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KitchenAid steam assist oven - bread baking

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kat56's picture
kat56

KitchenAid steam assist oven - bread baking

We bought a Kitchenaid 30 inch steam assist and convection oven last month. We just  baked our first loaves of bread using the steam feature and it is great! great oven spring, super crispy crust!

The current Kitchenaid models require a water line, instead of the reservoir in older models. We used the autosteam feature, which will inject steam into the oven in the last ten minutes of preheating and then inject periodically during the first fifteen minutes. It finishes with dry heat, but also uses convection throughout. Another *bonus* is that, with convection, you don't have to turn the bread halfway through the cycle, as I did with my old stove.

The oven is electric and the range is gas. It was expensive (4-5000 dollars) but so far it has been a great stove. Heard the horror stories but there are not many ranges that offer the steam injection feature. Most of them are wall ovens not freestanding ranges.

There are not very many posts on the internet on this subject, probably because the feature is rare and the ranges expensive but so far it has been worth it.

You can also do manual steam, which allows you to specify the percentage of steam and duration. We haven't tried that yet. One tip we saw on the web is that you should decrease your cooking temperature by 25 degrees - whether you use steam and convection or just convection.

The only way we achieved that crust otherwise was to make Peter Reinhart's Pain Ancienne using the no-knead method(which is a very wet dough) and bake it in a cast iron pot with the lid in place, which keeps the moisture in and in a very hot oven basically creates the same kind of steam. Only works for round loaves, though.

Will keep you updated with the progress on our new stove, as we learn its features. Hopefully we will not have to resort to Kitchenaid support.

Here is pic of the finished product

 

isand66's picture
isand66

Thanks for sharing.  Those look great and I'm very jealous of your new oven :)

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Keep posting reports.  I have seen tons of posts in different sites asking about the steam assist ovens, but haven't seen any reviews from actual users.  You might also want to make a post in the forum on baking equipment.  Here is a post just a few months ago from someone asking about home steam injection ovens - with no response

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/34717/home-steam-injection-ovens

kat56's picture
kat56

I know! I only found maybe one and there were not a lot of "useage" details and that is why I went into detail in the post. It's what I wanted to know. It was really hard to find just about anything about these ovens and there don't seem to be a lot of freestanding ones. I think Wolff makes one but it's a LOT more expensive (I think i saw it listed for 8000). 

mdvpc's picture
mdvpc

My wife and I are planning on putting a steam oven in the house we are building now.  I look forward to more of your posts. 

kat56's picture
kat56

I have been told by a colleague that the steam also is great for baking...like cheesecake, which often is baked in a water bath...and they said turkey and chicken get an amazing skin. If you can do it I would say go for it...you can get something like this effect with spritzing the oven walls every minute or so for the first ten minutes but it's a pain and I broke the light in my old oven doing it.

YosemiteMark's picture
YosemiteMark

I'm glad you posted this - I just started looking at new ovens, noticed the steam assists on the KitchenAid, and was hoping it delivered good results for bread baking.  An internet search turned up this 1-day old post.   Glad to see that this may work as advertised.  Thanks for posting, and please do keep us updated!

wwitkows's picture
wwitkows

I remodeled my kitchen last year and also got this oven. It's GREAT!  Not just for breads but for anything else you want to bake.  You never had chicken, turkey or pork roasts so moist as when you use the steam function and it takes less time too.  I highly recommend the KitchenAid Steam assist oven.

kat56's picture
kat56

That is very helpful! We went on forums and they scared the daylights out of us...of course, they were complaint forums so that was the nature of the posts. I don't think I will ever use the self-clean feature because of that, but these were about earlier models. 

DoubleMerlin's picture
DoubleMerlin

Nooooo, when other people talk about cars, I talk about ovens. I'm too much a broke college student to get an oven like that, but oh if i could....

lffoster's picture
lffoster

I have been researching this oven and very little information is available and am so glad I found this RECENT post!! Few questions- does it have a long preheat? Ive also read that with this oven there is no need to preheat. thoughts?

Also- is it loud? Does it blow a significant amount of hot air during cooking? Thanks!

kat56's picture
kat56

-the preheat is not long..I havent timed it but I would say about 10-15 minutes to get up to 350 or 375..it's about a third the time of my previous oven (non convection thermador)

-you are only supposed the use the preheat for baking bread, cakes etc - for casseroles and meat etc you are supposed to start them in a cold oven

-I wouldn't say it is too loud, but with convection you can hear it - I was worried about the hot air blowing out the front, but the air is just barely warm. I saw some people complain about earlier models that blew hot enough to heat up the oven handle, but that doesnt happen with our current one

-once you turn it off, it does blow air for a long time, though...but again its not really hot

-one other thing...we did a turkey on thanksgiving using the steam and convection at about 300 and it was outstanding...the white meat was as moist or moister than the dark meat

 

kat56's picture
kat56

I will say that this thing is not as easy to clean as our old range. You really cant take out the pans underneath the range things easily so you have to be sure to lift them and wipe up spills when you cook.

