The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Convection Steam Oven - Miele, Bosch, Thermador etc

Bengoshi's picture
Bengoshi

Convection Steam Oven - Miele, Bosch, Thermador etc

I have found some older posts here addressing this question, but the technology keeps improving so please excuse me for raising it in a new topic here, rather than going back to those, as some of the older discussions appear outdated.

We are building a house, and in addition to a regular oven (Bluestar Range) we are looking at installing an additional convection steam oven. Has anyone found the trick to making good, crunchy, European style bread in one of these convection steam ovens? Right now, I am using the “Forkish” method utilizing cast iron dutch oven method to generate steam, but the idea of just letting the oven do the work intrigues me. I’m also interested in any suggestions on which brand of steam oven to purchase, etc.  From what I have read so far, it appears that the key is being able to insert the dough into a pre-heated oven, then manually inject steam at the outset for some short period of time.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I am doing another kitchen . I had a wonderful remodel in 2007 and had everything a baker/cook could want till I moved last year. Fast forward and I now have a tiny kitchen as compared to what I had before. I have spent hours and hours researching all the possible choices for optimal baking as well as my wok wielding spouse . I am getting the Bluestar RNB range and after hours and hours of reading reviews I am getting the Miele XXL plumbed convection steam oven. If you search on Houzz you will find huge amounts of info. I am linking here for you. https://www.google.com/search?ei=-XJ0XJ65JZKo_Qb_wJXoBg&q=garden+web+Miele++combi+convection+steam+oven&oq=garden+web+Miele++combi+convection+steam+ov...

 

You won't regret anything made by Miele. I had their double ovens and a built in deep fat fryer by Miele in my other house and they worked as beautifully the day I moved as they did the day they were installed. The combi steam oven does a great job with breads. There are lots of testimonies. Also you can do sous-vide !!!  I can hardly wait !  c

eddieruko's picture
eddieruko

I don't have personal experience with these ovens, but I have seriously considered them when I replaced our oven 18 months ago. As you may already know, convection ovens circulating air (usually with fan drawing air from vents in the back), so any steam that is produced will have a path for escaping. This is not to suggest that you won't be able to achieve good steam in a convection oven (I have one too). Rather, generating steam and generating airflow (convection) are fundamentally opposed to each other.

For me, this was the primary reason I went away from any steam ovens. I didn't find the added expense worth the advertised capability. I am accustomed baking without a DO, and generating a significant amount of steam with water and lava rocks in a cast iron pan, with the convection bake set to off. 

Another thing worth noting with convection baking... some have found success baking in convection mode. It is generally avoided when baking larger loaves as the outside can caramelize and brown much quicker than the interior will take to bake completely. It can be tricky to get those settings down - I've found that the timings and temps found in recipes are usually done without convection. Adapting recipes to suit your schedule and equipment is part of the fun in my opinion!

 

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

they are so high tech that they are like the baker's steam injection ovens used in pro bakeries. The convection is not on when the steam is going and then the steam stops and the convection is on again so that you are getting the best of all worlds. If you look at the links you will see that the folks using the ovens comment on the steam that is released when the oven door is opened. 

Indeed they are expensive !  But they have SO many other uses besides bread that for the serious home cook/baker they are definitely worth it. 

Brotokoll is a professional Italian baker and he travels and bakes all over Europe teaching classes. He uses the Miele ovens. You can see his posts and his amazing breads on Perfect Sourdough. Hope this helps anyone looking for great ovens. My Miele double ovens were convection and I never had a problem turning out amazing breads...all posted here on this forum, c

Bengoshi's picture
Bengoshi

Thanks for all these comments.  BTW, Gaggenau has a video out there certainly making it look like you can use these puppies for crunchy artisan type bread. In this one, the presenter appears to add steam manually while the oven is in convection mode, pretty close to what the pros do:  

https://youtu.be/94uH2MQgIPI

Trailrunner, I agree ovens like these are great, even if the bread angle is not as much as I would hope for.  I stayed in a Swiss chalet last year and used a convection steam over to roast a chicken –– its counterintuitive, but steam roasting results in a crispy and perfect bird, worth it just for that!

