How do steam ovens work?
By combining water with hot air, instead of just pure heat, a steam oven helps lock in the original flavours of ingredients and helps food retain nutrients. It doesn’t introduce foreign elements into your food, unlike other methods such as boiling or frying, so it retains its original flavours and textures, bringing out the best in your ingredients without the need for added seasoning.
Something that might surprise a few people is that steam cooking can help you perfectly rise bread and cakes and get crispy skin on your roasts.
Aren’t steam ovens just for professional chefs? How can a home cook benefit?
Aside from cooking food quicker and more evenly, there are a few benefits for home cooks using a steam oven:
- Humidity prevents food from drying out, for tastier results;
- Textures are more tender and juicier;
- Colours of the food are richer; and
- Maintains the nutrients in your food better than other methods.
Adding steam helps to speed up the cooking process and make quick work of weeknight meals. It tends to cut cook times by 20 percent depending on the recipe – a bonus for busy households like mine.
It also helps me be more efficient. I can be reheating a pasta bake on the bottom shelf and steaming the broccoli for the kid’s dinner on the top shelf. Also, my kids love to jump up onto the island bench so safer I have all the food in the oven whilst I’m getting ready for bath time.
I’ve also found adding a little steam to my baking results in a much better crust and softer and not overcooked filling. Perfect balance of heat with steam.
What are the best foods to cook in a steam oven?
- Pies or pastries – the steam helps really puff up the layers of pastry
- Slow braised dishes like meat and vegetables.
- Seafood – it cooks gently and perfectly
- Vegetables – I love steaming lots of greens
- Grains, like rice
- Roasting meats – add a little steam
Can you use a steam oven for food hacks?
I literally pile a whole bunch of vegetables on different trays, like pumpkins, corn, zucchini, potatoes, beans and cook them in the oven all at once. They cook at different times, so I set a timer and remove the vegetables as they’re finished.
Steamed eggs + spinach – so easy, the quickest breakfast ever. Oil an oven dish, place spinach on the bottom, top with fresh eggs, salt, pepper and knob of butter and steam according to how you like you eggs cooked. Easy one to have up your sleeve.
Can you use the steam function for any recipe?
Steam cooking can be applied to most dishes including seafood and poultry for grilling, roasting and even reheating food. It’s also great to use when roasting veggies as it helps to retain moisture and speed up the cooking process.
What should people consider when buying a steam oven?
- A steam oven can do more than cook fish, dumplings, rice and vegetables. Bread, pizza, cakes and even pork belly, can all benefit from steam, because the moist heat method helps you get a better rise, crispier crust, fluffier centre, and tastier textures – and in energy efficient time.
- Steam prevents your dishes from drying out since the hot air ensures the outside is sealed, while the steam keeps the inside tender, not mushy.
- The Electrolux Bake+ Steam program is ideal when baking bread or other delicious flaky bakery goods. By using steam with this function, you’re able to create a hard crust on your cakes or pastries before they rise, which allows your food to retain its moisture and limit drying out as they rise and become pillow soft.
- Steam is a gentle and controlled way of cooking food which lets you regulate the temperature and humidity levels inside your oven. This helps to retain the food’s nutrients and vitamins, and in turn keeps your food fresher and more flavoursome.
Can't a microwave work better than a steamer?
With steam ovens, you get faster cook times than a conventional oven, though slower than a microwave – but a more even heating method. Microwaved food tends to dry out easily as the moisture evaporates when heated, while a steam oven continually adds extra moisture. Microwaves also won’t brown food like an Electrolux Combi Steam oven will. Plus, steam oven reheat functions for specific foods also reinvigorate them to their original glory – think fresh-out-of-the-box pizza and al dente pasta.
Is steaming messy work?
A steam oven isn’t hard to clean – at most a little moisture will help wiping up at the end of cooking. But if you’ve cooked something like a roast that splatters, you’ll need to clean the oven by hand. That’s unless you opt for an Electrolux pyrolytic oven, better known as a self-cleaning oven, which uses extreme heat to turn your grime into ash to be simply wiped away.
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