ALSO I dont think I will ever use the self clean option. Earlier model apparently destroyed the oven and glass. It would be nice if kichenaid would give us more info on these kinds of things, but even emailing them produced no results.

So far, so good

 

kat56's picture
kat56

I did want to post one more thing about cleaning this range..the controls are digital and on the front of the range and until we found the LOCk feature it drove us nuts. There is a control in the upper right hand corner that you depress for five seconds and it locks the digital control panel on the front of the stove so that you can clean it, or dont wory about leaning against it when you are cooking

 

pansoonee's picture
pansoonee

Hi Kat56.

I've been using kitchenaid steam oven for over a month now but the sourdough breads it generates are far from the ones made with cast iron pot with cover. I don't see any steam coming out from the steam outlet? I don't see any but I can feel humidity from the vent. So I guess that steam is coming out but not enough or only mine is not working right?

the oven cooks the crust too quick so the bread dosen't get enough time to expend to max. I tried spray the dough before baking but didn't improve much. I baked these bread at the same time  one in the gas oven at 475 and the other in the steam oven at 450 first 15mins

dutch oven vs steam oven

I hope it's just problem with mine so I can call for service.

would you p/s let me know if your generate visible steam?

thank you

kat56's picture
kat56

You can hear it injecting water throughout the cycle - you can control the steam by using manual, but I know what you are saying too. Like Tonky says, we do have to lower the temp by about 20 degrees if you use convection with steam.I think the highest i use is 400. I think maybe the oven is just too hot at 450 to 475. It may be that the convection causes it to blast too hot at first and this causes the crust to form before it fully springs.

When we open the door, we definitely get a blast of humid hot air in the face! 

SLKIRK's picture
SLKIRK

IF YOUR OVEN IS A CONVECTION OVER LOWER THE COOKING TEMP BY 20 TO 25%-- THIS WILL ALLOW THE CRUST A BIT MORE TIME TO BROWN AND THE LOAF TO BAKE---

 

TONYK

SLKIRK's picture
SLKIRK

I RECENTLY PURCHASED A VOLLRATH CONVECTION STEAM OVEN I --- SO FAR I AM VERY HAPPY WITH IT --- I STILL HAVE SOME LEARNING TO DO --- MINE IS A MANUAL STEAM TYPE ---- I INJEST 2-3 SECONDS OF STEAM EVERY MINUTE FOR AROUND FOUR MINUTES AND I LET IT BAKE FOR A MINUTE OR SO AND THEN OPEN THE DOOR AND LET ALL THE STEAM VENT --- LOTS OF STEAM COMES OUT --- I HAVE LOWERED THE TEMP AND COOKING TIME AS RECOMMENDED AND I BELIEVE THIS PART IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS --- I HAVE MADE BOULES AND BAGUETTES AS WELL AS COOKIES AND  ALL HAVE TURNED OUT WELL --- I CAN COOK 10 POUNDS OF DOUGH AT OME TIME  --- FIVE LARGE LOAVES ---

 

TONYK

kat56's picture
kat56

I definitely agree that it is a learning experience. I think with our previous oven we used recipes like Peter Reinhart's Pain Ancienne that are very moist to start with...maybe using auto steam just makes it too soft...maybe we do need to steam for the first five minutes to allow spring and then use dry heat to get that crispy crust

kat56's picture
kat56

You know, we have had this range for about six months and it surprises me that Kitchenaid has not invested in more "how to" get the best out of the range. From what I know there is little on the web about actual useage and you would think that such a high end unit would get them to contract with a chef to do some tips on using the various features. In my experience, any queries to KA have been met with a "read the manual" response. Too bad.

tjensen's picture
tjensen

I saw your November 9, 2013 posting about your steam assist oven feature and have a question on the same.  Your results look great!  I have the same oven (Whirlpool 30" steam assist) but have not used it yet in this autosteam mode.  I was playing around with the autosteam feature and like you said, it starts with steam but then turns into a dry bake mode.  Shouldn't the steam be present the whole time during the bake cycle?  My bread is a sourdough.  It appears that this autosteam mode only injected steam at the beginning and then turns dry.  That concerns me.   

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Steam for the first 5-6 minutes only. Trust your fancy Oven :)

kat56's picture
kat56

We have now had our steam oven for about 8 mos and it is a learning experience. Tonight we were experimenting with throwing pizza dough so we had it going strong at 500 degrees for a while. We finished the last one an hour ago and it is still cooling down...kind of a pain because it is expelling heat audibly but maybe there is an advantage.

