Monthly Archives: July 2013

Now You’re Cooking…With Steam!

When you think of steam power, does your mind race to a 19th century locomotive? Or did your first thought jump to the shirts and slacks waiting to be ironed? Well, we appliance geeks immediately think steam ovens (of course, we also recognize the appliance brands in the kitchen of every TV show and movie we watch).

If you’re unfamiliar with this technology, cooking with steam is not only super healthy, but surprisingly versatile. These appliances, such as the Wolf and Miele steam oven lines, are easy to use and easy to clean. In fact, there’s almost no clean up needed.

The staff at our store regularly heats up leftovers with steam ovens instead of microwaves. Now this may not seem worth mentioning, but these ovens don’t just heat leftovers-they rejuvenate them.

Let’s look at two of the brands we carry. First off, the Miele steam oven is a MasterChef product, which means you just select the type of food you are cooking and it will automatically select the right cooking mode for perfect results! This is known as a food-driven menu system. Miele’s stainless DG 4084 model goes for around $2,850.

Those who can their own food products will go bananas for this appliance, and the rest of us will discover an incredibly healthy way to cook entire meals. The Miele DG 4084 Classic 24” Steam oven may look small inside (everyone exclaims how small it seems), but it delivers big performance. Like most of Miele’s products, not only is it incredibly well engineered and designed, but it is good for 20 years plus.

Not to be outdone, Wolf’s offering is not just a steam oven, but also a convection cooker. This product is likely to be the “go to” cooking appliance for anyone that forks over the nearly $3,800 it costs to own one. In one of the initial presentations introducing this product, Wolf asked the question, “Is there anything this oven can’t cook?” The rest of that presentation then demonstrated the product’s seemingly limitless number of food preparation options, impressing everyone in attendance.

This product is packed with more cooking modes than most people would ever consider (14 in all). If it were not for the gourmet mode, also a food-driven menu system, it might be one of those products that gets demonstrated and then passed over by consumers for something less intimidating. But for those who want the best of all cooking worlds, not just steam, this offering from Wolf is the one for you.

The “Dummy’s Guide” to Magnetic Induction Cooktop Technology

To many consumers, magnetic induction (MI) cooking is an advanced technology straight out of a futuristic sci-fi kitchen. But in reality, these induction cooktops date back to the ‘80s, saw a reintroduction in the ‘90s and were withdrawn or recalled shortly thereafter due to service issues. This most recent resurgence has them in kitchens to stay, though. To put it simply, this cooktop technology offers the most efficient use of energy.  Induction 1

Gas has long been regarded as the fuel of choice to fire up our cooktops, largely because of its responsiveness. In areas where natural gas is readily available, appliance dealers rarely sell electric. Likewise in electric markets, many homeowners won’t go to the expense of installing a Liquid Propane (LP) tank and plumbing the house, so electric cooking appliances are the norm (much to the chagrin of real cooks, who generally prefer gas).

Induction 2But with this latest resurgence of induction cooktops, many folks are becoming enamored with the responsiveness, efficiency and safety benefits this cooking technology offers. The only drawback has been the price. However, we’re now seeing the array of induction products expanding and the prices coming down to the tipping point for many consumers.

So, here’s the “Dummy’s Guide” to induction cooking: The element under the glass vibrates the atomic particles of the cooking vessel (sci-fi sound effects please)–throughInduction 3 magnetic energy. That means that your pot or pan must be made of ferrous (iron containing) metal. If a magnet doesn’t stick to it, it isn’t gonna work. That vibrating pan then heats the food. With other forms of electric, the burners get hot and lots of that heat goes into the air and is wasted. The same goes for gas, which is another inefficient use of energy. When expressed in efficiency percentages, MI hovers in the mid 80% range, while all other cooking techniques are about half that, sitting at about 40%. 

Now to the responsive power of MI, which makes all the difference for real cooks. Induction is faster to boil and more instantaneous to simmer once you learn the control mechanisms. Some cooks might claim that gas performs just as well, but that is undoubtedly personal bias talking. In both the demonstrations we’ve performed, real cooks who used gas and MI cooktops side by side gave the slight edge to induction.

Now tInduction 4o safety: Induction cooktops can reduce the number of kitchen fires to virtually zero. Because the element isn’t hot, nothing that falls on it burns (unless it is food that happens to fall into a ferrous metal pot or pan).

Finally, because the induction burners are set under glass, these appliances are beautiful. Folks often tell us they don’t really cook, so they wouldn’t be interested in an induction cooktop. But these are the same folks that end up buying the MI products simply because they look fantastic in their kitchen. Go check them out for yourself at a quality appliance store that will let you do a “test drive.”

The Quietest In Class Has Arrived

The new 2013 Bosch dishwashers have arrived and while Bosch has always been on the leaderboard in the highly competitive industry of dishwashers, they have officially broken away from the pack. With everyone making so much noise about the quietest dishwasher, it seems that the Bosch engineers have triumphed once again.

Their latest quiet number is 39dBA. Since Bosch held the previous low of 42dBA, they are resoundingly the quietest brand around. Here’s the proper context to understand the decibel (dBA) number: An increase of 3 dBA is the equivalent of two dishwashers running at once; that means they’ve cut the noise in half! You can explore the “science of quiet” over at Bosch’s website and compare their dishwasher to other familiar sounds at varying decibels. The Bosch Dishwasherdishwasher is now so quiet that the only way some know the machine is running is by the presence of their InfoLight shining onto the floor; as can be seen here in Bosch’s commercial highlighting this un-heard of level of quiet. The ad goes on to feature brush-less motors and multi layers of sound absorbing insulation. The new design elements work together to make this the quietest dishwasher around, so there’s no more waiting until the dishwasher is finished to gather around and start a family movie night!

In regards to load ability, the upper models are fantastic, with lower priced models less impressive. The innovative 3rd rack is now available in more models and at lower price points than ever before (beginning at $899). You’ll get up to 30% more loading area on models with this 3rd rack design. With water usage still down in the 2.4-3.3 gallon range and 4 different design configurations, this new line of dishwashers will resonate with consumers in a big way. Schedule an in-store demonstration today to see for yourself!