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adegiulio

Steam ovens

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What Jacques Maniere book do you have? Does it address steaming at below the boiling point, such as one would do sous-vide or sous-vide style?

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The implements that he discusses are all familiar stove-top pieces that have mesh, screen, or colander-like holes for steam to pass through. As far as I can tell, there is no discussion of any method that doesn't involve steam (212 degrees F). When using stackable Chinese-type steamers, he says, for instance, 'if using one rack, steam for 3 minutes, if using 2, 6 minutes. I'm not sure how one would cook using these implements with water that was below boiling. He gives steaming times, but you have to know when the product is cooked. He has several pages of charts of steaming time for various things -- for instance, Duck (5 pounds, whole) 60 minutes with lid closed, 15 minutes with lid ajar, and 10 minutes browning in oven. He has hints like: "Most standard recipes tell yo to cover the poultry with foil and let stand in a warm place. The steamer works better: After steaming the poultry, turn the heat to very low and set the lid ajar; the poultry will stay warm without continuing to cook." I'm assuming that this is a sort of 'sous vide' principle of low moist heat doesn't continue to cook.

Reg

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This is interesting. What's the name of the book and when was it published?

Maniere was a master. I remember having a chicken breast at his restaurant in Paris in 1978 that was incredibly moist and delicious and unlike anything I'd had before; nowadays the same effect is obtained with sous vide. (He was also a shellfish master, and kept oysters alive in special water tanks in the basement of the restaurant.)

Of course with his sort of apparatus if the water is below 100 degrees C there will be little cooking going on; the beauty of your steam oven is that by pulsing steam based on the termostat's instructions the oven can maintain a moist environment at or just above the final temperature you want for the food.

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Sorry--I notice you answered the edition and title question earlier. I'll look for that book. I didn't know he had a book translated into English.

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The ISBN is 0-688-10507-6. My copy was obviously sold to the used book market by the Bowertston, Ohio, Public Library. It may be hard to find. I might trade you the English for the French if you can get a copy. It's interesting (as one who's done a lot of translation myself), the frontispiece says "Translated and Interpreted by Stephanie Lyness." I don't know who she is, but she obviously knew his cooking very well,, as she comments on how he sometimes used various recipes, or even mentions substitutes of familiar products for less familiar ones.

Reg

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Yes, it is fascinating. For me, it's a bit like speaking a foreign language in which I'm not completely fluent. I'm having to convert the procedures and principles into terms that are familiar to me, and I have to confess that I don't feel I'm on top of it. I will eventually try to convert the stove top steamer to my steam oven and cook something using his method and recipes, but as I sit back and contemplate it, the stove top steamer seems like a totally different beast than my Gaggenau, not to mention, first off, that the Gaggenau steams from temperatures from 80degrees to 400. I might go get a bamboo steamer just as a dry run.

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You shouldn't need the bamboo steamer; it's purpose is to hold in the steam created by boiling water at the bottom, but you have a whole chamber filled with steam. If you set for 100% humidity and then 100-110 degrees C you should have the same interior Maniere had inside his bamboo steamer, non?

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We are remodeling the kitchen and considering buying the new Wolf steam oven as part of the appliance package.

I know for baking bread its probably a no-brainer that it is a good idea but what about for regular oven

duty? IE: Casseroles, ribs, roasts etc.

To incorporate it into our plans, we would have to give up something, probably the convection microwave in favor of a micro drawer. Since we use the micro primarily to melt and reheat, this trade off does not seem to be a disadvantage.

Please community give us your thoughts. Will using a steam oven come close to the promises of better tasting foods?


Edited by Aloha Steve (log)

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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There's a lot of advantages to steam ovens - high end restaurants use them for lots of things - but I don't know about the Wolf model. It doesn't seem like you can control the humidity inside, like you can for a Rational CombiOven, which would be a true steam oven, but it's hard to tell from the Wolf literature.

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I've never used a steam oven, just improvised for bread baking, I'm not so sure though about it being much useful for anything else, I've never had anything I've been roasting that I just was dying to have more steam in the oven. Maybe someone else can give better advice, but if I was doing a casserole or roast, it seems like the addition of steam would inhibit the browning of the food. In a casserole type dish there should be plenty of liquid in it already, that's why steam comes out of the oven when you open it. I'm always leery of promises that food just tastes better with some new feature, the pleasant flavor and texture comes from proper preparation of the ingredients, not just steam in the oven. I personally would consider that feature useful for only bread.

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We have the Gaggenau combi steam oven and it was the best purchase we made for our kitchen remodel. We use it several times daily.

It is a little more flexible than the Wolf. For one, it is plumbed in, so no refilling of water tanks needed. Besides '100%' steam it has what it calls 60% and 80% steam for midrange levels of steam. It also has an option labelled '30%' steam, but if you read the manual, this just means that the oven vent is closed and the oven gets humidified from the steam from the food alone. The Wolf also has this vent-closed setting.

