So the lovely people at AEG asked if I would like a new oven. I mean, seriously, I have had some lovely perks as a result of blogging but this one has to be up there at the top.
But we only moved recently and the kitchen I inherited has a range cooker which is pretty new. Plus even if I wanted to replace it, the AEG Steambake oven is a regular size so I’d have a gaping hole in the oven area of my kitchen. So I politely declined.
AEG came up with a great solution – my parents could have the oven (and were in dire need of a new one – they were at the point of replacement anyway as lots of things had been going wrong with their 15 year old one that cost more to repair than to replace) and I would review it with my baking hat on. (So to speak). Win-win for all concerned.
The oven installation was easy my Mum and Dad tell me. The chap who fitted it was friendly, it didn’t take long and there wasn’t any major mess. I popped over that very evening to have an inspection and bake a few treats. My thoughts? Well firstly the oven is a thing of beauty. Have a look here:
It’s not overly covered in dials. Yes, this is more ‘technical’ than your average bog standard oven, but then the results are better than your average bog standard oven also (more on that later). I read through the instruction manual and managed to decipher it, the main points of how to use it etc. Now this is probably my only bug bear (and my parents to) but we felt the manual was tricky to understand and not very clear. Not sure if it has come from a translation or not but it felt like the person writing it hadn’t used the oven much that we were using.
Having said this after maybe two read throughs and a little play we were all on board and understood the main features. The biggest difference that is definitely worth paying for is the preheating time. I spend a lot of my life (as a recipe writer) waiting for my oven to warm up. It’s just one of those things that I have accepted. Well the AEG Steambake is up to temperature in just a couple of minutes. I didn’t believe it and so opened the oven to check it wasn’t a lie. It wasn’t. Steam and heat billowed out. I think I even said ‘wow’ out loud.
The Steambake function is less technical that I expected. I had visions of tanks to fill with distilled water, buttons to press, tanks to clean out. A bit like a washing machine. But no – this is absolutely not what the Steambake is. Have a look here:
You just fill this little dip in the bottom of the oven with cold tap water, close the oven door, programme the oven to the temperature you want and also press the ‘Steambake’ button and away you go. Do remember though that as soon as it comes to temperature you need to put your item in the oven as the heat will evaporate all the water eventually and thus there will be no steam.
So what’s the benefit of baking with steam I hear you cry? Well it is great for keeping bakes from drying out. I have developed three recipes for AEG as part of this review and they all benefitted from the steam function. The heat is distributed well too. Also for bread; steam is your friend. It gives you an amazing crust. There’s a lot of ‘science’ around the reason for this, but frankly, the results are of more interest. Look here:
What about cleaning the Steambake area? I hear you. This was bugging me too. Well, it’s easy to clean. You just let it cool down and then give it a wipe. That’s it. My kind of cleaning.
Now the AEG Steambake does bake hotter than even a fan oven, so you do need to adjust your recipes a little. I am used to doing this as I often bake in different ovens all in the line of duty. My parents do not though. I asked how they were getting on and they answered that they had indeed had to adjust their timings a little and temperatures, but that you always need to do this with a new oven, so it’s no hardship.
All in all, would I recommend the new AEG Steambake oven? Yes I would. Looks good, just the right level of technical, easy to maintain and the results are superior. The instruction manual gets a C minus though! Thanks so much to AEG for the oven. Recipes coming over the next week.
NB: I received an AEG Steambake oven free of charge in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and no part of this review was pre approved before publication.
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