Appliance manufacturers want their customers to have it all when it comes to the higher-end range models. With ovens in the $1,500-and-up category, there are a growing number of models with upgrades like dual-fuel power (a gas stovetop with an electric oven); a split oven cavity to create a smaller version of the versatile double-wall oven; and a wide array of cooking modes. KitchenAid packs all of these options into the $2,599 KFDD500ESS, a 30-inch dual-fuel range with a double oven.
The range is loaded with flexible options and decent performance. Each oven cavity operates independently so you can simultaneously cook two dishes at different temperatures. Smells stay contained within each oven -- no need to worry that the bacon you cook in the lower oven will make the sugar cookies in the top taste like pork. Additionally, there are options such as a steam-bake mode and an easy-convection conversion feature that will automatically convert traditional recipes to account for faster convection cooking times. The convection fan also roasts a great chicken.
But the range falls short with its details and cook times. It's a convoluted process to activate the ironically named easy-convection feature. And once I did get that feature figured out, the biscuits I prepared barely browned after nine minutes of baking. Equally disappointing were the slow broil times.
Overall, the KitchenAid KFDD500ESS's flexibility makes up for its slow cooking. This range is a worthwhile investment for busy cooks who often multitask at mealtime. But what if you don't have a $2,599 budget? First, don't feel bad: this is indeed an expensive oven. The, an electric range with an insert that enables double-oven cooking, is a good alternative for under $2,000. And if a double-oven isn't a must-have, go for the above-average which sells for about $1,200.
Simple, modern design makes range stand out
Like other, the KFDD500ESS makes use of a compact, minimalist design with an emphasis on straight lines. The front and top of the range are covered in ubiquitous stainless steel. The two cast-iron grates that cover the burners fit together to create a continuous cooktop that makes it easy to slide a pan from one burner to another. There are five burners on the cooktop; with the middle, oblong burner intended for use with the included cast-iron griddle. The control panel on the back of the range contains a digital display and a touchpad that controls the oven.
The five burner knobs are located on the front of the oven. The KitchenAid's knobs don't have handles to grip, a feature we often see on gas ranges like the. This could make it difficult for folks with big hands to adjust the burners. The illustrations that show which burner each knob controls are on the top of the range's edge, which makes it easy to see the controls.
The utilitarian design continues to the KitchenAid's oven. As mentioned above, the oven on this model is actually two discrete ovens that you can control independently from one another, so you can (for instance) roast a chicken in the lower oven cavity at 450 degrees while you bake macaroni and cheese in the upper cavity at 350 degrees. This increases the flexibility of the entire unit, but there are also small sacrifices with the double-oven design. Specifically, you lose a storage drawer that's often located at the bottom of the oven, and neither oven has as much capacity as a single-oven design (2.5 cubic feet in the upper oven, 4.2 cubic feet in the lower oven). And be prepared to squat down low to remove a dish from the lower cavity. The convection fan is located on the back wall of the lower oven. There's an additional heating element around the fan for so-called "true convection," a feature that's often included in high-end ovens such as the.
The KFDD500ESS also comes with some nice cooking additions, such as the aforementioned griddle and a roll-out rack that slides like a drawer for easy food removal. There's also a steam rack, a small trough that hooks beneath one of the traditional oven racks. You can fill the steam rack with water to add moisture to your baking.
Cooking tests offer mixed results
Overall, the KFDD500ESS's cooking performance ranged from barely adequate to excellent. The gas cooktop boiled 112 ounces of water in an average of 14.23 minutes, a time that landed the range's performance in the middle of the gas cooktop pack.