Five Gold Rings
As all cooks know there are Golden Rules for most cooking methods, as you start to create your favourite dishes to cook using your steam oven you will undoubtedly come up with a list of your own do's and don'ts, but for now these are mine...
- Prepare your food for steaming prior to setting the oven, the last thing you want to do is get the oven up to temperature and then open the door to put your food in , thus letting all that lovely steam out .
- Place an oven tray or suitably large container under any food being cooked in a perforated container (unless you are lucky enough to have an appliance which has a drain in the the oven floor ) to catch any juices from veg or fish, you don't want to have to clean it up off the base of your oven.
- Cover dishes that do not require extra moisture, for example... Risotto or casserole style dishes, the extra moisture produced during full steam cooking will dilute whatever you have placed in to cook, not by a huge amount, but it will affect the consistency of your sauces etc.
- Don't be tempted to open the door while cooking, there is a light.... use it!! most of the time when a certain food you have cooked many times before suddenly doesn't come out as expected it's because temperatures have been affected by opening the door. ( they do annoy me on a certain very popular cookery challenge show on TV when they can't understand why their previously perfect for the last 100 times cake has flopped !!!.....you opened the door six times !!!)
- Take note of manufacturers advice ( in the Manual) regarding the optimum shelves for cooking on. For example , some fan ovens state that you can cook on all levels at exactly the same temperature, some state that levels 2 and 4 are best. This is all to do with how that Brand of oven fan works. This is where your Batch cooking or trays and trays of cookies will either come out all looking identical, or slightly different. Ask the experts or contact manufacturers through their social media pages, they LOVE to answer customer questions and give advice.
That last rule really doesn't apply to steam ovens, the whole cavity is filled with the same temperature steam so each shelf will be the same temperature. This is why you can cook several types of food in a steam oven together without transfer of flavours or odours. Also while i'm here it seems prudent at this stage to advise that if you are doing different foods in the steam oven, they should be being cooked for the same amount of time, most veg will cook on full steam for around the same length of time, try to avoid opening the door to take things out or put in as this will affect the amount and temperature of the steam.
My last tip for today is to use the steam capabilities of your appliance to aid with cleaning, every time you use a steam programme whether it be full steam or a combination setting, use the moisture to help with cleaning your appliance and keeping the interior looking great, wipe off the shelves and racks as well as the sides, floor, grill and the inside of the door, this is best done just after the food has come out, but the oven cavity will stay surprisingly warm for quite a while and keep anything soft enough to clean off for about half an hour.