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Wall ovens, combi steam, microwave: Time to commit

Mary Stoffel
7 years ago
last modified: 7 years ago

This community has been a lifesaver in my kitchen reno project so far, thank you so much! Like I'm sure you all know, once you pull a thread on one thing in your plan, you can quickly unravel the whole sweater. A late change to the microwave has me reconsidering part of my appliance plan. At this point I'm dizzy from reading so many threads and ready to seek your opinions.

Background: I've been cooking since I was young. Thought I was going to do it professionally but when I dipped my toe in the water, I realized that the lifestyle wasn't for me. However today, I'm no less serious about execution. I try to do it all, grilling, glazing, broiling, braising, baking, searing, sous vide, and... steaming? I do make big batches of things and reheat or reuse them, like a rotisserie chicken used a zillion different ways though the week. There are only two of us in the house, but I enjoy entertaining and expect the reno to increase to number of future guests & gatherings. I also do meal prep on the weekends for busy weeks.

Also making the transition with me to the new kitchen: Inova sous-vide precision cooker, blow torch with Searzall, and an outdoor Weber Genesis grill with 38,000 BTU/h + 10,000 BTU Sear station & rotisserie.

Original plan:

  • 36" built in Sub-Zero, French door
  • 36" BlueStar rangetop with 12" griddle
  • 2 BlueStar new electric wall ovens, stacked, French door on top
  • Miele warming drawer, panel-front
  • 30" Sharp microwave drawer

Because of layout concerns, we were never happy with where the microwave drawer was placed. I also didn't give much thought to the MW compared to the other appliances. Changing to an OTR style (except it will be over the counter) solved the design dilemma but sent me back to the boards to research what you fine people what you thought of your MWs. I quickly narrowed it down to:

  • GE Advantium
  • Panasonic Prestige Plus
  • Bosch Benchmark

When considering which to get I thought, "Well this will be nice, since the BS equipment takes so long to heat up, I can use one of these MWs as a mini-oven for quick weeknight meals." This got me rethinking getting two BS ovens and led me down the road to... steam ovens, for preheat time and reheat quality. Specifically, considering swapping the bottom BlueStar electric with a combi-steam. Preferably plumbed and 30".

Stacked under the BlueStar oven, I think the Thermador Professional combi-steam looks the best, by far. But it's not plumbed and you can't refill the water during cooking, like the Wolf. Wolf has good size & water refill, but I've read about the chipping problems. So looking at the Miele & Gaggenau, Miele doesn't have a 30" and Gagg is so expensive and ultra-modern. I could do Bosch Benchmark and match it to their MW, but again, it's not plumbed and doesn't look as good in the stack. (MW is on opposite end of wall from ovens so matching the two isn't actually a priority.) What's a girl to do?

Right now, pre-reno, the fridge is right next to where the oven stack will go, so there's an existing water line a few inches away from the potential future combi-steam. Should I concede the plumbed versions and go with the Thermador? Can I rough in plumbing behind it in case the perfect plumbed version becomes available in the future? Does the Wolf still have chipping problems? Would a Miele or Gagg look silly stacked with my BlueStar oven? Am I missing an obvious choice? Should I not get the steam oven and stick with my two BlueStars?

Your advice is very much appreciated!

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