If we were single, we'd marry our steam oven

sgoldfieldMarch 2, 2009

Thanks to a lot of helpful information here on Gardenweb we have been super happy with our kitchen (new home build) since moving in Dec. 19. Want to provide some feedback for others now, especially about the steam oven which was a purchase we made with a LOT of trepidation.

We have a Kitchenaid 30" Steam Assist oven and absolutely adore it. Just a week after moving in, we threw a stuffed turkey in there and prayed Christmas dinner would turn out ok. It came out absolutely gorgeous, tender, and done in 2 1/2 hours, when it would have taken 4 and a half in our old electric oven. We've experimented with breads, other baked goods, pizza (awesome), fresh vegetables (asparagus rocks our world with only a little sea salt), pot roast, casseroles, and find we use the steam feature often and that it improves many of the things we cook in quality and speed. No problems with reliability or noise, its worst trait is a bit slow to preheat (when needed). And its pretty to boot! We've largely had to experiment our way along with it though, it has only the most basic recipe info. It has a proofing and warming feature as well as convection or regular baking so it could be the only oven you ever need. Well, except....

We also went for the GE Advantium 120V wall installation to be our primary microwave and overflow oven. If you don't do much oven cooking, or were very space constrained, this could also be the one oven you'd ever need. We use it about 90% microwave, and 10% overflow from the oven or warming drawer or broiler. It heats up quicker than the Kitchenaid and its smaller dimension makes it ideal for quickly and efficiently warming up leftovers or acting as a warming drawer or broiler so we do use it as an oven more often than I'd expected to. From the day we flipped the switch on, everyone has found it easy to program and it has some cool microwave functions like "melt". We have it installed in an undercounter location at our island, and had a tiny service issue not long after installation (installation problem) and no one blinked about its location, warranty honored no problem.

A couple of other things we've ended up really liking: We had our contractor cut two openings on the backside of our chopping block to hold stainless metal restaurant bins which we use to catch trimmings, to hold finished veggies or meat to be carried over to the stove, to grate cheese into, and even have used it on taco night as the place for salsa and toppings. We have plastic clear lids for the bins, and extras in a drawer so we can just slip out the dirty bin and replace it with a clean one. Each bin cost us about $5 with the lid. They come different depths and widths so it could be a retrofit/remodel item too.

We also have liked the two granites we picked out: Cambrian Antiqued Black, and Santa Cecilia. The black is low key and although it shows some dust, its easy to clean and gets lots of compliments for its leather-like texture and depth. The Santa Cecilia covers up all cooking spatters almost too well, I've trained myself to wipe it after cooking there because if I look at it to see if its dirty I'd probably miss most of the mess.

Two things not so great: Our island is too deep for anyone to reach all the way across and is very hard to keep clean or utilize effectively for more than just piling stuff. And we inserted in-baseboard under cupboard pull out steps in two locations because I am short (4'11") and I don't use the steps at all. They are hard to reach and wobbly to stand on.

Hope this helps anyone with similar interests!


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Thanks so much for posting this info. I have a couple questions. How involved $$ was it to get your steam oven plumbed?

Would it be possible for you to post a pic of your cutting board? I'm interested in this bin concept.

The Advantium info was really helpful. I was going to get one all along and then periodically veer away and think I should get something different. I plan on using it as my main oven when just cooking for two. Is it annoying ot switch out from MW to oven?
Thanks for the insights!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 6:23AM
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To find bins, search : steam table pans or food pans.
Polycarbonate, polysulfonate, or stainless. E.g. "One Sixth Size Hi Heat Amber Polysulfonate Food Pan 6" Deep. Designed to accommodate extreme temperatures ranging from 40F to 375°F ....." from Carlisle.

On commercial refrigeration counter top units these pans stick down into the refrigerated air and remain cool. They come in sizes like one ninth, one sixth, one third of a "standard" pan size. They can be shallow or deep.

On salad tops / sandwich tops / pizza tops, this is how you will see them described:
(4) 1/3 or (8) 1/6 size pan
(6) 1/6 & (2) 1/9 size pan

1/9 size (0.7 Qt.) -- L 6 3/4" - w4" - d 2 1/2" Shallow
1/9 size (1.0 Qt.) -- L 6 3/4" - w4" - d 4" Reg.
1/9 size (1.7 Qt.) -- L 6 3/4" - w4" - d 6" Deep
1/6 size (1.1 Qt.) -- L 6 3/4" - w6 3/8" - d 2 1/2" Shallow
1/6 size (2.5 Qt.) -- L 6 3/4" - w6 3/8" - d 6" Deep
1/3 size (5.7 Qt.) -- L 12 3/4" - w7" - d 6" Deep

Hope I've nailed it for you.
- David

cap opening 10302 103201 Top Notch

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 9:35AM
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Pictures, pictures, we want pictures. You can't gush about your steam oven and counters without posting pics. That's just cruel. ;D

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 9:44AM
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How deep is too deep for your island? What size is your island and what is it's function in your kitchen? Does it have a sink, any appliances?

Yes, yes, laxsupermom isn't the only one who would love pics!

BTW, 5'1/2" tall :)

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 12:05PM
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Photos Please!!!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 1:15PM
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Thanks, Susan, that was some very helpful info! I want to see pics too.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 2:06PM
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I too want pics - 5ft, 2" tall!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 2:20PM
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ditto for pictures.

5ft 2in. here.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 7:16PM
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Again, pics please.

Barely 5'4" and nervous about the island...

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 7:59PM
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Bumping in hopes of pics and responses from OP

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 12:11PM
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Was thinking about that steam assist oven, but was concerned about KitchenAid reliability. Still second guessing my choice. Sigh! the road not taken...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 4:41AM
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Oh gosh I am so sorry I posted and then disappeared for a week. Ok lets see and thanks for all the responses I'll try to answer all questions best I can!
I'll give verbal answers and then try to work out getting pictures posted sometime in the next day or so.

