will offer you more than just eye candy.

We were most impressed by the oven, which exhibited a quick heat-up.

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 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.

Science Introduction

Welcome to the behind-the-scenes look at the 23-jewel movement that is our testing procedure. Well, we might not be as elegant as an Omega watch mechanism, but we are arguably more accurate. On this page, you can examine our data yourself and learn more about what you might be getting yourself into—or rather, what you might be getting into your kitchen.

Oven Performance

This is not the best oven we've ever seen, but this is still a very competent appliance.

The maintained impressive temperature consistency and exhibited an acceptable range of degrees. In manner of Springer episode, the oven heated up quickly, taking just ten minutes to hit 350°F, and twice that to get to 515°F.

We measured the oven's "keep warm" setting and found it averaged 210°F, higher than the 170°F that we prefer. On high, the oven didn't quite average its 550°F setting, instead averaging a slightly cooler temperature of 536°F. We've seen worse.

The 350°F setting on the convection option ran cold, at 341°F.

As for its 350°F setting, the did a solid job of maintaining the proper heat, straying just 19°F below and 23°F above. Though we like to see variance of no more than ±20—keeping things within a 40 degree window, in other words—this is still very close and doesn't deserve severe criticism. Target temperatures are important, because ovens that deviate too far from a target deliver foods with overcooked outsides and undercooked insides. The convection option slightly improves things, staying within 14°F below and 19°F above the 350°F setting. That said, the 350°F setting on the convection option ran cold, at 341°F. So for the , convection vs. convention is a question of accuracy over precision. Remember to monitor your food. Trust the dial, but verify.

Rangetop Performance

One very impressive burner stands out on this all-around solid rangetop.

The front right burner aced our boiling test in an incredible three minutes time.

The "powerboil" moniker should apply to the front right burner that aced our boiling test in an incredible three minutes time, but alas, the name belongs to the front left burner, which had water rolling in a less impressive nine minutes. The back two clocked in at 12 and 13 minutes, and on the whole, that makes for an excellent average.

Insofar as simmering goes, three of the four burners could maintain a sub-120°F temperature, one of which hit as low as 110°F. The 's fourth eye ran at a hotter (but still acceptable) 126°F. Maintaining a low temperature for satisfactory simmering is important for making sure your pots don't overflow with starchy pasta foam. Additionally, the advantages of these low temperature settings include melting chocolate without a double boiler, simmering small quantities of liquids, and just keeping things warm in general.

Even on a medium setting, this burner should be plenty hot enough to sear and brown with.

On the flip side, the front left burner topped out at a fierce 793°F. That's actually a bit too fierce, working at 400 watts higher than what the manufacturer states. As it can be a fire hazard to run a burner over 650°F, we recommend close supervision and caution. Temperatures that hot are above the flashpoints for oils, and no one wants a flare up. It might even be a good idea to place a piece of heat tape on the knob, thereby locking out the upper end of the burner, or put up a warning sign for infrequent users, even though that might spoil the sleek Euro look. Cooking wise, all this means is that even on a medium setting, this burner should be plenty hot enough to sear and brown with. Dangers aside, the high maximum temperature means that the burner is never towards the edge of its capabilities in normal use, just like BMW and Mercedes sports cars. Just don't put the pedal to the metal, so to speak.

The rear burners came in at 581°F and 640°F, but surprisingly, the high performance 12-inch front right element failed to crack 500°F. However, the vast surface area of that element does transfer heat extremely quickly, as demonstrated by our results in the water boiling test.

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