Reheating - Miele Steam Oven vs. Microwave - How Long?

xxxJUxxxDecember 31, 2011

We've planning to start refurbishing the Kitchen (and Master Bedroom & Master Bathroom) in the spring, so it is time to finalize all those appliances! We've just ordered the range - a beautiful Provence Yellow Sully by Lacanche, with a total of 6 burners including a French Traditional Plate and two ovens (one gas, one convection with broiler). I am so excited about the Sully that I find it hard to convince myself to include a third oven, but that means no quick reheat in the MW... Will I miss it? Probably not, but my husband will, he really likes to do a quick reheat of leftovers, soup, oatmeal etc. A steam oven appeals to me much more than a MW... granted I can steam on the range, but the universal opinion seems to be that food reheated in a steam oven tastes great... The big question I cannot find an answer to is: How long does it take? The Miele manual doesn't give any indication for how long it takes to reheat something from frozen... So, if anyone uses a steam oven, can you please let me know - how long to reheat a single portion of frozen casserole that usually takes 5-7 minutes in a MW. Is reheating, especially from frozen, convenient in a steam oven, or should I just go for the Speed Oven?

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The steam oven doesn't speed cooking, so it will take as long as in a regular oven. I'd guess a small frozen casserole would take over 30 minutes, easily.

Going from refrigerated to eating temp takes much less time, so that is reasonable to do for reheating.

For comparison, some of the refrigerated temp leftover plates I do take 3 and half minutes in our microwave, but 10 to 15 in the steam oven. If you can plan to thaw the entrees the day before in the fridge, you might be able to make the steam oven work for your reheating needs.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 10:11PM
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Thanks Zartemis, that is really helpful. What is it that you most love about your steam oven? What do you use your MW for?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 6:49PM
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We've only had our steam oven for about a week and already it is the most used appliance. Since our kitchen isn't finished, it's probably to early to tell what the long term pattern will be.

One of the big pluses (for us) is that it is our smallest oven so the preheat time is fast -- so we use it preferentially for all regular oven uses other than broiling. We haven't done meat/roasts in it yet, here are some tasks we've used it for that it does much better than a non-steam oven: Refreshing day or two-old pastries, bread, croissants. Steam-roasting vegetable mixes. We done some purely in the steam oven, and some sauteed first, then finished in the steam oven. The steam oven keeps them moister than they would be uncovered in a regular oven, yet can caramelize the outside, which neither the MW nor steam pot can do. Reheating refrigerated foods. I just warmed up some apple brandy cake. I was going to eat it cold, but remembered steam oven, put it on a plate and 8 minutes later it was warm and moist. I'd say reheating foods is my favorite (since I'm not currently the main cook in the house).

Since we got the steam oven, we haven't used the MW (the MW is on a cart in our temporary kitchen area). We bought a smaller MW with a curved back to nestle into a countertop corner. The only thing I don't like about it is that it looks like a dorm TV:

Here are tasks a MW beats the steam oven for:

  • defrosting things fast (like your frozen casseroles)

speed cooking root vegetables (And actually, this would be the case were a Speed Oven proper would excel. To fast roast root vegetables, you can start them in a MW then finish in an oven to roast the surface. With a speed oven, you can do it all in one oven.) faster dehydrating, e.g. you can make jerky in a MW, or spread thin vegetable purees and nuke them to dehydrate them and then grind into a vegetable powder. However, a MW usually can only make a small quantity at a time. some unique frying tasks: puffing grain/rice mixtures (although deep frying works here, too). Or see this video on making fried herb garnishes with a MW). quick melting tasks, e.g. butter or chocolate.

Most tasks can be done more than one way, it's just a matter of time and convenience. We got to use a steam oven in person and took an intro class on it as well. This is what convinced us we'd really benefit from it more than we would a speed oven. But, as the person in the household who does more reheating of meals, I must admit that if most of those meals were frozen and it wasn't convenient to defrost them in advance, I'd prefer a speed oven.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Basically, a microwave is better for large and dense things because it warms the inside as well as the outside. That includes your frozen dishes, and anything that can be stirred, like soups and stews, whether frozen or not. Because microwaves heat unevenly, and can be drying, they're not so good for heating leftovers.