We also tried the self-cleaning mode (with great trepidation, because earlier models had reported issues, like breaking the glass on the door) but it worked great. There was a small amount of ash left to be cleaned out. Just remember to take out your bread stone!

David Esq is right about the steam. We noticed that the bread was not getting the crispy crust we first got because we let it steam too long into the cycle. 5 min should do it. In our previous Thermidor, which had no steam function, we used to spritz the walls every 30 secs or so with a spray bottle while opening the door a crack and that worked. I think the initial blast keeps it hydrated so that the crust does not form immediately and gets that "spring" we want. After that, I think you need dry heat to get the crackly crust. One other thing...as Reinhart says, bread needs to be cooled on a rack to develop flavour - we have a little battery powered fan too to help dispell the humidity, because the freshly baked bread really steams out for a while after baking. If you cover it, it will be soft...if you do like us, it is more likely to be crusty...

Only real complaint is that the black enamel pans under the range grates are hard to clean. If you leave acidic stuff on the pans for a while, they eat through the top finish and mar it. They are not easy to get out so you have to clean them in place.

All in all we have had some extraordinary results with fowl, bread and some desserts. It is a learning experience

 

kat56's picture
kat56

Forgot something....the controls, like i said before, are digital and on the top front, slightly below the burners. You CAN lock them, but they beep if you brush them in lock mode. I was doing something on a front burner recently and water was periodically spewing and I guess landing on the controls, which beeped annoyingly. It would be nice if KA located them down a bit and angled them.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Kat56, thanks for the update, there is very little info on that model, and people are always asking about it. 

sandydog's picture
sandydog

I have been using one of these, at home, for 10 months now and it is great for baking artisanal/sourdough bread -

http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-jlbios614-single-steam-oven-stainless-steel/p231508093   Only £800

You can choose to use steam/no steam, as well as/or convection/normal/top/bottom heat - It is a lot better than when I had a normal oven and had to open the oven door to spray water or put water/ice cubes in a pan in the oven.

I bought mine from a local shop (John Lewis) here in uk, which I trust for after sales service - You can also get them from a AEG (Who make them for my local shop here in UK) dealer/ supplier.

 http://www.aeg.co.uk/Products/Cooking/Ovens

There are online manuals to help you, as well as the handbook that comes with the oven, but as usual the best way, in my opinion, is to just get on with it and bake a few times yourself using your current level of skill/experience - You will soon find out what works for you!

I can really recommend these ovens for home bread baking - I also have one of them without a steam facility and I find them also excellent for all my other home baking tasks.

Hope this helps with happy baking,

Brian.

 

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Brian, can you give us your procedure for baking bread in your combi oven -  I assume you have steam, steam with dry heat, and dry heat modes.  What temp do you preheat at, and do you preheat in the Steam with dry heat mode?  Do you use a stone, and when do you turn the steam off? 

sandydog's picture
sandydog

To answer your questions barryvabeach -

1) I assume you have steam, steam with dry heat, and dry heat modes?

    Yes your assumption is correct.

2)  What temp do you preheat at, and do you preheat in the Steam with dry heat mode? 

     Preheat temperature depends on the type of bread I am baking (Usually 230/250C for lean sourdoughs - lower if

     enrichments in the dough) - I always follow the given recipe for my first bake of a new loaf and then adjust as I

     see fit depending on the results. I preheat in dry heat mode, introducing steam about 2 minutes before

     putting the loaves into the oven. 

3) Do you use a stone, and when do you turn the steam off?

   Yes, I use a stone (Sometimes 2 stones if I want both top and bottom heat) and I turn the steam off at exactly the     same time as I used to in my old oven which I had to manually steam.

  It would be fair to say that the methodology of the way I bake bread has not really changed at all but - The major difference is that I never have to open the oven door to either introduce or remove steam which was a real pain in the "you know what," as that involves great heat loss every time you open the oven door. 

Hope that answers your questions - I can't say my bread is much better now (Perhaps a little better, but that may be because I keep improving my skills as a baker) but it is much more convenient, and safer, with absolutely no chance of burning myself with steam.

Brian

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Brian,  thanks,  I have a combi oven as well, and as everyone with one says, there is very little instruction on how to use it.  Mine also has a setting that does not add any steam, but does not let any moisture out, and I have played with that as well ( I have a Viking, on the Gaggeneau, it is called 30% steam - even though it doesn't add steam)  When I preheat at high temps ( 400F ) you can't see the steam in the way you see it in videos on ovens with steam injection, so it is a lot of trial and error.   

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

So how has this KitchenAid Steam Assist oven been holding up? How has the gas range top been holding up?

Any problems to report?