Sunday, June 23, 2024

Breville Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro Review

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When I signed the lease on a new apartment earlier this year, I begged management to let me bring my gorgeous Italian range along with me. As I came to terms with the fact that I’d have to leave it behind, I realized it was really only the induction cooktop I was going to miss (okay, it was a sexy-looking appliance too) because I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I’d used the oven component.

Sure, I’d still been roasting, braising, and baking, but for nearly a year, I’d been doing it all in what is basically the world’s best toaster oven—the one Bon Appétit selected as the best toaster oven and Epi’s top-tested pick too. But to call Breville’s Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro “a toaster oven” is a bit like calling the Super Bowl “a football game.” Because this countertop cooker does so much more than even most fancy full-size ovens can do.

Breville Joule Oven Air Fryer Pro

The Joule oven (a shortened name my colleagues and I use to differentiate it from Breville’s similar offerings) more appropriately falls into a newer category called multi-oven because it has enough functions to replace a handful of small kitchen appliances, including an air fryer, a slow cooker, and a dehydrator. But it’s the smart features that make this boxy Breville appliance such a superior oven.

Whenever I set the temperature on a full-size oven—no matter how pricey—it always felt like more of a suggestion than a setting. “You do your best to hit that target, buddy, and just in case you’re way off, I’ll start obsessively checking on my casserole after 25 minutes to make sure it’s bubbly but not burning.” The Joule oven, on the other hand, is reliably precise thanks to Breville’s Element IQ, a proprietary technology that uses built-in sensors to automatically adjust the amount and source(s) of heat as needed during cooking.

This feature is only available when cooking recipes via the companion app—which I resisted downloading for a long time because these apps are usually more trouble than they’re worth. But Breville+ proved me wrong. It’s super easy to connect to and use, and there are hundreds of recipes with clear photo and video steps that are a breeze to follow. I often ignore the suggested prep steps and put my own spin on chicken, pork, or whatever I’m making for dinner, and still use the app to get perfect results in the cooking portion without having to manually set a temperature or choose one of the 13 presets on the control panel. When it’s time to preheat, I simply push a button in the app (then one on the oven itself, a safety precaution) and let the tech take it from there.

For recipes that require adjustments to the target temperature and airflow, there’s the “Autopilot” feature that automatically switches between modes and temperatures so you don’t have to babysit your dinner. This is exceptionally handy for the Set-It-and-Forget-It Rotisserie-Style Chicken (developed by the food nerds at ChefSteps), which impressively cycles through 13 different bake, broil, and convection settings and would surely blow Ron Popeil’s mind.

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