Variable Steam in Wolf Oven

duttyJuly 12, 2012

Greetings All,

I went and looked at the Gagg and Wolf steam ovens last week. I must say I liked the interior space of the Wolf and obviously the price tag. I don't mind the non-plumbed aspect BUT I'm concerned about the adjustability on levels of steam. One of the ladies in the showroom said you could adjust the Wolf but I couldn't find that in the manual.

Does anyone have any info on this? Would that be the only difference?


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Hello dutty,

We thought we could be of some assistance. As you can see from page 17 of the Wolf Convection Steam Oven Use & Care Guide linked below, there are 12 cooking modes available on this unit. The amounts of steam will vary depending on the mode selected. You can also select from a temperature range once a mode is chosen.

A great feature is the 'My Recipes' mode (page 31) that lets you store your favorite steam oven recipes over time, as you become more accustomed to using the product.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us directly. You can contact us via phone Mon-Fri. 8:00-5:00 CST at 800-222-7820. We can also be reached via email at

Thank you,

Customer Care Team
Sub-Zero/Wolf Appliances

Here is a link that might be useful: Wolf Convection Steam Oven Use & Care Guide

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 12:12PM
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Thank you for the response!

I did read the manual and saw page 17 but based on that, it seems that steam is either on or off. It seems that I can't adjust the amount of steam (ex. convec at 375 with 25% steam).

For those of you with the Gagg... how useful do you find this option? Is most of your cooking either 100% steam or no steam? Is it worth the extra 3K for that feature?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 3:30PM
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I have the Gaggenau steam oven and I'd say that you don't really need the variable steam. It's a nice to have, but not critical.

You typically use the lower steam settings on things like roasts where you want the bulk of the cooking to be moist, but do want to dry out the surface to brown it. You can use a "60%" or "80%" setting in the Gaggenau, but you could just as easily do the first 3/4 of the cooking time at 100% and then switch off the steam for the last 1/4 of the cooking time. I sometimes even do that with the Gaggenau even though it has mid-range steam settings. It may take some trial and error to approximate the results of recipes written for the Gagg, say, but if the Wolf recipes are solid, they should provide good guidelines.

Note that the "30%" steam setting on the Gaggenau doesn't add steam, it just doesn't vent any steam generated by the food cooking. So the Gagg only has 2 mid-range steam settings "60%" and "80%". These are not relative humidity settings or anything like that -- that can't be since the actual humidity levels will depend on temperature and ambient humidity (on a rainy, humid, 100% humidity day, any old oven is essentially a steam oven).

Even the Modernist Cuisine team, in their tests of the far more expensive and flexible Rational Combi-oven, show that the mid-range steam settings don't really change the the cooking environment all that much compared with 100% steam.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 4:30AM
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THANK YOU so much zartemis!! This post explained more to me in 3 paragraphs than I've been able to decode after researching this stuff for weeks. I really appreciate the effort you put into writing this! :)

The Wolf has the same function where it seals off the vents to keep moisture in... it's called "Convection Humid." So really, it's only the two mid-range moisture settings I'd be losing and as you said, I'm sure I can tweak and work around to approximate the Gagg recipes.

Thanks so much...the Wolf is much more affordable and I feel better about choosing it after your post. Now if only I didn't have to wait 10 months to try it out!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Yes, THANK YOU zartemis. I have a Wolf steam oven sitting in a box awaiting installation later today and power hookup early next week. A review will be forthcoming some time to experiment.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 10:35AM
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oohhhh... I can't wait for the review, pspand! Please do update us soon.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 11:32AM
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More so than the lower steam options, I'd say the bigger advantage for us to the Gaggenau is the plumbed water and drain. It would hurt (and we might have had to cut back on something else), but if we were installing today (after their recent 25% price hike), we'd likely still go with the Gaggenau. We use this oven constantly (esp for reheating -- it has replaced our MW for that function) and it's nice not to need to fill the tank every day or every other day. The Wolf manual lists the duration of steam from a full tank at 1.5 hours, that'd be at least every other day for us, and sometimes twice a day during cooking marathons.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 6:58PM
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yep... the plumbed thing was a bit of a heartbreaker but for the 3K difference, we think we will have to suck it up and do non-plumbed. The one good thing about the Wolf is that to change the water, you don't have to open the door so you could potentially change it mid cycle if need be. I also like the larger interior space.

All this said, my question is about the drain. I wonder, do you just wipe the Wolf out to get the water out? I'll have to look and see how that works.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 7:44PM
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Did anyone here look at THermador or Miele steam ovens? I'm remodeling my kitchen with all new appliances and hadn't even considered steam until visiting showrooms. Now I'm almost sold on it (even though I'm not sure how it will affect my cooking style just yet --suppose i have to be open-minded and try new things). I'm almost convinced.....except for the price of these things!! And now that I know that Gagg is the best one (after all the research, i can't bear to spend that much on something I hadn't even planned to own.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 12:02AM
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Well, I'd say the Rational combi-oven is better than the Gagg, but it's a commercial oven, even more expensive than the Gaggenau and you'd have to build a special place for it, like these folks:

But, cooking with humidity at controllable temperatures is really fantastic. It's the most used (based on number of times) cooking appliance we have. Based on hours, our Sous Vide Magic is the most used, but that's only because it does 48 to 72 hour cooks almost every week. FWIW, in the above photo, the box next to the Rational oven on the right is a sous vide device.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 12:47AM
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My understanding is that the Miele (at least the one marketed in the USA) is only steam -- you cannot bake in it at 350F or 425F, only up to 212F / 100 C. I'm sure it does a good job for those modes, but that is not versatile enough to me. Miele has a true combi oven in Europe, and they are supposed to bring one to the USA some time soon, but you can never count on that until it is in stores.

The Thermador looks like a reasonable choice, but the Wolf seems a bit more capable with one more steam mode (okay, it doesn't really steam, it just seals the oven so that the moisture of the food is kept in). It is also a bit larger inside. It only costs a few hundred more, last time I checked.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:09AM
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I purchased the Wolf after researching the others. I am looking forward to pspand's feedback as mine will not be installed until Dec/Jan as part of our kitchen addition.
My observations on the other brands are as follows:
Miele - tiny oven and no convection. Due to the tiny size and lack of convection I did not spend any time to consider the features;
Thermador - the oven is almost as large but still smaller and offers one less steam mode than the Wolf. I thought the biggest drawback was the fact you need to open the oven to re-fill the water tank;
Gaggenau - the plumbed-in feature is nice, however it is smaller than the Wolf, I didn't like the side door access and the cost was double the Wolf.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 1:46PM
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I've ordered my Wolf combi oven (I'm not sure how much they cost in the USA now, but up here in Canada, I paid just under $5,000, a considerable expense given that when I was shopping for ovens I'd intended on a double wall setup to accompany my Bluestar 6-burner range top. After seeing the Wolf in action, I decided in a matter of minutes that I HAD to have one, damn the expense! I am most interested in trying to sous vide using the oven and would appreciate any advice anyone might have to offer. I've been using a manual, top of the stove setup that requires constant monitoring and adjusting and love the idea of putting the bags in the oven and letting it babysit it for me. Also, if anyone can recommend a cookbook specific to the combi-steam oven, I'd love to hear about it.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 1:18PM
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Just to update my earlier post, Miele now has a true combi-steam (convection up to normal high oven temperatures) available in the U.S. Unplumbed.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 2:50PM
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