Anova Culinary made waves by launching its connected smartphone Sous Vide Precision Cooker, and in 2020, Anova introduced its combi steam oven, called the Precision Oven, as well as a smart device that is integrated to the sous vide cooker through Anova’s Anova Culinary application. Since its introduction it has been a hit. APO (as it’s referred to) has been receiving acclaim review, and I decided to test it for a week to determine whether it could live up to the hype.
The combi oven – a combination of a convection cooker and steam oven was initially designed by the food industry for purposes of creating several racks of food perfectly cooked in the same manner. The combi oven is programmed to produce either dry or humid heat, and will automatically switch between them in the cooking process.
The convection in an oven in a combi produces exact, dry heat and the steam function gives control of the moisture levels of food items. The combi oven is able to cook almost everything such as sous vide a steak to medium-rare steam rice or bake and proof baguettes, air fry crispy French fries roast a juicy chicken.
Combi ovens for restaurants are huge and extremely expensive. The first combi ovens for home use were mostly built-ins , but were also extremely high-end.
The Anova countertop unit is the very first in its class and while it’s not as costly as its larger counterparts, it’s still a massive $599. There were numerous reviews about the APO wasn’t quite good enough And to the credit of Anova, Anova responded to critics by bringing the software up to date in 2020 , and then after that in 2021. The app that is integrated was a must during my tests and was absolutely necessary – is continuously updated with recipes as well as instructional videos.
How do they work?
The research of the APO is built on modulated temperature control as well as steam as a method to prevent food from drying out like it would in a traditional oven.
The thermostat of a conventional oven is often a bit difficult to read and oven temperatures can be between 25 and (or more) warmer or cooler. If you don’t spend the time to adjust the thermostat of your oven and it’s nearly impossible to achieve reliable results.
The APO uses one PID (proportional-integral-derivative) controller that corrects a failure in the particular control function. Multiple temperature sensors as well as microprocessors control the temperature. When the sensors detect the temperature changing the PID controller adjusts to maintain the temperature programed.
The natural moisture of food is vaporized due to the dry temperatures of traditional ovens. So food items are more likely to dry out in an ordinary oven. However, the APO features an integrated water tank which produces steam within the oven. This causes a great deal of humidity that is surrounded by and sticks to the food cooking, ensuring that the food’s moisture does not evaporate.
The APO is significantly bigger than I thought it would be, and at 46 pounds, much heavier. After I removed the APO from its packaging I was able to find separate instructions on lifting it from the packaging. It also included a warning that this is a two-person job.
Anova makes a concerted effort to portray its oven as beautiful however, it’s actually an ugly black box that has an water tank. The tank can hold 1.3 gallon, which adds the weight of the oven. When you choose the counter real estate you’ll give up for the APO It’s not going to be moved without the help of a additional person.
With the water tank in place (using pure water that is distilled! ) The oven measures 23 inches in length. It is 18 inches high and, including the oven’s handle that is 20 inches deep. The inside is 1.2 cubic feet that Anova states can accommodate an 8-11 pounds turkey (10 pounds is their recommended).
The countertop oven has two racks, an stainless-steel pan and the food probe thermometer that is used for the sous vide feature. The food probe is an 4.4-inch metal wand, which is attached to a 19-inch wire, which connects to the upper left in the. It comes with the top, back as well as bottom heat elements as well as steam boiler.
The handle also functions as the oven’s program center. When the oven is connected the touch screen is lit. One of the things that is confusing about the design of the oven is there isn’t an off/on button. According to the sloppy user’s manual – as well as the website, the only way to turn off the APO off would be to allow it to cool, then pull the plug.
The Anova Oven app
After I had the oven setup I installed Anova’s Anova app (which is available to download for iOS as well as Android). There are two apps – The Anova Oven app, and Anova Culinary app. Anova Culinary application. It is worth noting that the Anova Culinary program is only meant for standalone Anova sous vide appliance So don’t bother downloading it to use with this oven.
The app includes a variety of promotional videos, including “About Your Oven” – in which a grumpy actress explains what an oven can accomplish. However, they aren’t instructional and, in fact there are noneinstructional videos within the app, or on the website of Anova.
What you receive is a tiny booklet which outlines the most basic aspects, including ways to wash the oven, how to remove the scale from your water tank and also how to change bulbs in the oven. It’s all you need. So I had to guess it and watch a few YouTube videos to gain an understanding of how the oven functions.
The next step was to connect the APO to my phone. Anova truly pushes the Wi-Fi connection as an important achievement. Connecting to the internet is accomplished via the application, and it ought to have been that was as simple as three steps. After over an hour and more than a dozen attempts and numerous attempts to troubleshoot the issue, I was unable to get connected. The app it connects with the router however the oven does not communicate with the application. (Even while making this report, I’ve tried it two times more, but no it’s not connecting.)
Anova Oven setting up and controls
If the APO is connected to the APO the touchscreen vibrates and then lights up. There are four icons for the heating elements: lower than, higher, lower and upper and back. The icons are next to the thermometer icon to choose the sous vide mode and next to it, you can set the temperature which defaults to 66deg Celsius as well as plus and minus symbols – to alter the temperature below.
