Not simply for veggies and fish, steam ovens and combination ovens with steam programmes will produce fluffy cakes, crisp crusts and moist meats.
With sales increasing two-fold in recent years, the benefits of steaming are clear. Locking in the nutrients and vitamins and preserving the texture of foods, there’s no need to cook with any extra oil or fat, resulting in delicious, healthy food. Apart from offering healthy, nutritious, fish and vegetables, it is also possible to cook perfect rice, pasta and pulses, as well as curries and soups. The steam oven can also take on many of the same roles as a microwave, including defrosting, reheating and cooking – often with enhanced final results. You can even boil, poach and scramble eggs with it as well as sterilise babies’ bottles.
A 45cm compact steam-only oven – with a temperature range of 50 to 100ºC – is a good addition to a bank featuring a conventional multi-function oven or combi-microwave, creating a versatile, efficient cook zone. For ease of installation look for models such as those from AEG, Caple and Miele that have removable water tanks. Tank sizes vary from around 650ml to 1.5ltrs and the larger you choose, the less likely you are to have to fill up the tank during a long cooking cycle. Designs that heat water from the inside take longer to come up to temperature, while those that generate steam outside the cavity and inject it in, produce the best results. The MultiSteam feature in the compact DG6400 from Miele, injects steam into the oven via eight separate inlets, for uniform moisture and temperature distribution giving even cooking.
Look for a model that has a steam suppression setting, which allows the steam to escape from the cavity to ensure you don’t get a face full of steam when you open the oven at the end of the cooking programme.
Combining steam with conventional fan or top and bottom cooking adds yet another dimension and an injection of steam can help to make your sponges super light and your roasts perfectly browned and succulent. Multifunction steam ovens offer the same great benefits of dedicated steam ovens, but with the extra options of fan cooking, grilling and roasting. This allows you to create a variety of different dishes including Sunday roasts, pizzas, homemade bread and cakes.
The precise temperature control of models makes them ideal for vacuum, or Sous Vide, cooking, too. Another innovation that’s straight out of professional kitchens, this is where food is vacuum packed in an air-tight parcel and slowly and evenly cooked at a low temperature resulting in delicious, restaurant-worthy dishes.
For those looking for an easy to maintain appliance, go for steam: many newer models are built with convenient descaling programmes and can be easily wiped down after use.
We have a range of appliances on display in our showrooms. Book a complimentary appointment with one of our expert designers. Alternatively, request a free copy of our 80-page brochure for more design inspiration.