Ever Wanted to Know How a Steam Oven Works?
Plus 2 quick and tasty recipes to try out
A recent project saw KS editor Lisa take oven steaming on a trial run. Our mission: to clarify how the steam function works, which dishes are suitable for it, and most importantly: how will the taste measure up? Let’s start!
The basics: What you should know about steaming
When I found myself in front of the Siemens oven with steam function, playing around with all different kinds of settings, I was presented with my first question: Will this process be self-explanatory? Let’s explore:
What exactly is a steam oven?
Put simply, a steam oven combines baking with steaming in only one appliance, creating a neatly balanced act of crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Steaming is the most gentle cooking method, so you can cook salmon, vegetables, and even meat without losing valuable nutrients. Plus, you don’t have to make compromises when it comes to taste.
What’s so special about the Siemens steam oven?
In the beginning, there was the pressure cooker, which brought heavy steam into the kitchens of this world, cooking food like meat as fast as possible. The drawback: Imprecise preparation times and other interference could negatively affect the result in terms of taste.
With steam ovens nowadays, it’s not a problem. Using the integrated touch display, you can choose the exact temperature you need, the rapid heating function won’t let you down when you have to hurry, and the built-in water tank adds steam continuously, ensuring that your food remains moist and nutritious.
My field trial: Spicy salmon and spinach dumplings
A few general things to begin with: I'm a bit picky, when it comes to taste and consistency. The recipes I’ve developed are made with ingredients I use regularly: Quick and easy dishes such as salmon with beans, prepared in just one casserole dish for example, as well as dumplings that always feel a bit special and are very versatile.
Spicy salmon with white beans
This dish is a sure-fire success: Only a few ingredients, all prepared in only one casserole dish, seasoned with a spicy paste—done! Well, almost. Here’s a bit more about the ingredients:
I chose white beans, which have a nice creamy texture and provide a great contrast to salmon. The salmon is coated with harissa paste, which pairs really well with the flavors of white wine during steam cooking and creates a delicious sauce that incorporates all the amazing flavors. Before I’ll tell you a bit more about my experiences with the steam oven, let’s take a closer look into its functions:
Where is the water tank and how do I fill it?
It's discreetly hidden above the touch display and can be reached and filled with ease.
Which types of heating can steam be added to?
For ovens with steam function, steam can be added to top and bottom heat, 4D hot air, circulating air grilling, and when keeping warm.
Any special features I should be looking out for?
With the reheating function you can heat up already cooked food again, without risking the dish becoming too dry. There’s also the automatic “dough rising” function, which helps achieve a perfectly moist and airy dough, without having to search for the right temperature and time.
Plus: Do not forget the rapid heating function! It’s like a little helping hand when you’re short on time.
So how did I go making salmon in the steam oven? By using additional steam, the salmon fillet, or any other fish is gently cooked, doesn’t dry out, but retains a shiny surface and stays tender and juicy on the inside. After only a few minutes, you’ve got yourself one satisfying dinner. And, it looks nice too!
Spinach and cheese dumplings with tomato and date sauce
Let’s come to my highlight: spinach and cheese dumplings served with a sweet tomato and dates sauce! They are super tender but retain that good bit of bounce to them at the same time.
Usually, I would cook the dumplings in salted water, wrapping them in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, to avoid them falling apart. On our test day, the oven with steam function was my appliance of choice and I was very curious how my beloved dumplings would turn out.
At first, I used the rapid heating function to preheat the oven while I was preparing the spinach in a steaming tray, then transferred it to the oven with steam addition.
Honestly, I was a bit sceptical in the beginning, expecting the spinach to be very, very wet. But: I was taught otherwise! The spinach retained its vibrancy and texture and wasn’t watery, in fact not at all.
I was able to chop the spinach right away and combine it with my dumpling mix. The steaming tray is dotted all over with holes, allowing the steam to reach all spots of the dumplings. The perfect conditions for preparing perfect dumplings!
The result: The oven-steamed dumplings didn’t fall apart and didn’t feel gummy. Instead, they were really moist and fragrant. I was convinced both by its taste and consistency.
In the beginning, I was a bit skeptical. I prefer using my hands rather than a stand mixer and would always choose rolling pin over any kind of pasta appliance. I enjoy the simple approach in the kitchen. So, why should I buy an oven with steam function?
But then came the vibrant spinach that kept its bite and juicy, perfectly cooked salmon, not to mention the most amazing dumplings, both firm and fluffy. Especially for the latter, it’s definitely worth having the possibility of steam addition.
What I really liked was the fact that I didn’t need a lot of equipment and the process itself was super simple. So, if you’re lucky enough to have an oven with steam function at home or if you’re considering purchasing one: I highly recommend these two recipes to begin with!
Published on November 24, 2019