The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Steam injection

breadmakery's picture
breadmakery

Steam injection

I am looking for a new or used full size single or double convection oven with steam injection. Webstaurant has steam ovens, but if I understand correctly it is a separate type of oven. Blodgett rep told me that they do not produce such ovens any longer... What I need is a regular oven where I can inject steam for a few minutes. The oven is to be used for breads and cakes. I would appreciate any advice regarding brands/models. My budget is 6-7k. Thank you!

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

There are small combi ovens that you can buy for less than $7K. Don't even bother with the Anova as it is an underpowered toy.  A used Rational might be in your price range but you will have to search to find one. Just make sure you understand what the installation requirements are.  You will need a dedicated 60a/240vac 3-wire + ground circuit, a 1/2" water line that will deliver at least 7 gal per minute, with a 5 micron filter just before the oven connection, and a 2" drain line that will tolerate boiling water.  A dedicated exhaust fan is also required, preferably one with a hood that extends out as far as the fully open door of the oven (i.e., big) but 700 cfm is probably all the capacity you need. Also check to make sure you have a service company that will come to a residence to do repairs.  Some shops won't do that (for insurance reasons or just because it is too much trouble).  Also see if you can buy authorized parts through the wholsaler so that you can get a third party repair technician to do the work if you break something.  A repair guide and a parts list would also be helpful (perhaps essential).

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I would checkout Miele ovens that have a steam injection function. I live in Australia, but I'm sure you can find more recent models in your own country. In April 2017 we renovated our kitchen and installed a Miele H6660 BP model that cost - $5,799 AUD. It is fantastic. I can inject up to three bursts of steam 5 minutes apart. Each burst uses about 100ml of water. When setting up the oven for baking, you can nominated  how many bursts and hold a jug of water under a pipe to suck up into the oven for the bake. The steam is injected automatically or manually. Best investment ever. The oven has many other functions.

Cheers,

Gavin.

foodforthought's picture
foodforthought

We recently installed Miele’s H 6780-2 double oven. It’s plumbed to a water supply so not necessarily a simple install. Steam injection (Moisture Plus in Miele-speak) works great as gavinc notes. Pretty sure this particular oven has been around for 3-5 years so possibly phasing out before long??? The only other steam injection ovens we saw when we were in design phase required manually filling a reservoir. I’m sure they could work, but the Miele has outperformed in my estimation.

Not that Miele has got everything right. Don’t get me started on modal dialogs and endless approvals (oks) of settings just made.

 

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Gavin,  are you baking in Bake mode, and then giving a burst of steam?  I have a different combi, and while I like it,  it is not all that great, IMO for bread.  Mine does not have a separate bake element, only convection, and convection fan runs the entire time.  I have a feeling that while cooking in combi mode ( steam plus heat ) should be an advantage over a regular oven with steaming towels, that having the fan blow air over the loaf the whole time detracts from the extra humidity.  

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

Some combis have an intermittent fan mode (Rational does I know, also old Henny Pennys), and that seems to be better than running high fan all the time, but it is still not a deck oven.  It might help to remember that the steam does it's job by condensing to water on the surface of the dough and thereby delivering a lot more heat than convection will at low fan speeds.  I made a run at calculating the heat transfer rate for high fan speed relative to condensation of steam and could not convince myself that I had enough accuracy to make a pronouncement one way or the other.  If the steam is too hot you have to cool it down to the local dewpoint before you can get it to condense which is why you see the description of steam injections as "low pressure steam" which means that it boiled at 100°C or very close.

For a few years I have been doing this gedankenexperiment where you build an oven that will allow you to pull a vacuum at high temperature and thus allow the trapped CO2 in the dough to expand without requiring that it heat up.  I can simulate the result with a bell jar and a piece of proofed dough.  And you can get an easy 2X to 3X volume expansion with a simple vacuum pump.  But without a heat source to cook the dough it just collapses as soon as you re-pressurize the bell jar.  So you need to pull the vacuum then let the dough fully cook to the point where the alveoli become connected and then slowly re-pressurize the oven. It is a great show in the bell jar and I imagine that the end product would be super light and airy.

gavinc's picture
gavinc

My Miele oven has three main baking functions; Conventional, Fan Plus (convection), and Moisture Plus. The moisture plus function is what I use for bread requiring steam. I can set it up automatically or manually. I've found that manual steam is best as I can give it a burst about 5 minutes before I load the doughs, then I give two more burst about 5 minutes apart during the first part of the bake. The bake then finishes in a drying oven that is ideal.

 

fivecornerspoon's picture
fivecornerspoon

Curious how many loads of bread you can fit in you Mile if you were to maximize the capacity?

fivecornerspoon's picture
fivecornerspoon

Meant to say loafs 

gavinc's picture
gavinc

I can fit 2 x 750-gram loaves, or 3 x 320-gram baguettes. I am restrained from adding a second tier due to height limits. I have a blog entry regarding this very topic here: I've hit the maximum capacity of my oven. | The Fresh Loaf

Cheers,

Gavin

foodforthought's picture
foodforthought

I’ve done 2 800 g ciabatta, 3 300 g baguettes or 3 standard loaf pans of sandwich bread on my baking stone. Have also done 2 half-sheet pans of croissant on 2 racks simultaneously (no steam injection). Suspect I could get away with a second rack of ciabatta or other bread if I had a second pre-heated baking stone which I don’t. The steam feature works well as does the proof function.

Phil