Baking

From Baking to Sous Vide, This Smart Steam Oven Is Your New Kitchen BFF

Look, I have to tell you about the baguettes I made a couple of weeks ago.

There I was, watching this gloopy dough rise, working it with floured hands into long thin strands, seeing it swell to fit the pan, then witnessing the real miracle, the puffing and tanning of these pale tubes into camera-ready loaves.

I couldn’t believe I made them. Neither could my French uncle-in-law. And in truth, I only sort of did. Most of the credit goes to the special baguette pan, the recipe—and the oven.

For about a month, I’ve been testing the Anova Precision Oven, an internet-connected countertop electric oven that cooks with steam. In restaurants and home kitchens fancier than mine, these combi ovens can cost thousands. Anova’s 1,800-watt appliance, which plugs into a regular wall socket, costs $600.

The Anova Precision Oven is small enough to fit on a countertop under the cabinets, but big enough to cook a whole chicken.



Photo:

Wilson Rothman/The Wall Street Journal

Yet it managed to show up my powerful gas oven again and again, with crunchy yet chewy baguettes and dinner rolls, crispy yet juicy roasted chicken, a full head of evenly steamed cauliflower, succulent ribs and pork butt cooked overnight, perfect medium-rare beef tenderloin, and more. (Hope you brought a snack while reading this.)

People in other countries might laugh at my revelation: Steam ovens are already popular around the world. But in the U.S., they’re few and far between. Beyond the price, part of the fear, for me, is that I wouldn’t know how to use it. None of my cooking buddies have one. That’s why Anova’s appearance on the scene is welcome. Not only is it a competitively priced hardware option, but it also already has a deep catalog of recipes showing the full