One of the newest and most innovative appliances in the market today are steam ovens. Sometimes taking the place of a microwave or second oven in a kitchen, these little guys are gaining market share like crazy. Today we will explore exactly what a steam oven is, how it functions and some of the ways you can use it.
Steaming is a healthy cooking technique. Steam is capable of cooking all kinds of food. In a steam oven, water is boiled, vaporized into steam and injected into the oven cavity. The steam carries the heat to the food, cooking the food. The food is separate from the water but in direct contact with the steam resulting in moist food products. Over cooking and burning is easily avoided. Some chefs even claim that steaming reduces the fat content because no cooking oil is needed. Steaming also results in more nutritious food because fewer nutrients are leached into the cooking water.
In new steam convection ovens, because food is surrounded by a vapor blanket of steam, the cooking temperature remains constant and the food is kept tender. It keeps food healthier, fresher and juicer and reduces cooking time. Adding the convection element and adding hot air to the steaming process introduces enough heat to brown the food item. It's a great application for baking, roasting, grilling, steaming, braising, blanching and poaching. It works great for breads to get that nice crusty crust and still maintain a moist interior. Steam ovens are also great for heating up leftovers. It injects moisture back into the food while heating it instead of drying it out like a typical microwave.
There are several manufacturers that make steam ovens-Wolf, Jenn-Air, Miele, Gaggenau, Thermador and Bosch. All of the clients we have installed one for rave about them and can't imagine their life without one. If you are replacing your ovens, it's worth looking into adding a steam oven. Check out the manufacturers websites for great videos on how they work or visit a local appliance showroom. Questions? Email me at