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Thanks for the responses, but I still feel like my questions remain.

I understand that humidity both keeps a product from drying while raising the wet-bulb temperature closer to the boiling point...but what makes 285F and 80% better for retherming X vs 285 and 100% or 40% for that matter?.

If I read MC correctly, at temperatures above 175F, there is no practical difference between 35% humidity and 100%.

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  • 4 months later...

Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at home think so, but after searching around I don't see a lot of uptake on them. There are expensive steam ovens from high end vendors like Viking, Gaggenau, and Meile. A couple of countertop versions from Cuisinart and Electrolux. A few folks here and on gardenweb that have them and mostly talk about baking bread. But not really as much discussion as one would expect for something MC rates so highly.

My kitchen remodel will have a 36" gas range. I wanted to compliment that with a smaller electric oven, so this is my chance to own a combi (steam) oven. But if they really aren't all that useful, then I might just get a combo convection microwave instead to free up the space taken by my countertop microwave.

And for those that have them, how do the "steam ovens" compare to "steam assist ovens" like those from KitchenAid?

tia,

David

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I use them at work but honestly can't imagine the need to have one in a home kitchen. I mean, if I had truly unlimited funds and space and was building a dream kitchen I would have a Rational or two, but for real world situations it would be REALLY far down on my list of things to buy for my kitchen.

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I have the plumbed Gaggenau and I love it. It is a major luxury,not a "must have". It does certain things amazingly well from steaming and reheating to baking. I was lucky enough to build a dream kitchen and chose to go with a steam oven instead of an electric wall. My range has one full gas oven and a smaller one.

However, if you were to ask me to choose between my immersion circulator and my steam oven, I'd have to go with the immersion circulator.

Mike

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  • 4 weeks later...

My old oven broke down few weeks ago, which gave me the perfect excuse to replace it with a combi steam oven.

I am curious about experiences of other people and discovering how tho get max results using my new toy.

The model is V-Zug Combi steam XSL, fully adjustable to a degree C, with temp range from 30-235 and different steam levels.

I had it for 3 days now and so far I baked some sourdough bread (brilliant), puff pastry, roasted veggies, steamed fish, made caramel flan (so easy) and did attempt at sous vide vegetables at 85 C (something did not quite work there).

I am looking for general guidelines, how do you transition from conventional to this type of oven. What works and what does not? How to do SV properly (would mostly do vegetables, as I have a circulator for meat). Especially looking for advice re pizza, since pro baking starts with steaming in the cold oven, then goes over in hot air, my guess is that this does not work with very thin pizza crusts but what are other experiences?

Any other advice welcome.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, to be honest, I'm not sure there isnt anything it doesnt do better than a normal oven. For me, I choose to do certain things other ways (like sous vide + sear on infrared grill) versus using the combi. The cavity is also small, I'm not sure you could do a 25 lb turkey in there.

1 - Reheating. It reheats leftovers and makes them taste fresh, even leftover chinese food. This may sound superficial, but it makes the difference as to whether leftovers get eaten in my house or not. (thich can be a moneysaver)

2. - Roasting, having control over the moisture during roasting is pretty amazing Surprising enough watching the color change before your eyes in a "Moist" environment

3- cooking custards, and baking. It really does wonders for crusts

4. Steaming (Duh!) I steam everything I can now, including buns for burgers (The trader joes slider buns steamed areamazing)

5. Its easy, throw a piece of fish, and some veggies in there, season, and in 10 minutes you have a meal.

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  • 1 month later...

I've used the countertop Electrolux combi http://tools.professional.electrolux.com/Mirror/Doc/BR/BR_BR-9JDBO_1_34_1_1_9JDBOU.pdf for several years (about 10?) and am less than impressed. It's not very well built for something marketed and priced as a "professional" product, it doesn't steam well at lower temperatures, the oven has worse hot spot problems than some non-convection ovens (and that convection fan can't be turned off, annoying if you're doing things like souffles), the water tray holds enough for barely an hour's worth of steam, and the timer only allows the oven to run for 2 hours before it shuts it off, so it can't do prolonged low-and-slow cooking unattended. And it's not very big; usable interior space is about 22x30cm.

