What is a Steam Oven?
Over recent years LWK Kitchens have seen a significant increase in the number of people requesting steam ovens for their new kitchens. This increase is representative of a much wider surge in popularity, as steam ovens are becoming more commonplace. They are especially popular in replacing microwaves, offering an affordable means for cooking food quickly and easily, but with the added benefit of being healthier. Steam ovens cook food using hot, pressurised steam, and can be used for cooking most types of food including: meat, fish, rice, vegetables, pasta, potatoes, bread and even desserts such as muffins and cakes.
Steam ovens versus conventional ovens
There are a number of reasons for choosing steam ovens in addition to convection or fan ovens. Firstly, (as already mentioned) it is a quick and convenient method of cooking so an ideal fit for the everyday modern busy lifestyle. Second to this, where other forms of cooking can dry food out, (particularly the microwave), the steam cooking process is kinder to food. Steaming helps food retain moisture during cooking and prevents it from burning. This ensures food is tender, has a better colour and texture, and that it also tastes better! In turn, it is better for you as steamed food retains more vitamins and nutrients than other forms of cooking. Steaming also doesn’t require oil, unlike food cooked on a hob or in an electric oven. These usually require oil because the heat produced is very dry. The lack of oil (again) makes it a healthier option because it reduces the food’s calorie and fat content.
Steam oven cleaning
In addition to such benefits, steam ovens are popular because they are easier to keep clean than some other types of cooker. This is largely because greasy food stains and spillages can’t become baked onto the surfaces. Users reap the subsequent benefit as it eliminates the ‘elbow grease’ traditional ovens often require; Instead they just need a light wipe down with a damp cloth after use.
Steam combination ovens
A further benefit of steam ovens is that they are available as part of a multi-function oven. These allow different types of cooking for different types of foods to take place at the same time, and all without any transfer of flavour. So at the same time as steaming potatoes or vegetables, you can also bake and roast with traditional hot air cooking…This is hugely beneficial because a drawback of a steam oven is that they cannot brown or ‘crisp’ food (and let’s face it, browned meat along with crispy roast potatoes are the making of a good Sunday dinner!) Similarly baked goods such as bread will also emerge pale and without the crustiness you would hope for! So if important to you, the answer is a combination steam oven. This cooks the food with steam, before browning with a dry heat to ensure the crisped quality and texture you would expect for such foods.
How does a steam oven work?
Steam ovens have a sealed cooking chamber and within this there is an inbuilt reservoir of water, or water tank. The water tank is detachable and needs refilling before every use because boiling the water during cooking causes it to evaporate. Most steam ovens ensure maximum efficiency by only boiling as much water as is needed during cooking, whilst a thermostatic control allows steam temperatures of 35-100ºC. Boiling the water vaporises it, filling the oven with steam. This in turn cooks the food. Continuous bursts of steam are injected into the oven and it is this that, besides evenly cooking the food, prevents it drying out.
Many models such as the Siemens range also have automatic cooking options to choose from. These require only the weight and type of food to be programmed in, for it to cook at the optimal temperature and for the ideal length of time to achieve the best results.
What to consider before Buying
Before deciding on a steam oven option there are some factors you should consider. As mentioned steam ovens cannot brown food, so how important this is for your cooking requirements should factor in your decision making. This drawback is easily overcome if you choose the multifunction model of steam oven, but you have to be prepared to pay an additional cost for this.
Secondly, you should consider the size of your intended steam oven and whether it will accommodate all of your cooking needs. Where space permits many homeowners, opt for a small steam oven in conjunction with another oven model, just as you might do with a microwave. Whether side by side, one above the other or entirely separate, integrated ovens can perfectly fit a sleek kitchen aesthetic. They are available in a small 38cm version, or standard 45cm model. But whilst a 38cm compact steam oven might neatly fit a kitchen space, such a small oven is not ideal as the sole oven option as you may find some foods won’t easily fit inside (just think of your family turkey at Christmas!) For the steam oven, or any other type of oven, you must be sure to select the size and style that is certain to accommodate the needs of all who will be using it.
Please Contact us.if you would like any further information or advice on steam ovens.