Steam Oven Experiments

zartemisDecember 31, 2011

Cook Illustrated recommends roasting carrots in a hot oven (425 F) for 45 minutes, but for the first 15 minutes keeping them enclosed in a foil wrap to steam. I figured that's one of the things a steam oven can do, no foil needed. It's a simple recipe, calling only for butter, salt, and pepper. I'm lazy, I dumped the carrots into the steam oven pan, seasoned and plopped in the butter:

Although there are number of steam roasting options, I chose to replicate the original time, temp, steam settings of the original recipe as close as possible.

So I set it for 100% steam, 430 degrees for 15 minutes, then lowered the steam to 0% for the last 30.


From appearances, I was afraid they might be dried out inside, but underneath the caramelized exterior it was very moist. Nice and sweet!

It might have come out the same using a midrange steam/roast setting for the whole time, but this was an easy way to replicate the recipe as is.

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Thank you for sharing! I am going to install a Gagg steam oven soon and I love carrots. Do you have other sources of recipes using a steamer?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 7:30AM
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Forgive my ignorance - but are there viable small steam ovens (similar to microwave ovens) that do a similar things)? If so, I'd appreciate brand recommendations; I can't seem to find such things on epinions or consumer reports or GW for that matter. No room in kitchen or mind for a range with steam oven.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 7:52AM
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isnt there a panasonic microwave that has steam?
i did a quick search and found they had many models...

Genius microwave steam
Sonic Steamer
There is even a Steam Convection Microwave


    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 10:32AM
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The microwave steamers work as steamers, which is different from a combination steam oven. Do a search here and you'll find one guy who was really promoting them. He loves his.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 2:14PM
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For recipes specifically calling for the steam oven, see these:

Purcell Murray steam oven recipes

Gaggenau Spa Cuisine Cookbook PDF cookbook with a section on the steam oven.

Modernist Cuisine A very expensive multi-volume high-end/scientific encyclopedia of cooking that includes a small number of combi-oven (i.e. steam oven) recipes and detailed scientific descriptions of how cooking with humidity varies. Do not buy this for these recipes. A few libraries do have it, however, and that's the best way to see if it offers anything you might like.

Steam oven ribeye recipe Shows an adaption of sous vide techniques for the steam oven. Their example is poorly finished, however. It needs further searing at the end.

Steam oven tartlets

The example gave in the first post shows how you'd adapt an existing recipe calling for closed pot/foil covered cooking for the steam oven.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 5:50PM
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Here's a rendition of a fussy Modernist Cuisine method for roast bird using a combi oven ('combi oven' is the older, still in use, food industry term for a 'steam oven').

Roast Cornish Hen

I've also tagged some recipes with 'steam-oven' over on BigOven

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 7:55PM
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That was interesting, zartemis. Fussy, indeed. So do you think that instead of hanging in a steam oven, the rotisserie in oven mode with a pan of liquid for moisture would produce comparable or better results?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 10:05PM
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jscout: in this recipe they said they are relying on the precision of the oven to maintain a temp of 140 degrees for 4 hours+. In the book they actually test how well the Rational Combi oven tracks temp (i.e. seeing if it has a big or small hysteresis and over what temp ranges). I'm wary of the bloggers' experiment now, given that I haven't seen data yet on whether the Gaggenau steam oven has the precision required for this recipe. Now, a regular Gagg wall oven with rotisserie might be able to do this, but not your typical range oven which is unlikely to be able to set at and maintain a tight 140 degrees (n.b. the book actually calls for 144; they should have used 145. The Gagg can only be set in 5 degree increments, unlike a Miele). This recipes calls for hanging from the legs, breast down, so a rotisserie mount wouldn't work.

I think I jumped the gun adding their experiment to the steam oven test thread here, since it's about precision, which they haven't established the Gagg (or other home combi ovens) can do, rather than all about the steam.

I'd like to see them track dry and wet bulb temps and see how the Gagg compares to the much more expensive Rational.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 10:57PM
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I tried one-o-them no-knead bread recipes, one with the least amount of work possible (in particular, the '5 minute a day' bread)

And although the Gagg steam oven has a 'misting' function, I figured I'd just set the oven to 100% steam for the first, oh, 8 minutes of baking and then switch to 0% for the last 22. That way the dough gets heat and steam immediately and solidly initially and I don't have to stand there pressin' and holdin' the steam button. Just one turn of the knob after 8 minutes.

This no-knead bread doesn't really 'rise' during the rest before baking, it mostly relies on oven spring. And even though I had an undersized loaf and should have slashed it deeper, it still sprung (stretching the slashes completely) and after I took it out, the crackly crust 'sung' for awhile when it hit room temp air. Even easier than finagling it carefully into a dutch oven (CI method), putting a pan with water in, or using a cloche (none of which are really that hard anyway ...). And a technique that can be done in steam ovens that have only the 100% and no-steam settings.

I was going to get a stone, and then I saw the cast iron griddle sitting on the stove -- hey, it fits!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 3:48AM
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    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 8:54PM
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