I've found that 60% and 80% settings aren't critical, and you can approximate them by first cooking at 100% and then drying out the food some with a 0% or full convection setting. If you look through the recipes in, say, Modernist Cuisine, they don't really utilize the midrange settings, recipes are usually done either with standard convection (0% added steam) or 90/100% steam. So the fact that the Wolf lacks them is not really a big deal.

Surprisingly, the function we use it most frequently for is reheating a plate of leftovers. Uncovered, or loosely covered, a microwave cooks fast but dries out the food. The steam oven heats a plate of fridge temp food reasonably quickly (about 15 minutes starting with a cold oven), and keeps it moist. We haven't used our microwave to reheat leftovers since we got the steam oven. Once you try reheating in a steam oven, I think you'll be hooked, at least when you can spare a little extra time.

Cooking with steam is also great for vegetables (keeps them sweeter than boiled), for flans and custards, and yes, for meat roasts (which I prefer to start at 100% steam and then switch to 0% at the end).

The cavity is smaller than a standard wall oven (at least on the Gaggenau) but this is a plus -- it preheats quickly.

You can cook with steam in a regular steam pot on the stove, or (to control dry bulb temp in addition to adding steam) put a tray of water in a oven, but the steam ovens make it so much more convenient. Plumbed-in is even more convenient but the plumbed Gaggenau new is very expensive, although there are some prior models still available here and there for much less.

We use our so much I wish we had two! With two cooks and multiple dishes, there is usually competition for the steam oven.

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We have the Gaggenau combi steam oven..........................

We use our so much I wish we had two! With two cooks and multiple dishes, there is usually competition for the steam oven.

Thank you for the info. Very helpful.


edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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Here's the link of the Steam-Convection oven for convenience sake:

OVEN

Any other thoughts?


Edited by Aloha Steve (log)

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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My boyfriend is dying to get the Gaggenau model SJMitch mentions above (to match the regular Gaggenau we already have), but even though I bake bread at least once a week, I have doubts. My boyfriend mentioned 'steamed vegetables/other things!' I had to point out that it makes more sense to use a steamer basket for a minute on the stovetop, and he hates most steamed things. In terms of cost-effectiveness, it seems like using a steam oven for many of the suggested/possible uses isn't that great: I can't see my way to firing up the oven for 15 minutes to heat leftovers, either, but that may have more to do with the sort of leftovers we usually have, which are easily heated very quickly on the stovetop.

But if I could get that steam oven for free, I'd consider it worth it for baking bread :wink:


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I have recently changed my convection oven and I also wondered about buying a Gaggenau. My main issue was that, being able to have only one oven, the Gaggenaus only reach around 220ºC or less if I remember well, while the convection oven I was looking at goes up to 300ºC, something I find very useful for roasting, pizzas etc.

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I have recently changed my convection oven and I also wondered about buying a Gaggenau. My main issue was that, being able to have only one oven, the Gaggenaus only reach around 220ºC or less if I remember well, while the convection oven I was looking at goes up to 300ºC, something I find very useful for roasting, pizzas etc.

You remember correctly about the temp, it does only go up to 450F. It has no broiler. It would also be rather small for an only oven. Not counting the microwave we actually have 3 ovens: a large gas oven with rotisserie and fantastic broiler, a mid-size regular convection wall oven, and the steam oven. I'd gladly trade the midsize oven for another steam oven, but not the rotisserie/broiler gas oven. I would not recommend it as an only oven unless one never does any broiling and doesn't need a large size oven.

For reheating food, the temp range I use is 230F-280F and the oven is well-designed, so I don't find it heats up the kitchen. I put the food in on the serving plate into the cold oven, turn it on and come back in 15 minutes. Unlike with a microwave, I don't need to bother covering it, so other than the time (15 minutes versus 5 to 7) I find it more convenient than the MW. It also holds far more than my microwave so I can reheat multiple people's plates at once. One downside is that the plate gets very hot as well, so we keep a stack of side towels near the oven.

If you live near a Purcell Murray you can go test one out. They have both free demos (with food) and will let you schedule a time to bring your food and cook with it. That was what convinced us it was worth it.

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I have a dedicated Cleveland steamer and it is wonderful for all sorts of vegetable and protein preparations. However, it does not replace the need for an oven. There are several smaller and some even portable steamer units in the marketplace. If money is no object, then get a Rational, but it has a three phase electric requirement.


"A cloud o' dust! Could be most anything. Even a whirling dervish.

That, gentlemen, is the whirlingest dervish of them all." - The Professionals by Richard Brooks

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I have a dedicated Cleveland steamer...

*ahem*, I think you mean you have a dedicated Cleveland Steam Oven...


PS: I am a guy.

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I also have the plumbed Gaggenau and use it frequently. Aside from reheating leftovers and steaming, it also does an emazing job reinvigorating bread. I have done custards, and eggs, and hosts of other stuff.

I like it alot, but not sure it could be my only oven.

Mike

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Does anyone bake bread with your steam oven?


edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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