The AGA range cooker began life in Sweden, the brainchild of Nobel prize winner, Gustaf Dalén. He was working on the development of a porous substrate for storing acetylene gas, known as Amagassen, when an explosion blinded him. House bound, he was appalled at the amount of time his wife spent cooking. It was this single fact that prompted him to invent an appliance that would cook food and also heat a room.
He achieved this by an inordinately clever design, utilising cast iron and specifically placed ovens and flues to draw currents of air through the whole system. This whole system was heated by a smallish fire, fuelled with anthracite. This enabled the stove to work twenty four hours a day and only required the anthracite to be topped up, so it was economical to use as well.
This brilliantly engineered stove works with radiant heat.
Every AGA heat-storage stove is made in exactly the same way it has always been: molten iron is poured into moulds to create cast-iron. It’s this iron that brings the AGA stove’s distinctive cooking performance and while most other stoves are spray painted in minutes, skilled AGA craftsman add multiple coats of vitreous enamel – a process that takes three days to complete.
Every AGA stove comes with a simmering oven and a roasting oven, a simmering plate and a boiling plate, each is always ready at the optimum temperature for each type of cooking. It’s the cast-iron that makes this possible. It allows every AGA heat-storage stove to store heat and steadily radiate it through the ovens and hotplates at a constant temperature. Radiating the heat from all the oven surfaces simultaneously also ensures a kinder cooking process, unlike the fierce direct heat of conventional stoves. Finally the high level of insulation within the outer casting and each hotplate lid ensures fuel is used wisely and economically.
Slow cooking is rooted into the AGA philosophy; it allows your food to gently cook without the risk of burning. So you can throw a dish together first thing in the morning, ignore it for hours on end and pull out a delicious meal by teatime. If you’re in a rush, the high heat of the roasting oven is ideal for a pizza, or a grilled steak can be prepared using the boiling plate – even ready-meals can be cooked easily in an AGA stove.