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05 July 2009

The Chefs Secret...Cooking with Steam

Great chefs…like great magicians, have always had their little secrets that make an ordinary meal magical. Küppersbusch, one of the world’s largest and oldest manufacture of commercial restaurant equipment, now makes one of those little secrets available to the home owner. The secret to a great meal is the right amount of dry heat with just the right mixture of moisture and with the Integrated Steam Oven their secret is now yours.

For centuries, the ancient Chinese used reed or bamboo baskets to steam cook their meals. They understood the power of steam to keep food crisp, while at the same time releasing the natural flavor without losing nutrients. Just like you find in any fine restaurant, a residential steam oven allows you to cook meat and vegetables without losing moisture, nutrients and flavor.

Today the Integrated Steam Oven, combines the advantages of a steam oven and a convection oven in a single appliance. This ingenious dual-function oven combines the dry heat of a convection oven with non-pressurized steam in just the right calculated balance. Combining hot air and steam injection allows for all kinds of cooking opportunities from defrosting to steaming to baking to browning, from the perfect roast to the flakiest pie crust to crisp vegetables.

The Integrated Steam Oven offers a host of benefits including faster cooking times as well as optimum retention of vitamins, nutrients, flavor, color and texture. With steam cooking, food absorbs only the moisture it requires – which means never over cooking. Food prepared in the Integrated Steam Oven will prove to be healthier for you as you will not need to add oils or fats to keep food from drying out in the cooking process.

Here are a few models to check out for yourself:

Gaggenau BS 270/271

Küppersbusch EKDG 6800.0M

Miele DG 4082

03 July 2009

Radiant vs Convection

One of the most common questions asked during my speaking engagements is “What is the primary difference between a traditional radiant oven and a convection oven”. Besides the simple benefit of energy savings due to triple pane glass, advanced insulation and faster cooking times…the fundamental difference between a regular oven and a convection oven is airflow…convection has it and radiant does not.

At the core of all oven technology is the ability to generate heat. The heat generated in a traditional radiant oven is that it is “static” or simply put…it does not move, while the air in a convection oven is in constant movement with the aid of a fan. This air movement ensures that the temperature is equal throughout the oven cavity, so foods are cooked evenly, regardless of position in the oven.

"In a radiant oven, the temperature can differ from one area to another within the oven cavity, but with a convection oven, the fan distributes the air evenly throughout the oven, ensuring a consistent distribution of heat. In a traditional radiant oven, hot spots may acquire and food will dry-out, while food prepared within a convection oven will be browner, crisper and, in many cases, moister.

The Advantages of convection Cooking. ·

  • Faster Cooking -- As the air is virtually static in a radiant oven, it takes a while for the heated air to warm the layer of cold air that surrounds food. In a convection oven, the fan in the back of the oven circulates the air up to 90 times a minute before expelling, so the entire oven heats quicker, cutting cooking times by up to 25 percent. ·

  • Multi-Layer Cooking – With convection, it is like having several ovens in one as you can prepare several items on different levels all cooking at the same time without flavor transfer. For example, with convection you could bake four or five levels on cookies all cooking evenly at the same time. By contrast, cookies baked on several levels in a radiant oven need constant attention to avoid uneven cooking and burning. oven, ·

  • The Plus Side – When using a convection oven you will notice that breads, rolls and cookies will be browner on the outside and lighter and softer on the inside. In addition, when cooking on multiple levels, like baked chicken on one rack and roasted garlic potatoes on another, both items will cook evenly.

Convection Cooking Tips: ·

  • Convection Ovens heat up faster than Radiant, so need for pre-heating. ·

  • Convection Ovens cook 25% faster than radiant ovens. So adjust your recipes and cooking times accordingly. When roasting meats, don't change the temperature, simply cut the cooking time by about 25 percent. ·

  • When roasting turkey or chicken, use a low sided pan with rack. This allows for complete circulation. With convection, no basting is necessary as the hot hour seals the bird and keeps the bird moist. ·

  • Do not cover or use cooking bags as this negates the benefits of convection cooking.

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