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Dacor Renaissance 30-inch Double Wall Oven review: Dacor Renaissance oven delivers premium performance for a premium price

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On the left, two racks worth of biscuits that we convection baked in the GE Profile Double Oven. On the right, biscuits cooked with the exact same settings in the Dacor Renaissance. Which ones look more evenly baked to you? CNET

To put this claim to the test, we baked two racks of biscuits in the Renaissance, one just above the other. In your average, non-convection oven, the biscuits on the bottom would almost certainly suffer from the non-ideal positioning. A convection fan would help by circulating additional hot air down their way, but you'd still probably see a slightly uneven bake, with the top biscuits browning up more than the bottom ones. This is what we've seen whenever we've run this test in convection ovens -- even high-scoring models like the GE Profile Double Oven, shown above on the left.

Now look at the ones on the right Those are biscuits that we convection baked in the Renaissance using the exact same time and temperature settings. The two racks are almost perfectly indistinguishable from one another. It's a shockingly impressive result -- and one that no other oven we've tested has even come close to matching.

Apply this to the oven's convection roast setting, and you can start to understand how that chicken came out so perfectly cooked. With more uniform heat distribution, things cook more evenly. The skin turns a perfectly crisp golden brown, as opposed to the more sporadic browning we've seen with other ovens. We got similarly successful results when we broiled ham in the Renaissance. There's a difference with Dacor that you can plainly see.

Dacor isn't just passing the eye test here, either. Our data also shows strong support for the idea that the Renaissance is a highly superior convection oven. During the biscuit test, we planted eight separate thermocouples throughout the oven's cavity, then recorded the temperature of each one of them once every 30 seconds.

Oven temperatures aren't perfectly uniform -- different sections of the interior will hold different temperatures at different times as the heat gradually cycles on and off. Ideally, the temperature of those sections will average out to your desired hotness, with each section hitting peak temperature at some point during the cooking cycle. With the thermocouples, we can test to see how well an oven meets this standard.

In most of the ovens that we've tested, at least a few of the thermocouples failed to hit the expected peak temperature -- not a damning result, but not a terribly impressive one, either. The best result we had seen was from the Samsung Flex Duo, which saw seven out of eight thermocouples hit the mark. Then we tested the Renaissance. Test after test, it consistently brought all eight of our thermocouples up to the expected peak temperature, which is as good a result as we could hope for. The numbers don't lie -- Dacor's claims of designing a more effective convection system hold up.

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You can cook separate dishes simultaneously in the two ovens without worrying about flavors crossing over. This roasted garlic had no effect on a batch of sugar cookies baked at the same time. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Dacor also claims that its convection system will prevent flavors from one oven from leeching over into the other, even going so far as to promise that cookies baked in one chamber while simultaneously roasting garlic in the other will come out tasting perfectly fine.

This sounded like another good test to us (and a good excuse to bake cookies), so I ran to the store and picked up some cookie dough and a bag of garlic cloves. Following this rather entertaining recipe, I set the garlic to convection roast in the bottom chamber of the Renaissance and then, just as things were starting to get wonderfully pungent, started convection baking my batch of sugar cookies in the upper chamber. For a control, I baked a separate batch of sugar cookies in a separate, garlic-free oven.

Twenty minutes later, my co-workers were happily munching on both batches of cookies. I didn't tell them which batch was which, but asked them if either batch tasted...off. Fortunately for their taste buds, no one detected anything funky about the flavor of either one. Point Dacor.

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Colin West McDonald/CNET

Maintenance and support

The Dacor Renaissance requires a dedicated 240 V, 60 Hz circuit. At 29 7/8 inches wide (75.9 cm) by 49 7/8 inches tall (126.7 cm), you'll also want to make sure that you have space for it in your kitchen. Dacor recommends having the Renaissance installed into a cabinet cutout with a minimum width of 28 1/2 inches (72.4 cm), a minimum height of 49 1/8 inches (124.8 cm), and a minimum interior depth of 24 inches (61 cm).

If your Renaissance ever starts accumulating grime on the inside (ours certainly did after we'd gone through all of the ham and chicken testing), you can run a two-and-a-half hour self-clean at 850 degrees Fahrenheit to help incinerate the mess into a wipeable ash. I tested this out when the oven was at its grimiest and found that it worked exceedingly well. For less extreme messes, you can simply pour a little bit of water into the impression on the floor of the oven, then run a brief, low-temperature steam cycle to help loosen things up.

Dacor ovens come with a one-year warranty on parts and labor. For a purchase this luxurious, I certainly wished they offered a little more.

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Colin West McDonald/CNET

Conclusion

The Dacor Renaissance 30-inch Double Wall Oven is tremendously expensive, but it gets away with it by offering tremendous cooking power. I can't fault anyone for wanting one in their kitchen, and if you can afford it, I can't fault you for going ahead and pulling the trigger on a purchase, either. Just promise to invite me over at Thanksgiving.

If you want an oven upgrade loaded with unique smart features, you'll want to look elsewhere, or perhaps wait a while -- I can't say that any smart oven has really won us over yet. If the Renaissance double oven appeals to you but sits far beyond your price range, keep in mind that the single-oven model, while still quite expensive, costs $2,000 less, and presumably offers the same cooking power (if not the same level of flexibility). You might also consider the $2,499 Samsung Flex Duo , which performed well in our tests, and which offers an excellent dual-oven feature.

Find out more about how we test ovens.

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