The Gaggenau combi-steam, which Zartemis and I both have, on "regenerate" setting, is perfect for heating leftovers, as well as small, already cooked vegetables. You can put in a plate of meat, vegetables and starch and they'll all come out the perfect temperature, with nothing overcooked or weird.

A steam oven is also good for blanching and steaming vegetables, poaching fish or chicken, making hard steamed (not boiled) eggs, and lots of other stove top things. I've tried to do rice, which is supposed to work well, and have never had a good result for that, which is so easy to do on the stove.

The combi- part means you can add moisture to anything you can cook in a convection oven, which means no basting, and the food doesn't dry out.

Sandwiches can go either way. If it's a fairly wet sandwich (moist bread, spreads/condiments, cheese, etc.) it can zap pretty well. It takes longer to do it in the combi-steam, but you don't have to worry about what all is in it. For instance, crusty, pointy rolls don't zap well, but are great from the steam oven.

You can do all microwaving tasks with a small, inexpensive, countertop model. A steam oven, especially a combi-steam is much, much more expensive, but, in my opinion, worth every penny. I'd get the steam oven, and a Costco microwave. (What I did get is the combi- and an Advantium speed oven because I often need three ovens for entertaining.)

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Microwaves do penetrate the food, but only a centimeter or two (which is big for some/most foods), further in is heated by conduction.

They do heat unevenly, you can even use this fact to measure the speed of light!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 12:23AM
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Thanks zartemis and pllog! I loved the video about microwaving herbs! In time, I know would resent the space a countertop MW would take up, so I guess I have to decide if I can train the family to cope without a MW - so that I can get a steam oven (probably the Miele). There have been a few threads regarding Steam Oven vs. Speed Oven, and that is what my choice boils down to... So if anyone has further thoughts on that, please post them!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 12:56PM
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I don't think you can make popcorn in a steam oven.

I wouldn't be without a microwave and I don't know that your family would be as thrilled. You could give up a bit of cabinet space and put a microwave somewhere.

I have both a combi-steam oven and a speed oven (as well as a big, single convection oven). If I had to have just one of the smaller ovens, I'd keep the combi-steam and get a microwave. There's always a part of the counter that really isn't very useful for other things where one can stick a small microwave.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 3:50AM
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I'm not sure we can ditch our microwave either. But we are considering moving it to another room (our office, maybe) or even the garage!

We make small-kernel popcorn on the stove -- our main cook has a dedicated thin wok for the purpose that gets just wiped out afterwards (and has mega-seasoning after all these years) and he likes to butter and spices it by whim. But just as we don't want to change popcorn technique, neither might those who love their quick-and-easy MW popcorn fix.

We did consider an under-countertop drawer microwave, but in the end didn't want to give up that prime drawer space. But maybe it's an option for you?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 4:35AM
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LOL! I was just fishing for something that wouldn't do well in the steam oven that could be microwaved. :)

People use microwaves for lots of things that can be done as well or better on the stove, using more time and care. Besides popcorn, there's hot cereal, hot beverages, grains (e.g., rice), etc. Plus the whole defrosting thing.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2012 at 6:43PM
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plllog, I do agree. And fishing it is not. Steam oven popcorn would be a sad, sad thing.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 12:52AM
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We got our Miele steam oven two months ago and we love it. It takes a few minutes to begin steaming but the result is far superior for reheating than the MW. And for veggies, it's really nice to not have pots on the stove. Go for it! And if you're looking for a great Speed Oven, the Miele is it. I was worried that it wouldn't broil, but that's all we use it for and we've only used it twice as a MW. It's the best broiler we've had. What a relief! We have both Miele's under the counter side-by-side. They look nice, but it would have been nicer if Miele had coordinated the clock panels so they matched. The steam oven has a backlight I can't get rid of but the Speed Oven doesn't. Other than that, we're thrilled with the Miele's and I did a LOT of research!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 3:26PM
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