Steam ovens are becoming increasingly popular in the home kitchen due to their ability to take cooking to the next level. But what makes them so good and why are they becoming the oven of choice? To help explain, four of Australia’s best chefs, James Viles (Biota, NSW), Massimo Mele (Grain of the Silo, TAS), Scott Bridger (Bib & Tucker, WA) and Richard Ousby (Former Executive Chef at Stokehouse Group, QLD and VIC), have put together a steam buying and cooking guide.
How do steam ovens work?Steam ovens combine water and hot air to create steam. A combination steam oven combines the unique capabilities of a steam oven with the cooking efficiency of a convection oven. These modes can be used separately or in conjunction with one another.
What can I cook in a steam oven?The use of steam can be used for varying styles of cooking from getting the extra rise in your bread and pastries to perfecting your roast pork. 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 vegetables as it helps to retain moisture and speed up the cooking process.
What are the benefits of cooking with steam?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 retains the food’s nutrients and vitamins, and in turn keeps your food fresher and more flavoursome.
Why use oven’s steam function?
With steam, you can effortlessly grill, bake or roast to perfection. The FullTaste Steam function combines steam with hot air with steam throughout the cooking process. The Bake+ Steam function uses a touch of steam during the cooking process to specifically for baking to ensure you get richer colours, crispier crusts and a delicious soft inside texture.
Massimo Mele (Grain of the Silos – NSW, TAS)
The Electrolux Multifunction Pyrolytic steam oven allows you to not only steam but also to roast and bake while injecting steam into the oven to help keep your food moist.
When I’m at home I like to cook simple food. I recommend steaming a piece of fish with a delicious salad for the perfect week day dinner. I also love steamed crayfish with saffron, garlic and fennel butter – it’s always a crowd pleaser!
Richard Ousby (Former head chef, Stokehouse QLD)
The FullTaste Steam program on an Electrolux multifunction oven uses a combination of steam and hot air to preserve the foods nutrients and lock in flavour to help you serve up restaurant quality dishes.
Steam is fantastic for baking as the humidity helps to brown your food and prevent it from drying out. The Bake + Steam function in Electrolux ovens uses a touch of steam to create even lighter and fluffier cakes. It also helps to prevent a thick crust forming when baking custard and puddings.
Scott Bridger (Bib & Tucker, May Street Larder and Goody Twos - WA)
Experiment with different vegetables and meats in your steam oven. A steam cooking favourite in our house is the humble roast chicken. This time of the year we take some fresh Manjimup truffle and place them under the skin of the chicken with some thyme, season well and brush with a little melted butter.
James Viles (Biota Dining, Bertha’s and Barn by Biota– NSW)
A steam oven is a great way to quickly put together a delicious yum cha session or cook a whole fish for the whole family. My favourite steam recipe is steamed orange pudding with soured cream. It is such a luxury during winter!