On the plus side, it works well as a convection oven and holds temperature better than any other countertop oven I've used, even in the 50c-100c range, where most ovens just don't work. And it is quite portable, which combined with its ability to hold low temperatures, makes it useful for catering. And it takes standard 1/2 pans.

For a while there was a very cheap identical-looking China-made knock-off of this available from a Hong Kong supplier, but it's gone. So if you want a cheap combi, especially one that doesn't require plumbing and wiring, your options are still limited - which is why I ended up with this in the first place. The pretty Miele and Gagganeau home units aren't bigger and are a lot more expensive (at least the last I looked) and proper commercial combis like Rationals are another order of magnitude more expensive.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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  • 7 months later...

However, if you were to ask me to choose between my immersion circulator and my steam oven, I'd have to go with the immersion circulator.

Mike

Hi Mike,

I'm thinking about upgrading my old convection oven to a combi. I have read a lot of posts, and one of my main doubts was precisely what you mention: Does it make any sense to spend the money in a combi provided that I already have a sous-vide immersion equipment and a Thermomix which includes a steamer to cook vegetables, ...? I think it does not make sense.

I have read Modernist Cuisine and I have not seen any example where wet air is needed beside fish or vegetables low temp steam cooking. The only exception I'm aware o combi baking is bread, and in this case humidity is only needed the first 10-15 min, which can be attained putting a tray with volcánic stones in the bottom of the oven and a adding boiling water to the tray just before start baking the bread.

Does your experience confirm my impression?

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I've used the countertop Electrolux combi http://tools.professional.electrolux.com/Mirror/Doc/BR/BR_BR-9JDBO_1_34_1_1_9JDBOU.pdf for several years (about 10?) and am less than impressed. It's not very well built for something marketed and priced as a "professional" product, it doesn't steam well at lower temperatures, the oven has worse hot spot problems than some non-convection ovens (and that convection fan can't be turned off, annoying if you're doing things like souffles), the water tray holds enough for barely an hour's worth of steam, and the timer only allows the oven to run for 2 hours before it shuts it off, so it can't do prolonged low-and-slow cooking unattended. And it's not very big; usable interior space is about 22x30cm.

On the plus side, it works well as a convection oven and holds temperature better than any other countertop oven I've used, even in the 50c-100c range, where most ovens just don't work. And it is quite portable, which combined with its ability to hold low temperatures, makes it useful for catering. And it takes standard 1/2 pans.

For a while there was a very cheap identical-looking China-made knock-off of this available from a Hong Kong supplier, but it's gone. So if you want a cheap combi, especially one that doesn't require plumbing and wiring, your options are still limited - which is why I ended up with this in the first place. The pretty Miele and Gagganeau home units aren't bigger and are a lot more expensive (at least the last I looked) and proper commercial combis like Rationals are another order of magnitude more expensive.

This is probably still too expensive for me but it sure looks interesting. Do they make a US model? I have a 220v converter but I doubt it would take the wattage.

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  • 4 months later...

I have a Rational 101 oven in my house and love it. I went with a gas unit that needed 110V 15 amp plus gas and highly recommend it.

I explored the electric route the problem is Rational other than their smallest unit requires multiple phase power which is simply not available in other than newer or larger Commerical buildings.

We are on the same path I started with the Electrolux and had some great results but had trouble keeping them running and getting them serviced.

Rational is in an entirely different league with service not only fast and knowledgeable but the sales staff at least here in Canada are very accomplished chefs that know exactly what they are doing.

The only issue I know about is the servicing dealers insurance is not valid for non Commerical establishments so if we ever need service other than what I can handle an issue we need to deal with.

Rational was not recommending the install in a residential environment but at the same time the service and support I have received from Rational is far above anything else I have experienced. I have two of the Electrolux units never spoke to Electrolux considered it a huge thing just to get manuals. Absolutely no end user support . Rational on the other hand has amazing support.

Mike Macdonald Calgary

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