Herein lies my first issue. The recipes in the app and on the internet are made in Celsius just. If you prefer cooking in Fahrenheit, you must make this conversion on your own. However, if you want to change the oven’s temperature to Celsius in order to convert it into Fahrenheit then you have to keep the thermometer’s icon on for five minutes. (I was forced to go through the internet to find out the answer.)
Really, Anova could have made this much easier by creating the thermometer icon on two or three taps.
In the middle of the temperature icon will be a target symbol that controls the timer as well as the probe temperature. Both can be programmed in a separate manner, according to what cooking method you choose. There is no reason to explain the reason these two controls are connected, but it was confusing while it came to programming sous vide modes. The interface allows the control of temperature with precision.
The following control is to turn off or on the steam, and what percent of steam will be created.
On the far right-hand side of the handle, there is a play/pause symbol to stop or start the oven program. Keep in mind that this is in place of an actual off/on button.
I wanted to test the APO in all its capabilities: the defrosting process, under vide air fry Rice cooking and steaming baking and proofing.
Results of cooking
Sus vide-cooked steak successful!
I was most curious about the APO’s sous-vide function since the food does not need to be vacuum-sealed in an airtight bag or cooked in a controlled-temperature water bath. The recipe in the app for “Steak 101,” I sauteed a 1-pound, 1-inch thick New York strip steak and placed the probe in the thickest portion of the meat. The steak was then placed on the pan made of stainless steel and attached it to my oven.
It’s easy enough, however it took me 20 minutes of trying find out what I could do to programme the APO. The recipes assume you are familiar with each and every part of the feature, which is why I got no assistance on the app. I simply began pushing buttons until I realized the recipes’ instructions: sous vide mode steam 100%, sous vide mode the temperature of (or 140), temperature (or 140) and probe for (or 123.8). (or 123.8).
In a typical sous vide cookware, steaks could take as long as 2 hours to cook. My surprise was that my steak was cooked to the perfect temperature in just 32 minutes. Like any steak cooked sous vide, it’s best to pat dry and then seared, in the event that you don’t need a gray slab of meat, then cooked in a cast iron skillet. I was skeptical about whether the steak was cooked to perfection however, when I cut it, it was tender, medium-rare, succulent and delicious.
For the APO’s sous vide feature certainly a hit.
Rice that is perfectly cooked
As per this recipe in the app’s “Rice 101” recipe, I put 2 dry-measuring cups of rice, three measuring cups of water that measure liquid along with a teaspoon olive oil, and 14 teaspoon salt on the sheet pan of the oven, and then spread it evenly. It is cooked to 100% steam capacity with Convection Heating for 30 minutes.
I was once more disappointed by the recipe’s directions to set an oven’s temp at 100.6 since there’s not a way of entering .6 instead of .0. I then rounded it up to 101 and was hoping I’d get “perfectly fluffy rice” with this “foolproof method.”
I examined for rice at the end of 24 mins and it was still in need of a minute. I then the rice was fluffed using the fork. It was cooked perfectly, however, I could get similar results using an oven or rice cooker without a lot of hassle.
Omelet – complete failure
“Omelet 101,” or the “Omelet 101” recipe calls for eggs, milk and salt, which are blended before being put into a pie plate that has been sprayed with butter (or nonstick pan), which is the one I employed. First, you need heating the APO by using the steam and sous vide settings until it reaches 83 (181.4). It took the oven about 10 minutes to reach the temperature. In the same amount of time I could have made two omelets in the skillet, before putting it into the APO for five minutes.
In the course of my test, I noticed the temperature fluctuating by 2 degrees. The Anova website says this is normal. However, during my subsequent tests I noticed that the temperature dipped or increased while cooking. This is not good to the Anova “Precision” trademark-it was very difficult to maintain temperature precision.
After five minutes I added the salsa and cheese and cooked the omelet for 30 seconds in order to melting the cheese (per recipe). When I was making the omelet I noticed it was textured and appearance. It looked like it was like a custard. I’m pretty adept in plating, but this one was messy.
This recipe came out as a complete failure. The combination of the sous vide and steam created a chalky and rubbery flavor similar to food from airplanes in the 1980s. Also, it took far much too long for cooking.
Chicken defrosting is good however, it’s slow
Both the app and website contain any information on freezing meat. When I did some online research I came across an Reddit thread which suggested using the sous vide feature and the lowest temperature which is 77 degrees. I had 1 1/4 pound of chicken thighs that were frozen to form a solid oval and after 45 mins in the APO I was able to separate the thighs. Within 15 minutes, my thighs were frozen and defrosted.
I like the method of warm water – meat sealed in a plastic bag, then bobbed in a bath that takes between 30 and 40 minutes. The APO required a little more time but the results were satisfactory.
It’s possible to defrost an whole chicken that has been cut up and frozen within a matter of minutes. There’s no data to tell how long it will take to defrost the APO which is why you’ll need to be vigilant about the chicken throughout the process of defrosting.
