Bosch HBLP651LUC review

Bosch HBLP651LUC oven review wide

Bosch HBLP651LUC

“Bosch’s Benchmark Series Double Oven brings restaurant-style convection cooking to the home kitchen, along with premium features and a smart, stylish design.”
  • Side-opening door with left or right option
  • High quality design and construction
  • Intuitive LCD touch display
  • Gourmet programs
  • Installs to be flush with kitchen cabinetry
  • Get a lot for a reasonable price
  • Vents a lot of heat through the front of the oven

We knew the moment we opened the top door of the Bosch Benchmark Series double oven that we were in the presence of an appliance of remarkable quality. The side-opening door swung firmly on its reinforced hinges and sealed shut like the outer hatch on the Space Shuttle. The quality of construction and materials said commercial kitchen, but the user-friendly functions and size said home cookin’.

The new, Benchmark Series double oven is perfectly designed for the cook who wants a luxury appliance with clean, European lines and gourmet cooking capabilities. Between its side-opening doors, telescoping racks, and touchscreen control panel with programmable cooking modes, this is no ordinary oven. But does it warrant the commensurate price of well over $4,000? We fired one up in the Digital Trends test kitchen to find out.

More than just a hot box

Unlike most conventional ovens, the Benchmark Series oven uses European convection, also known as true convection, which means it’s equipped with fans that circulate the hot air around the food and racks, creating a uniformly even temperature and cooking every surface with equal heat.

The color LCD control panel isn’t cluttered with superfluous options to confuse or distract.

Another decidedly European flare: side-opening doors. If you’ve ever scorched your forearms reaching in to a conventional oven to grab a dish, you’ll appreciate that both doors open out, away from the body. It’s a feature of professional ovens, and more commonplace in European kitchens, but hasn’t caught on in the U.S. We wouldn’t be surprised if that changes in the next few years.

Rather than buttons and dials, the Bosch uses a color LCD touchscreen to let you set the temperature and different operating modes. Even with a long list of capabilities, choosing the right setting for baking cookies, for example, is a snap. The color LCD control panel isn’t cluttered with superfluous options to confuse or distract. It’s intuitive and easy to use. Just select the cooking mode and temperature setting, and whether you’re using the upper or lower oven.

Turning up the heat

As the oven heats up, the temperature is tracked on the display. Bosch claims the Benchmark Series oven offers a faster preheat than other ovens, but in our experience, preheating to 350 degrees took approximately 12 minutes — about average for electric ovens, even with the Fast Preheat feature on.

Bosch HBLP651LUC oven review interior bottom

The standard program for baking cookies didn’t surprise or disappoint. The cookies were perfect: soft, chewy middles with slightly crunchy edges. Although convection baking is more suitable for breads, we used the Convection Bake program for one batch and were treated to a dozen slightly softer, but uniformly baked cookies.

Design and functional features

In addition to the chic side-opening doors, another fine (and kind) feature of the Bosch Benchmark series is the telescoping rack, which slides out on hinges, almost like a drawer. It makes removing large, hot baking dishes or pans much safer and easier. There are also 14 specialized modes. An AutoProbe leaves little guesswork in cooking, the Pizza setting guarantees a perfect pie, and the EcoChef function saves energy by using residual heat left in the oven to complete the cooking process.

Bosch has a way with stainless steel and glass.

Other functional and appreciated features include two halogen lights per oven cavity for better illumination, and extra-large door windows so you can watch your masterpiece transform. A timer with cook time and delay start function helps manage cook times of multiple dishes requiring various cook times. The oven is also self-cleaning, and without heating coils to get in the way (they’re hidden behind the cavity walls) the interior is easy to wipe down after spills.

The Benchmark Series wall ovens fit into a standard 30-inch cutout, so you can replace your current wall oven with a Bosch without investing in a kitchen renovation. Furthermore, these ovens are designed to be flush with kitchen cabinetry for a clean, ultra-modern aesthetic. You can choose which direction the doors open – left or right – depending on your kitchen layout or preference.

Heat output

While testing both the upper and lower ovens there was considerable heat output through two separate vents. The venting is obviously necessary, but the amount of heat coming out of the vents was unpleasant to work around.

This is a trait of commercial ovens and one of the reasons some people avoid them in their home kitchens.

Conclusion

There’s lots to like about the Bosch Benchmark Series double oven. By design standards, it’s a real beauty. Bosch has a way with stainless steel and glass. There isn’t any unnecessary detailing, buttons, or knobs; the lines are clean and modern. The features are functional, with just enough interesting options to make it feel like a professional oven. The LCD control panel is easy to read and operate. The most significant feature however, is the right or left side-opening door, a detail that should have been commonplace on all household ovens by the 21st century. Although this model is more expensive than its American-made counterparts, the price range – from $4,399 to $4,949 – is very reasonable considering the good looks, quality, and features of this oven.

Highs

  • Side-opening door with left or right option
  • High quality design and construction
  • Intuitive LCD touch screen
  • Gourmet programs
  • Installs flush with kitchen cabinetry

Lows

  • Vents a lot of heat through the front of the oven

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