Steam Oven info:
The steam oven requires a single cold water plumbing line into the oven. So actually very simple, although its a lot easier when you are doing a new build than a remodel (a crawl space would probably help ease remodel pains.) No drain required! I can't tell you a cost because it was buried in our overall plumbing bid, sorry. I DID have to remind both the plumber and builder about 15 times to plumb it tho even though we noted it specially in the plans. Just not on their usual list of to dos. On the reliability front, we read and read and read and concluded (with some level of uncertainty still) that Kitchenaid had finally replaced the component that was burning out during the clean cycle of their ovens and that if you bought a new one, you should be ok. BUT we haven't dared run the clean cycle yet :-) and I still felt guilty buying their product when they had gone for years without admitting and fixing the problem. We bought an extended warranty for both the oven and for our GE Profile Fridge just in case. And we bought from a local well reputed appliance dealer who we felt would honor the lemon guarantee also. But we do use the oven almost daily with no problems 2 months in. As you'd hope! We paid $3200 for the single oven, which was a definite splurge, and cheaped out on some of the other appliances going the scratch and dent route with those.
Advantium info:
You have to switch from a metal tray to a glass tray when using microwave or oven. The trays have grooves and fairly easily catch on the metal turntable mechanism, and both trays easily wipe clean. We have a drawer under the oven in which we keep the tray not in use, and the stand you are supposed to add in to do broiling. So far, no one has forgotten to switch the trays, and the oven gives you a digital reminder when you set the cooking times to use the metal or glass tray. If you were only to buy this one oven, I'd be sure and get the 120 which has a larger size interior than the 240. Read through the dimension info carefully. This one was a craigslist buy, about half retail, you find them regularly on craigslist and ebay. We also got our gas cooktop (Dacor 5 burner) off ebay, one third retail. This one was a lower risk, since there is so little that can go wrong with a gas cooktop mechanically.
Island info:
Upper counter is 4'6 across and 8' long. The long side is fine, the 4'6 width is insane. The upper counter is 43" off the floor so to start with, if I'm standing on the floor I can reach about 2' of the 4'6. Even if I lean out while standing on the stool, I can't come close to the far edge. I think we should have held it to about 3' deep. On top of that width, there is another 2'5" of lower counter width which holds our cooktop and funny caboose sink/wet bar. So when standing at the stove, I can only just barely reach the edge of the higher counter to put something up there, and then its too far away for anyone to reach from the other side. However it does hold a LOT of junk. notebooks and scanners and mail and coupon clippings and pan lids and the dog treat jar.... you get the idea. (slobs? us? oooops.)
There is also a lower counter on the backside which is the cutting and food prep areas wrapping around from the cooktop side. Imagine an L shaped lower counter wrapping two sides of the higher counter. The backside lower counter is where the cutting board is with the bins, and that section is actually another couple of inches lower than the rest of the L. So we have three counter heights on the island, 43" height eating/piling things surface, then 36" height with a corner "wet" bar, a cooktop, a prep area with the advantium below, and then a 30" height butcher block.
The pics will come next. thanks for your patience. I hope this made sense so far.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 3:11AM
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First time embedding pic, Tell me if this is too big to work....

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 1:44PM
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I love your windows and the color combination of granite, wood, and paint on your island. I can see what you mean about it being tough to clean the section where the flowers are. The pic is a little grainy so I'm having a tough time seeing the perimeter cabs and backsplash, but what I can see looks beautiful! You can resize your pics in photobucket to medium or large.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 3:42PM
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Pics now hopefully reasonable size

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 7:33PM
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Your kitchen is glamorous. That is not usually a descriptive word I would use on a room but that is what came to mind. Your decisions work very well together and I am sure you are enjoying all the hours spent in food preparation and entertainment.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 10:20AM
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We are considering divorce! The steam-assist Kitchenaid oven has proven very unreliable to use as a steam oven, the main reason we picked this expensive oven. We think the issue might have to do with our water softener clogging up the steam function, but we have to call service after 3-4 uses, it shuts down with an error message. We purchased an extended warranty which is about to run out so we are worried now. If anyone has experience with adding a filter or has had regular shut downs without a water softener we'd love to hear more. The preheat time is also pretty unbearable.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 3:29AM
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Sorry to hear your woes!

We installed a Gaggenau Combi Steam oven and seriously ever since we moved into the house, I have been having a fling with the combi. Sometimes we hook up a couple of times every single day. Just yesterday, we used the oven to steam eggs for breakfast. Reheat leftover baked oatmeal. In the evening, the oven helped me do a quick bruschetta. We do have a water softener and with the Gagg, one of the initial calibrations is for water hardness. They have a descaling process if needed and an optional Britta filtration system. I do not have that but the water softener does help according to my local service guy. The preheat is fantastic.. Things get hot and steamy real fast :)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 4:56PM
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Thanks for the update, Susurradeluz. I've been wanting one of these.

GWlolo - how long have you had yours?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 5:44PM
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Susan, wonder if an RO (reverse osmosis) filter would help ?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 3:55PM
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GreenHighlighter - I got an older Gagg steam oven on clearance almost 2 years ago. It sat in my garage until it got installed 3 months ago. I have been using it for several weeks. But during design we did talk to Purcell Murray , who is the local distributor and they suggested a water softener. We were anyways going to do a whole house softener, so it worked.

Angela, you cannot use RO as it produces very pure water who's considered aggressive meaning it cannot be routed through any metal pipes. It will corrode away at any metal if it comes in direct contact. It can only be routed through PE pipe or PE lined pipes.

Maybe time to talk to a plumber?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 7:38PM
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