When I started writing this review of the KitchenAid KDRS407, one question loomed over my head as I tried to assign a score to this dual-fuel, commercial-style range: What's more important in oven test results -- speed or substance?
No one wants to stand over a cooktop all day waiting for a pot of water to boil. We want an appliance that can quickly complete mundane tasks so we can get to the eating part sooner. And when it came to basic functions, like boiling or broiling, the KitchenAid KDRS407 lives up to the expectations I had for this $4,649 range, but doesn't surpass them. This is especially underwhelming when scanned through less expensive ranges I've reviewed that have performed much faster in the test kitchen.
But here's the thing about the oven -- though it lagged behind a bit in basic tasks, the KitchenAid KDRS407 turned out fantastic food, especially a succulent chicken that's still on my mind days after I roasted it. When you pair those results with the oven's even baking performance, it's hard to stay mad at the KitchenAid's middle-of-the-road cook times. This range would make a hearty, formidable addition to your kitchen, especially if you're on the market for a commercial-style product without the high-end price tag.
If this range's middle-of-the-road cook times are a turn off, consider the faster-cooking KitchenAid KSEG950ESS or Samsung NE59J7850WS slide-in ranges. Need something less expensive? Take a look at KitchenAid's lower-cost freestanding ranges, such as KitchenAid KGRS306BSS.
KitchenAid took several cues from commercial appliances in the design of the KDRS407. The company enhanced its usual minimalist design by equipping the stainless steel KDRS407 with hefty burner knobs and a blocky profile. The 30-inch wide unit is topped with cast iron grates over the four-burner cooktop, which completes the imposing presence of this range. The touchscreen control panel from the oven lies flat and parallel to the burners, so it recedes into the background when you're taking in the range's overall appearance.
But be warned: The tank-like exterior can be deceiving. The KDRS407 looks like it would have a lot of space in which to bake, but the capacity of this electric oven is only 4.1 cubic feet (we usually see five or more cubic feet of space in the average oven). And KitchenAid forgoes a fifth middle burner on the cooktop, which results in a dead zone in the middle of the oven. I've complained about oblong middle burners hogging cooktop space, but I've come to expect them on mid-priced ranges from brands like KitchenAid.
Convection fans have become commonplace for most ovens that surpass $1,000. The fan, located in the back wall of an oven, distributes heat while you're using the oven so that your food cooks more evenly. The KitchenAid's convection fan performed well when it came to baking and roasting. And if you're unfamiliar with adapting a traditional recipe to a convection oven, the oven (like many other ranges at this price) has an EasyConvect Conversion feature that will automatically reduce the oven temperature and/or cooking time depending on what you're cooking.
Biscuits browned fairly evenly when I baked two sheets of them with the convection fan on, though there were some dark edges around the biscuits that were on the lower pan.
But the highlight of cooking with the KitchenAid KDRS407's oven was roasting a chicken. The oven's user manual says that preheating is unnecessary when using the convection roasting feature, so I took the oven at its word. It only took one hour for the chicken to reach a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, an impressive feat considering that the oven was cold at the start. The chicken was wonderful -- golden, crisp skin with juicy dark and white meat. Each part of the chicken was roasted thoroughly without being dried out.
The KDRS407 also did well in other tests, though its cook times weren't nearly as impressive as the biscuits and roast chicken. This range ranked right in the middle of other gas cooktops in terms of how long it took to boil water:
The KDRS407 was also pretty average in the time it took to broil hamburger patties.
The KitchenAid KDRS407 is a visually striking range with cooking results that are just as impressive. Though this isn't the fastest cooker I've seen, KitchenAid's is successful in its effort to offer its customers a commercial-style, dual-fuel range that costs less than luxury brands like Dacor while cooking well. The KDRS407 would be a good addition to the kitchen of folks with high-end aspirations who want a showpiece product.