The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Home steam injection ovens

Boatguy's picture
Boatguy

Home steam injection ovens

I'm remodeling my house and beginning to think about ovens.  To my surprise I've found a number of steam injection ovens designed for home installation.  Could these possibly mean I can forget about "magic bowls" and DO cooking?  A real steam injection oven for home?  With the addition of a stone it could be pretty close to a commercial deck oven.

Has anyone seen the KitchenAid® 30-Inch Steam-Assist Double Oven, Architect® Series II in action, or any of its many competitors?

 

 

nikkiblum's picture
nikkiblum

So, Boatguy. What did you do? and how did it turn out?

We are specifying appliances for a new-build. When we started, a couple years ago, I spec'd the KitchenAid steam injection oven. (It's a remote enough, small-town location where I worried about service for the more "exotic" Gagg.) Now, KA no longer makes the oven and I'm torn between a pair of KA wall ovens without steam, and Miele's 30-inch wall ovens which do have the plumbed steam injection- convection system, about $5000 more.

I make artisan breads, mostly sourdoughs, every couple of days and am very serious. I get great results from baking in dutch ovens and clay bakers. While my breads are about as good as I need them to be,  I was hopeful that steam injection would give me greater flexibility to make different shapes, eg. baguettes, for example, for which I don't have a vessel.  Your thoughts? 

Boatguy's picture
Boatguy

I ended up buying the Wolf steam oven.  I also bake artisan breads, mostly naturally leavened and I can't recommend the  Wolf for bread baking, at least not for the benefits of the steam.  It's simply not designed for bread baking and doesn't provide much control of the steam.  The pictures that Wolf supplies are very very misleading!  Their plan for bread baking with steam starts with a cold oven; no oven spring for them!

The Miele looks better based on the comments in this thread:  http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/3588343/baking-bread-in-a-cso?n=15

I would replace my Wolf so I'll be curious to hear what you select and how it works out for you.

 

 

nikkiblum's picture
nikkiblum

I spent quite a lot of time reviewing that discussion thread earlier in the day and I am left confused. When we bake in a commercial oven, you put the loaves into a preheated oven, inject steam, and proceed with dry heat for the rest of the bake. If a steam-combi oven doesn't do that, and it sounds as if Wolf doesn't, maybe we should just stick with our DOs, which at least put out perfect boules and batards. 

Boatguy's picture
Boatguy

I just saw your post on the Houzz/Gardenweb thread.  I'm "Mantaray diver" over there, actually my wife's account, but she doesn't use it.

Yes, we're all trying to get a deck oven at home and the manufacturers don't seem to have figured that out yet.

The only thing I would add to your description of the SFBI deck oven experience is that the deck does retain the moisture throughout the "dry heat" baking, and then we would vent (remember the instructor tilting open the fronts?) for five minuets at the end.

The key feature of the deck that is tough to replicate is the steam injection.  The Wolf, Gag and Miele will all contain the moisture like a deck oven (Wolf calls this Humid).  The Gag and Miele will let you set a specific level of humidity throughout the bake cycle in 10% increments.  I can force the Wolf to "vent" by switching from Humid to Convection late in the cycle, but it all has to be done manually, their programming is very lame.

I wanted two ovens, so we have the large Wolf "M" series, and then the much smaller Wolf Steam.  If you're getting two ovens anyway, the steam is useful for other cooking, both as a small conventional oven (heats up faster, wastes less energy) and the steam cooking which I use a lot for reheating leftovers and frozen bread and we're still developing our skills for cooking vegetables in it.  Fish we prefer on the grill unless we want a poached finish.

So I think the continued search for a steam oven is worthwhile if you're getting two ovens, but I would insist on baking a few loaves (not just one), in the oven before you buy.  At this point it's probably a Miele, or Gag.  The Miele is less expensive and probably the best place to start.  The challenge is to find a knowledgable sales person who will let you really test the oven.  You should definitely not make my mistake of buying based on the literature and sales people without baking.

But if you're going to have a one oven kitchen, I would just get a conventional oven and use the vessels for baking.

BTW, this is a better forum for posting because I get notices when you post, whereas I have to check the other one and I don't do it too often.