1

When cooking things like a whole chicken or chips (fries) my oven builds up a lot of steam. So much that it comes out as a huge cloud when opening the oven door. I think this leads to a lack of crispness because it's so wet inside.

Is there a way to avoid this? Or is it a design flaw of the oven?

2
  • 3
    Are you confident that it's much more steam than is usual for an oven? Mine doesn't have problems I'm aware of, and I'll get steam when I open it – I don't know if it's as much as your 'huge cloud'. The steam is also much more prominent if it's cold in my kitchen.
    – dbmag9
    May 13, 2021 at 11:43
  • The location of the oven makes a big difference to the experience - if the steam hits you in the face it feels like much more than from a high oven, even condensing on your face
    – Chris H
    Sep 10, 2021 at 10:11

3 Answers 3

1

What settings does your oven offer? Usually an oven should have proper venting of excessive moisture. Are you maybe using a special "steaming" setting instead of regular heating? If it's a regular setting that you're using, your oven might have a technical problem with ventilation that a service mechanic might be able to fix.

As a meantime band-aid fix, you might want to quickly open your oven door ever so often to let out excessive steam. If this does nothing to reduce the amount of steam, it might indeed be a steaming setting that somehow traps or even injects moisture into your oven chamber.

1

You can use the fan setting and have a very small opening at the door so you force the steam to escape. Please note that depending the recipe we want to have moisture inside (chicken). So not having any moisture as cooking can cause your chicken to be extremely dry. Best way is just to open the grill with fan for a 15min at the end of cooking.

1
  • 1
    A dry interior would be caused by overcooking. Ambient humidity would have virtually no effect, unless you were cooking it for many many hours.
    – Sneftel
    Sep 10, 2021 at 11:42
0

Your problem isn't humidity. It's water, and temperature.

A closed oven which has a significant amount of food in it will be quite humid, in the sense that the gas inside it contains a high percentage of gaseous water (aka steam). It's possible for food to crisp up, and even burn, even with that steam being present.

But that high percentage doesn't equate to much mass of water. When the oven is hot, the density of the gas is low.

Assuming you preheated the oven, it was hot. But when you open the door and see a big cloud of vapor, that means that the oven had cooled off, probably because of evaporative cooling (as water evaporates off the food, it cools both the food and the air). It's the cold oven that's limiting your crisping.

If there's a lot of water, and a lot of surface area for it to evaporate off of, and not enough oven power to build up a temperature gradient, the food can effectively hold its own temperature down. This is what causes "the stall" when BBQing, and it's what causes limp, moist oven fries.

Potential solutions:

  1. Increase heat flow to the food by using convection if available, or by using all heating elements if your oven has multiple independent elements.
  2. Decrease evaporative cooling by cooking less food at once.
  3. Cook longer. Once you've dried out the surface of your food, evaporative cooling stops, temperature rises, and crisping/browning picks up.
  4. If you weren't preheating your oven, preheat your oven. The oven walls have a high heat capacity which buffers the evaporative cooling.

Things that are not potential solutions:

  1. Opening the oven door. I know it seems like that's "letting the steam out", but the steam was going to come out anyway; you're just letting the heat out with it and slowing things down.
  2. Increasing the temperature. This doesn't make your oven work harder! When it's being limited by evaporative cooling it's already working as hard as it can. Redlining the thermostat is just going to put your food at risk of burning.
2
  • 1
    Hot air doesn't hold enough water as cold air is the wrong way round. For the same relative humidity hot air holds far more water. Some of your conclusions might be right, but OTOH if the oven walls have a high heat capacity (they do) they'll also buffer letting out hot air with the steam, which yes, would have come out sooner, but it taking too long to come out may be the problem
    – Chris H
    Nov 15, 2021 at 17:03
  • @ChrisH Yes, I think I confused things by using the "relative humidity" terminology, which is only really relevant up to 100C. Past that, the water is of course gas, and as the temperature increases the density decreases -- so, less water. My point about the oven walls was meant to describe why one preheats an oven, even though the air itself comes up to the target temperature (and past it!) well before the thermostat switches off.
    – Sneftel
    Nov 15, 2021 at 18:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.