Chicken wings that have been air-fried – incredible
This was among the easiest recipes that yielded excellent results. Instructions call for inserting wire racks in the foil-lined baking sheets However, as the racks aren’t able to work, I created my own. I placed one rack included inside the baking pan and then placed the baking sheet on the other rack.
The wings of chicken were coated with baking flour, rice and Kosher salt, then spread out on the rack and cooked to 215 (437) by using both the bottom and top heating components. I was a bit concerned by the steam billows that came out from the lower part of the oven but it was just normal venting.
The recipe stated that it should take 25 minutes to cook, however I checked them manually at 22 minutes to ensure they were cooked to perfection. The wings were crispy and crunchy , with succulent meat. Absolutely delicious. Next time, I’ll need to explore a whole roasting chicken, and something softer such as a slice of salmon.
Pizza dough that has been baked and proofed Pizza dough Anova recipe that fails
Strangely enough it is that the Anova website contains instructions on how to proof bread dough using Anova sous vide cooker. Anova sous vide cooker, but none of them are available in the APO. I went online to find the method suggested from other combo ovens, and came up at 85 with 60 percent steam. I created a basic pizza dough (not the incredibly complicated recipe in Anova’s app) Anova application) after which I let it prove for about 30 minutes. There was no sign of change so I increased the steam level to 75%.
As I said earlier that the APO’s temperature changes, and during the long proofing process the temperature increased to the level of 89. However, the dough was not affected and did not rise as much.
I put the dough into the baking pan. I then I topped it with tomato puree, basil, oregano and shreds of Parmesan. According to Anova’s Anova recipe I heated my oven at 250 (482) and then, according to the instructions baking the pizza for seven minutes with the rear and top heating elements. While baking the APO continued to fluctuate, dipping in temperature until 219 degrees.
I was a bit concerned that the APO was not hot enough, and I wondered what the reason was for why this recipe did not include the element that heats the bottom of the crust to ensure a crisp bottom crust. I was correct in both instances. The top crust of pizza was golden, and the cheese was melting, however the bottom crust was thin and flaccid, and was the texture like freshly baked bread. Better pizza results might be possible. Next time , I’ll experiment with another temperature setting with the bottom heating element, and not following the recipe of Anova.
The process of cleaning the APO is similar as cleaning an ordinary oven. The site suggests heating an oven until 140 degrees with 100% steam, and then closing it down and spraying it with oven cleaner. The initial heating using steam didn’t appear to affect the grease that was in the rear of the oven. Anova says that oven cleaner is more effective when the oven is warmed up.
Remember that if you’ve cooked food in Anova’s Anova Precision Oven at high temperatures, you might want to let it cool down prior to spraying anything inside.
Anova will then advise closing the oven’s door follow the oven cleaner’s time suggestions, and then wipe the oven with a damp cloth. Then, warm the oven to 300 using 100% steam in order to take off any fumes. Once the oven had cool I washed off the steam that was able to pick up a tiny amount of cleaner that I had initially not noticed.
The baking pan and wire racks are constructed of stainless steel that is of high quality and are cleanable using a sponge and dish soap.
It is the Anova Precision oven’s non-bagless sous vide feature is distinctive. Anova’s rivals include Wolf, Miele, Cuisinart include the sous vide feature however, you’ll need to put foods in plastic container prior to cooking. Other than this APO APO really isn’t that different in comparison to other combo ovens available on the market.
With the exception of two bad recipes in the Anova application Anova’s APO did very well. My major complaint is that Anova does not provide enough information on how to operate the oven and you’ll need to discover the process through trial and error. This is something most home cooks don’t prefer to try, but it could be you!
The APO is certainly not for the beginner as it is claimed by Anova users as if it’s only meant for those with experience and dreams of becoming chefs in restaurants at home. I’d have to agree with that statement to a certain extent, however Anova could rethink the engineering behind the APO so that it’s more accessible and easy to use for ordinary people.
Anova is also required to discover the APO’s weaknesses, and most important, its fluctuating temperature which is absurd for a device that is heavily advertised to be “precision.” The Anova must be adjusted to make it easier to switch the temperature between Celsius and Fahrenheit and an upgrade to the user’s manual is necessary.
In theory the APO could be a replacement for a variety of smaller kitchen appliances, including an air fryer, rice cooker toaster oven or air fryer. If one are able to afford the APO and have the countertop space the combination of all these devices in one unit is convenient and well-priced.
If you’re in a tiny kitchen, I’m not sure what you’d do with precision cooker from Anova. (Some people on the internet say they have it over their normal oven.) In this case, individual appliances are the better choice as they can be put within a small cabinet.
It’s the bottom line. that I do not believe Anova’s Anova Precision Oven is for all. If you’re thinking you’ll put it on and make amazing meals right straight out of the box and you’re disappointed, then you’ll be. The APO isn’t intuitive however, if you have the perseverance to figure out how it functions, and have the knowledge to make changes to the recipes of Anova It could be a profitable and beneficial investment.