If you’re searching for a new oven or simply enjoy keeping up with kitchen trends you’ve likely discovered the popularity of steam ovens. What is a steam oven? As its name suggests, it uses steam, instead of hot air, to cook food. Learn more about this type of oven to determine if it’s the right choice for your cooking needs and preferences.
Kitchen Tech 101: What is a Steam Oven?
While using steam to cook food is nothing new, using it within the confines of an oven presents new advantages and challenges. We’ll discuss what foods are best cooked in a regular oven as well as those that benefit from steam cooking. But, what is a steam oven and how does it work? Here’s what you need to know.
How Do Steam Ovens Work?
Steam ovens work by using hot, pressurized steam to cook food. To create this steam, most have a reservoir that must be filled with water before cooking. Other models connect directly to your home water supply. The heat from the oven then turns that water into steam that circulates around the food, cooking it throughout.
What is a steam oven able to cook? While there are some limitations to steam cooking, a wide variety of food benefits from this method.
What Foods Can I Cook in a Steam Oven?
Can you use a steam oven as a normal oven? In many cases, you can. Steam cooking better enables food to retain its moisture and many dishes benefit from that advantage.
Steam cooking can make the most of the following foods:
- Vegetables: Steam cooking locks in nutrients as well as moisture, so vegetables retain more vitamins and minerals.
- Fish: Steam cooking delicate fish prevents the dryness that can quickly occur in standard ovens.
- Meat: Smaller cuts of meat, such as pork chops and chicken pieces, better retain their moisture, preventing dryness.
- Desserts: Steam provides a more gentle heat than hot air, making it perfect for cooking delicate desserts like dumplings, custards and souffles.
- Leftovers: Steam cooking can rejuvenate leftover food that may have lost moisture after being cooked and stored.
Are there some foods that don’t benefit from steam cooking? Since steam can’t create browning or a crispy exterior, some meats and baked goods will not fare as well in a steam oven. This includes larger cuts of meat like whole turkeys and beef roasts as well as baked goods like cookies, muffins, cakes, and pies.
What’s The Difference Between Steam Ovens & Regular Ovens?
What is the difference between steam oven and oven cooking with regular models? Aside from using steam instead of hot air to cook food, the pros, and cons of steam ovens best illustrate additional differences.
Steam ovens’ pros and cons include:
- Healthier cooking: Steam locks in vitamins and nutrients that are otherwise lost in the hot air of a regular oven. Because steam cooking also enables food to retain moisture, there’s less need for unhealthy oils or butter to prevent dryness.
- Better taste and texture: When food retains its moisture, it often retains more flavor and has a more palatable texture.
- Faster cooking times: Because water conducts heat better than air, steam transfers heat more efficiently. This translates to quicker cooking times that can benefit a busy household and streamline entertaining.
- Can cook multiple dishes at once: While a regular oven’s hot air transfers taste and odor between dishes, steam does not. This enables you to cook dessert at the same time as your main course without affecting flavor.
- Higher price point: Steam ovens cost significantly more than regular models, especially when combined with convection capabilities that enable it to bake and roast more effectively.
- Cooking times require adjusting: Most recipes are created with regular ovens in mind. Since steam ovens cook faster, recipes may require significant changes to accommodate these quicker cook times
- Require consistent cleaning: Each time you cook, steam leaves behind condensation that lingers on oven walls. Since this can potentially affect the flavor of your next dish, steam ovens need to be wiped down after each use.
- Not ideal for all dishes: Foods that require crisping or browning like cakes, pies, cookies and larger cuts of meat don’t have optimum results in a steam oven. However, combination steam and convection models can mitigate this problem. What is a steam oven with convection capabilities? These ovens can also use convection cooking to crisp, brown and cook at higher temperatures.
Are steam ovens worth it? While it depends on your cooking preferences and budget, you may need to see it to decide. The knowledgeable staff and wide variety of steam and conventional options at Caesar’s Appliance Sales & Service can help inform your decision. Come visit us today!