Double ovens are no longer relegated to the wall. Manufacturers are releasing more freestanding and slide-in ranges that contain double-oven cavities, such as the KitchenAid KFDD500ESS and the Maytag Gemini MET8720DS . Models like these fit two smaller ovens into the space of one traditional oven cavity and allow you to simultaneously cook two dishes at two separate temperatures. These freestanding double ovens will save you from a major home renovation if your kitchen doesn't accommodate a double wall oven, but you want to cook multiple dishes at the same time.
LG has gotten in on the double-oven act with its LDG4315ST, a 30-inch gas range that also displays the Korean company's continued experiments into smart kitchen appliances. Unfortunately, the LG LDG4315ST might make you reconsider the merits of tearing up your kitchen for a double wall oven. This model, which became available this month at $1,899 MSRP, makes a lot of big promises to which it never quite lives up. The LDG4315ST's double oven is convenient for multitasking, but its lackluster performance in my baking tests overshadowed any advantages to having two ovens in the space of one. And the accompanying LG application adds frustration to cooking rather than convenience and intelligence I expect from connected tools.
The LG LD4315ST isn't all bad news. The powerful gas cooktop stands out for its fast boiling times and useful middle burner. And the LD4315ST finds its stride when it roasts and bakes foods over long periods of time. But these highlights aren't enough to make the LG LD4315ST a worthwhile investment. Instead, opt for a gas range that sticks with simplicity, such as the Kenmore 74343 or KitchenAid KGRS306BSS .
The LG LDG4315ST isn't as sleek or streamlined as similar 30-inch-wide gas ranges, such as the Electrolux EI30GF35JS or the aforementioned KitchenAid KGRS306BSS. Instead, LG opts for a blocky design for this stainless steel model that adds to unit's usability. Everything has a little extra heft, from the sturdy, curved oven handles to the big, easy-to-grip burner knobs. User-friendliness extends to the touchscreen on the unit's back panel that controls the features of the upper and lower ovens. The type is clear, large and easy to read.
The LDG4315ST's cooktop has five gas burners that range from 5,000 to 18,500 BTUs of power: four normal, round burners in each corner and an oblong burner in the middle. The middle burner is designed for cooking with an oval pot or the griddle that LG includes with the oven. The continuous grates that cover the four traditional burners in the front and back corners curve to accommodate the grate over the middle burner.
The middle burner takes up valuable real estate on the cooktop. Space was tight when I put pots and pans on the other burners while I used the griddle to cook bacon. The griddle is definitely convenient if you're in the pancake-flipping business (or at least a weekend pancake enthusiast). But the shape of the LDG4315ST's middle burner is limiting if you only use a griddle sporadically. I prefer the flexibility of a traditional, round middle burner that you can use with regular pots and pans and/or having a griddle that fits over two normal burners, such as the Dacor ER30DSCH .
The double oven is the showpiece of the LG LDG4315ST. LG boasts that the oven has 6.9 cubic feet of capacity, but keep in mind that this space is split between its two cavities. The top oven has 2.6 cubic feet of space, and the bottom has 4.3 cubic feet. A convection fan surrounded by a heat element is mounted to the back wall of the bottom oven, a feature that LG calls ProBake convection. This type of convection fan is often found in high-end models such as the Dacor ER30DSCH and referred to as pure, true or European convection. This type of convection fan is designed to heat the air as it circulates throughout the oven, providing faster, more even baking.
LG also includes some pleasant surprises to help the home cook. When the oven is done preheating, the unit alerts you with a cheerful melody and flashes the oven lights on and off several times. A different ditty plays when you set the timer. These are simple default settings that would be helpful in a real-life home, where you can't stay attached to your oven waiting patiently for it to come to temperature. LG also includes a gliding rack, a recessed rack for larger dishes and a standard rack for the ovens that provides some nice flexibility.
