Last month I was invited by AEG to attend the launch of their new domestic SteamBake oven at the Good Housekeeping Institute in London and I was intrigued to see whether this appliance could take my bread-making to the next level. Richard Burr (of GBBO fame) gave an interesting demonstration showing how and why an AEG SteamBake oven could be used for all kinds of recipes and he effortlessly prepared a Basic White Loaf, a Rhubarb Bakewell Tart and a savoury Chorizo Sausage Toad in the Hole.
AEG has very kindly asked me to review this revolutionary appliance for the home market and it was duly installed in my kitchen a week or so ago. To say the least I was excited to try it out and I decided to firstly prepare a Crumble-topped Summer Fruit Traybake which, much to my disappointment, resulted in a catalogue of errors – mine, not the oven, I should hastily add! I prepared the cake batter as usual, then poured into the oven the required 100ml of water, set the temperature and then I had to wait only 5 minutes before a bell ‘pinged’ and I popped the cake in to bake.
All was well until I looked through the glass door and realised that I had used too small a tin and the mixture was rising like a volcano and overflowing onto the walls and floor of my nice, shiny and precious new oven. Hastily, I whipped out the frothing hot mass, popped the tin onto a baking tray, to help stem the flow, and burned my hand in the process!
Miraculously, the resulting cake, trimmed, tidied up and iced didn’t look too bad and was definitely moist.
Next on the agenda was a Sourdough Loaf and I baked this the very next day.
Of course, I didn’t have to use my usual method of throwing in a few ice cubes at the beginning of the bake and the completed bread had a very nice open and soft texture together with a lovely crust which the SteamBake oven created after the initial steam dissipated and the dry hot air took over. I even found that my bread had a longer shelf-life as it stayed moist and didn’t dry out so quickly.
Having had the oven for a few days now, trying out its various other cooking functions, I have found it to be an excellent addition to my kitchen and I have been truly converted to the art of 21st century baking with steam. For other home bakers and cooks like me, I heartily recommend the AEG SteamBake oven which I understand will be available in the shops from June 2016.