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I am really excited to get the Miele XXL. It is their largest one and will do a 20# turkey !  I am particularly interested in the multi level pans so that you can do a 4 course meal all at one time. You program in each pans contents etc and then turn it loose...it will hold the entire thing for 15 min after it is done to allow for finishing  setting the table etc. I really am looking forward to the sous vide feature as well since it doesn't require a water bath but utilizes steam instead. My son and his wife are chefs and live a mile away from us now. He is looking forward to my experiments :) Hope you will post back if you do get one. c

David R's picture
David R

Some questions/comments that all this has made me think about:

How valuable is being able to duplicate others' results? (In other words, for your oven to behave just like the oven a recipe writer uses, or just like those of the people you discuss baking with.) Having a unique oven may mean, at worst, that your results make no sense. At best, it's only having to allow for a difference.

How often in the future are you going to wish you had a certain feature?

How often in the future are you going to wish that that same special feature wasn't in your way?

Some features can be duplicated by making a "clever hack"; other ones really can't. And some are in a grey area, where the hack is almost right but not quite. How can you recognize "good enough", other than trying all the possibilities one by one?

If there's an attempt at duplicating an industrial-sized feature in a home-sized machine, does the feature work the exact same way? If not, then judge it as a different feature!

"Our new model provides the same great industrial feature, but in a modified way" - I call BS.

"We've added a completely different feature that is meant to sort of remind you of the one you want, and to make you think you're getting something that you're not" - absolutely honest, but makes me go "Huh... Let me think about this for a minute".

Bengoshi's picture
Bengoshi

I make my “Forkish” bread in an old GE oven that barely gets hot enough in a rusty Lodge combo cooker and get great results. I’m building a house and I am looking at options and new technology — well, actually old tech if you go to Europe and see they have been doing this for a lot longer there, and they do know how to cook! Why wouldn’t you do that, reverse snobbery? I’m just looking at new ways to make great bread — I’m not going to throw out the rusty old Lodge, but I’m open minded to try new things. 

David R's picture
David R

I think I must be so completely unaware of the new ovens you're discussing that my comments turned out 100% clueless - that's the only way I can make sense of your response.

Definitely no reverse snob here... Maybe the usual non-reverse kind of snob though, saying a home oven can't ever function like a commercial oven, and complaining about manufacturers advertising features they've only managed to halfway copy.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I think if you look at what the new Miele ovens can do and do well then you would have a better idea of what we are talking about. It is an expensive hobby but since everything I have tried with new appliances has been a success in the past I am willing to read and learn and then jump in to explore all the new abilities of the present generation. I have baked all our breads etc since the early 70's. There isn't anything I haven't tried at one time or another. I enjoy the use of my 100 yr old granite ware roasters for baking my breads and think of my mom and grandmother when I do. I will equally enjoy the new challenges of the Combi oven. 

RedPentacleB's picture
RedPentacleB

Something to think about is your water supply. If you go with a plumbed steam oven and you have hard well water the "wet" mechanicals of the oven will likely get mineral build up and need frequent cleaning or repair. The "water and lava rocks in a cast iron pan" mentioned by eddieruko may be low tech but it will be very reliable and cost way less.

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

The Miele oven has the de-scaling process built in and I am also considering a softener for the supply of our sink in the kitchen remodel and that will also take care of the combi steam oven. Thank you for your concern !! 

The lava rock experiment lasted one week years ago in my kitchen. They are a mess !  I couldn't wait for it to cool off and I threw them in the garden LOL ! Wouldn't have them in my 100 yr old cast iron ever again. I use my granite ware roasters to generate steam for my breads. Much much easier and far less energy consumed to preheat etc and weigh much less so better control of the heat process etc. I am going to be using the combi oven for much much more than just breads. I also will be having the Blue Star oven which accepts a full size sheet pan so there won't be any hardship as far as options. 

Glad that we generated some interest with all our comments. Will look forward to posting back when the Summer ends and the fun in the new kitchen begins !  c

Bengoshi's picture
Bengoshi

Thanks for your input. I’ve looked at some of the less expensive models but it would seem Miele really does have more important advantages and features than others such as Bosch. And I think, even if my bread might be better the old school Dutch oven method, it’s still worth upgrading just for what these ovens can do in terms of that perfect roast chicken, the perfect steaming of veggies, and the ability to sous vide at precise temp outside of a water circulation bath. 

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

you said it perfectly. I never even thought about bread baking in relation to the Miele combi when I first looked at it. I was intrigued,as you say, by the huge numbers of other things it can do. If I hadn’t read so many unsolicited testimonials on the threads I linked I wouldn’t be as enthusiastic. I will look forward to hearing about your experiences. You can always message me through TFL. Good luck c