Since there have been so many inventions in home technology, the kitchen and bath industry has been on the lookout for a new appliance − like the induction stove or the steam oven − to continue advancing the home. This past week, Miele announced not only a new product but also a possible new way of cooking. KBB‘s managing editor Erinn Loucks was in attendance at the unveiling in Berlin, where a new type of oven was introduced: the Dialog Oven.
This appliance looks like the conventional Miele oven, complete with a touch screen and a sleek appearance. However, the Miele team demonstrated exactly how different the Dialog Oven is by cooking a piece of raw cod fish in a surprising way: inside of a block of ice.
The chefs, which were scattered around the large event space, each showed the journalists the raw fish sitting inside the ice, which was then covered with a top and placed in the oven for nine minutes. After that time, they took out the perfectly intact ice, removed the top and revealed a steaming hot, thoroughly cooked fish fillet.
While few consumers will find the resources to cook in ice, another example of the oven’s capabilities involved a traditional German meal of veal, vegetables and potatoes. Instead of preparing each of these components separately and cooking them at different times or temperatures like in a conventional oven, all of the elements were placed inside of the Dialog Oven at the same time. After 30 minutes, the chefs removed the dish to reveal that the veal was evenly cooked through – a feat normally only possible with sous vide – and the vegetables and potatoes were cooked just enough and not overdone.
This method of cooking is possible with electromagnetic waves. In an interview with Dr. Axel Kniehl, executive director of marketing and sales for Miele, it was explained that this science has an unusual inspiration.
“We saw an idea in the basic technology used in organ transplant,” said Kniehl. “Regeneration has to be done there in a very cautious, even way, and we thought there might be something in that we could use outside of the medical field.”
Like in the medical version, the Dialog Oven features a modular unit that generates electromagnetic waves in a specific frequency range and distributes these in the oven with two antennas. As the molecules in different foods are arranged in different ways and even rearrange during the course of cooking, the technology provides the Dialog Oven with feedback on the amount of energy that has been absorbed by food, and the oven targets the right foods and responds. This is how different foods are detected and cooked accurately.
Another advantage of the oven is that food is cooked volumetrically; a filet of meat is for instance cooked uniformly from the edges right through to the core. In a conventional oven, this is much more difficult since heat travels from the outside in. In the Dialog Oven, electromagnetic waves ensure the food is cooked from the inside out.
Since cooking with electromagnetic waves does not brown the surfaces of food, bread can be baked entirely without a crust. For a classic loaf of bread and the roasted aromas in meat, the oven technology always combines with radiant heat. In addition, the oven features Miele’s flagship cooking products, including a user-friendly M Touch display. Elegant and uniform illumination on all levels is guaranteed by high-quality LED lighting.
Using the Oven
When the oven first launches in 2018 in Germany and Austria, users will find several other convenient, high-tech features. There is recipe feature included in the Miele mobile that is ideal for experimenting and trying out new ideas. Alongside food preparation videos and shopping lists, the app also allows the parameters of a recipe to be transferred directly to the machine. Recipes from the Miele chefs are available as downloads for budding chefs immediately.
Users of a Dialog Oven will also find themselves with two new concepts: gourmet units and intensity. Gourmet units serve as a unit of energy applied to food, whereby one gourmet unit corresponds to one kilojoule. Intensity settings are high, medium and gentle. For most food, high is the correct choice, while gentle is the ideal setting for delicate dishes such as soufflés.
Use of this new appliance is made simpler by automatic programs. For greater individuality, there are options open to experienced chefs: Gourmet Pro is intended for users with a certain amount of experience and those who like to experiment. In this instance, all parameters such as operating mode, gourmet units, intensity and cooking times must be selected manually. This new method of cooking is also made more accessible to the user in a session with an in-home chef and a community forum.
“We are focusing on the enthusiastic home cook,” said Kniehl. “This is the beginning of this technology in the kitchen for this growing group of users.”