Psst… Did someone say steam oven?

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  • Steaming began with professional chefs but now it’s trending in family kitchens. Here are six of the best steam ovens for home cooking

    Steaming is the healthiest way to cook vegetables so that they retain vitamins and crunchiness, but did you know that it also makes cakes lighter and roasts crisper? Steam ovens are no longer confined to chefs’ kitchens – the latest domestic models are energy-efficient and easy to use so we can share the benefits at home.

    Other advantages of steam include cooking without the need for oil or fat and gentle yet rapid defrosting. Steam used with a grill or fan (combination steam cooking) produces food that’s deliciously crisp but not dried out.

    Choose a steam-only model for better cooking of veg and fish, defrosting or slow cooking. Go for a combination steam oven, which injects steam with a grill or fan oven, to achieve succulent roasts or light-as-air baking.

    Installation is straightforward: domestic steam ovens usually have a removable reservoir so no plumbing is required. They do, however, have to be hard-wired to the mains electricity supply, so you’ll need an electrician for this.

    Best for… a classic look

    This white model packs a punch, heating up to 130°C, rather than the usual 100°C, which means you get the same results in a shorter time.

    SO209WH combi, capacity 34L, water tank 1.54L, H455xW594x D533mm, £1,235, Caple.

    Best for… easy cooking

    Whether you choose to cook with traditional heat or steam or both, this oven has 50 preset programmes, plus its triple-glazed door stays cool.

    BOC6322AX combi, capacity 34L, water tank 1.4L, H455xW594x D533mm, £899.99, Gorenje.

    Best for… beginners
    With a steam/fan programme that adjusts automatically while cooking, this low-priced model offers good results and a family-size capacity.

    Quadro multifunction with steam, capacity 74L, water tank 0.9L, H594xW594xD568mm, £599, Zanussi.

    Best for… keen cooks
    Apart from roasting, baking, grilling and steaming, this oven offers lower steaming temperatures (50-80°C), which are ideal for sous vide cooking.

    CombiSteam SousVide, capacity 73L, water tank 0.8L, H594xW594x D567mm, £1,399, Electrolux.

    Best for… precision
    Taking perfection to the next level, this oven has a built-in probe to help you cook meat to your liking, and is suitable for sous vide cooking.

    Combi-steam XSL, capacity 51L, water tank 1L, H454x W596xD569mm,£3,000, V-Zug.

    Best for… versatility
    There’s not much this oven can’t do! It offers 130°C steam temperature for reheating and even has a pause button in case someone’s late for a meal.

    BCS455TS combi steam, capacity 34L, water tank 1L, H455xW594x D557mm, £800, Baumatic.

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