Here's Why You Should Consider A Steam Convection Oven

·5 min read
Photo credit: Signature Kitchen Suite
Photo credit: Signature Kitchen Suite

The kitchen is finally getting the design and technological attention this all-important space deserves, and we are here for it. From well-collected cook spaces filled with delightful details to brilliant appliances that make the kitchen work better for your family, we're keeping our tabs on all the latest innovations and design concepts that are bringing more heart to the heart of our homes.

One of our favorite trending concepts is nothing new in professional kitchens but new to residential cook spaces: Steam convection cooking technology. We talked to acclaimed chef Nick Ritchie, former executive chef at Bottega in Napa and now executive chef for Signature Kitchen Suite about why all home cooks should consider purchasing a steam-equipped oven.

What Is Steam Convection Cooking?

“Steam convection cooking combines two cooking modes to deliver gourmet results: Steam, which helps retain moisture (and nutrients) while improving texture, appearance and taste," explains a representative for Signature Kitchen Suite, a luxury appliance brand that features steam convection technology. "The convection technology offers more even heat distribution throughout the oven and enables food to cook more quickly.”

Steam ovens utilize hot steam instead of hot air to cook and bake and most are equipped with water tanks with built-in boilers that siphon the water and release steam into the oven. This circulated hot air leads to convection cooking inside the oven.

"I worked in kitchens in Italy years ago and there were so many things in the kitchen to mimic steam and create this technology ourselves that a home cook could never MacGyver on their own," says Ritchie. Just over a decade ago, steam-equipped ovens were introduced to professional kitchens, making baking, roasting, and sous-vide cooking infinitely easier. "I was blown away when I started at SKS three years ago and saw the power and speed of the steam ovens that I didn't think I'd ever see in a residential range. I get the same results as I would with a $30,000 commercial oven."

What Are the Benefits of Cooking with Steam?

For starters, cooking with steam is one of the healthiest cooking methods out there, as it doesn't require the use of oils. Ritchie says it's also the secret behind the world's best bakeries and Michelin-starred restaurant kitchens, as steam convection cooks more evenly than other methods but also produces perfectly tender roasts, moist fish that's flakey on the outside, and incredibly fluffy baked goods. Even better, it's simple.

"Using a steam oven doesn't really change cook time, it's just giving you the same temperature with more moisture and humidity as something roasts or bakes, giving you a better finished product," says Ritchie. "I have the SKS 48-inch range with one oven steam equipped while the other isn't. We will bake scones or morning buns at the same time and temperature but use medium steam on the bottom and it doesn't take a chef to know which one looks nicer."

Ritchie says equipping your kitchen with a steam-equipped oven is one of the most important things you can do to boost your cooking prowess, and it's the best way to keep up with the gourmands and "technicureans" of the culinary world today. But those who aren't as tech-y or prone to experimenting in the kitchen will be pleased to know that steam-equipped ovens offer the best method for reheating leftovers as the moisture harnessed from the steam replaces what was lost in the fridge so yesterday's pizza tastes as delicious as the night before. Now, your microwave will only be good for reheating your coffee all day when working from home.

Finding the Right Appliance With Steam Convection Cooking Capabilities

Rod Gower, senior regional manager at Signature Kitchen Suite, has also worked on product design for many years and says one of the biggest inhibitors for consumers considering ovens with steam convection cooking capabilities is that they think it will be too much of a hassle to clean. But while most brands offer ovens with a water tank or "kettle," Signature Kitchen Suite's steam ovens are equipped with a generator that makes cleanup a breeze. Instead of a descaling process, one can simply switch out the cartridge and the steam generator will automatically clean itself.

When it comes to ranges, Ritchie and his team call SKS's 48-inch Duel Fuel Pro Range the "Swiss Army Knife of ranges," as it features an 18-inch steam convection-equipped oven alongside a 30-inch convection oven while the range feature three Ultra-High Burners and three Ultra-Low Burners so that whether you're stir-frying or simmering chocolate, you can do it all to perfection. Installing a wall oven equipped with steam convection technology, like the 30-inch Single Wall Oven with Steam-Combi, is a great way to expand your kitchen's reach and upgrade your culinary game without changing your beloved range, if you can spare the space or are in need of a new one.

"When selecting ovens and going through the design process with your chosen professional, the consumer should always look at steam as an option whether wall oven or range," says Gower. "Once someone uses it for the first time, they'll use it forever. It sounds daunting but it's really simple. They will be doing themselves and their families a huge favor with each meal."

You Might Also Like