LG equipped the LDG4315ST with Smart ThinQ technology that allows you to connect with the LG Smart Oven app to change the oven's settings, run diagnostics and look up recipes. We saw this capability on LG's LRE3027ST electric single-oven range , but the app left us underwhelmed. However, I had high hopes for this updated version of the app. Surely, the app has improved in the two years since we reviewed the LRE3027ST , right?
On the surface, the LG Smart Oven app seems like an improvement over the previous LG Smart Range app that we used with the LRE3027ST (be careful when you download; both similarly named apps are still available for Android, but only the Smart Oven app works with the LDG4315ST). But the Android-only app uses NFC (near-field communication) to communicate with the oven rather than Wi-Fi, which means you have to hold your smartphone or tablet right next to the oven for the two to connect. So to change the oven settings with the app, you decide what you want to change in the app, hold the device inches away from the oven, and adjust your position until the app sends the new information to the oven. Hovering over the oven with your device is extraneous, especially when you can make the same changes right on the oven without the middle man. The app would be more useful if it used wireless technology that would allow you to change the settings from a greater distance (say, from your living room or even your workplace).
The app doesn't impact cooking performance, so the decision whether to buy the LDG4315ST shouldn't rest solely on the app's performance. More than anything, this app shows that LG continues to invest in and experiment with connected technology in its appliances. The company still has a long way to go before its smart ovens and apps make cooking easier and more precise.
LG made a big deal when it announced its line of ProBake ovens in August , so I had high hopes for the oven's performance during my bake tests. Unfortunately, the 72 biscuits I baked left me deflated. For each test round, I baked two sheets of biscuits (12 biscuits per sheet) on convection mode in the bottom oven. Round after round, the biscuits were uneven in color. Many of them had dark edges, but some biscuits in the front row of the bottom rack were much paler than the others on the same sheet.
I also tested the oven's performance without the convection fan enabled, and I was much happier with the results. I baked three rounds of larger biscuits (eight biscuits per round). The row closest to the oven door was often paler than the row of biscuits in the back row, but the difference wasn't as drastic as I had seen in the convection bake tests. Plus, there were no burnt edges on the larger biscuits.
The convection and traditional tests showed me that you'd have to spend more time learning just how to adjust your recipe's cooking times with the ProBake mode enabled, but you still might not have results that are as desirable as those from the traditional baking mode.
I switched to the top oven for broil testing. The broiler took an average of 17.97 minutes to bring six hamburger patties to 145 degrees F. This time puts the LDG4315ST near the bottom of the pack in comparison to other gas ovens we've tested. But the relative lack of smoke made using this broiler a better experience than I've previously had with models such as Dacor ER30DSCH .
Both ovens have a "pizza" setting, which will automatically set the temperature of the oven based on the type of pizza you plan to bake (frozen with a regular crust, frozen with a rising crust or freshly made). I cooked two frozen pizzas with rising crust (one in each oven) at the same time on the same settings. Though I baked each pizza for 18 minutes, the results were drastically different. The pizza from the upper oven was underdone on the edge closest to the front of the oven, while the pizza in the bottom cavity was completely overcooked.
The LG LDG4315ST began to restore my faith in its performance with the chicken I roasted in the bottom oven. I used the convection roast feature, and I had an evenly browned chicken after about an hour and 20 minutes. The dish had a great combination of crisp skin and moist meat that I always look for in this test.
Stovetop cooking was a mixed experience on the LG LDG431ST. The UltraHeat extra large burner lived up to its name. It boiled 112 ounces of water in 10.65 minutes. The only gas cooktop with a faster boiling time was the Kenmore 74343 , which boiled the same amount of water in 9.75 minutes.
I also cooked tomato soup on the cooktop to see how well a burner set on low could hold a steady temperature. The LG LDG4315ST brought the soup down to temperatures that were much lower than those of other gas ranges, which stayed pretty hot over the 20 minutes I let the tomato soup simmer on low.
I really wanted to like the LG LDG431ST. Its design is user friendly, its stovetop is top-notch, and its app shows that LG is willing to invest in the future of smart cooking technology. But many of the features LG showcases on this oven are huge disappointments.