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on January 2, 2014
We purchased this oven after reading a review of the product in the December 2013 Food and Wine magazine. It is a very versatile tool. So far I have used it to warm expensive leftovers from a restaurant dinner and to cook fish. I am still having fun experimenting with it.
I have some responses to some of the unhappy comments from other purchasers:
--RE insufficient instructions: our oven came with a thorough instruction book combined with a helpful recipe book. If your order did not include this you can download it from the Cuisinart website. Also found the Food and Wine article helpful for cooking ideas.
--RE difficult to clean: The instruction book states you can use the steam function without food in the oven to loosen any food stuck to the walls, let the oven cool, then wipe the walls with a cloth or paper towel while still damp. I followed this procedure and cleaning was easy
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on June 7, 2014
Have had the oven for 2 days and have used it twice -- once in steam mode and once in convection mode. Food looked and tasted good so no complaint there. However, the vents that expell the water vapor when in steam mode are located in the rear of the unit. My backsplashes were streaked with this water vapor-- not unlike shower doors after a hot shower. Since my backsplash is Corian, cleaning it was not a big problem. However, other surfaces, especially painted drywall, could present a much bigger issue. I suggest before purchasing this oven some thought be given to placement of the unit taking into consideration the vents are in the rear and expell hot steam along the width of the unit. The top of this unit gets really hot so be very careful not to store anything on top of it.
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on July 12, 2014
I have had this for a few months now. And boy am I so D@%# happy I got it! It is really a nice piece of kit. It has a quality to it that certainly has it appearing like a top quality item. I mostly bought it cause my old steamer, a cheap one, was giving out. I bought this and love it, I do have to change how I steam cook my items with this oven due to how it works... my old steamer pushed steam from the bottom up, this one pushes it out from the top side on the right... It has more area inside than my older steamer, so I have to think about where I place my potato and such in it. my old steamer had a two tray system, and I do miss that. So I had to re think of how to cook things in this steamer as it only has the one tray. Luckily it has a bigger inner area.. I have found a few glass pans that I can put side by side, one for rice, another for a pan or another glass bowl. When I steam the rice, I am able to steam frozen chicken at the same time, 45 minutes, and I'm done... it's great...

There is another neat feature that lets you broil and steam at the same time, didn't think you could do that. But you can, and I have tried it on a few things already. It's great and nice, cause you can get a nice juicy item, but then it broils and gives the outer edge of the food a more crunch of sorts. It's pretty neat what you can do with this...

BTW, the steamer only uses about 698 watts of power, and that is only when it's steaming... it steams on and off, but inside the temperature is kept steady, so it's not necessary using 698 watts the entire time. It's about double that when you broil too.

I have read people saying it's difficult to clean. It nearly deterred me from getting this item. But now that I have it, I have no idea what their problem is about cleaning this steamer? It even tells you how to do it properly in the manual. Anyhow, it's soooo not difficult to clean out at all, not one bit!

One thing I did do as preparation of getting this item was to buy myself one of them thick cutting boards that was pretty close to the size of this oven, it's slightly bigger. I did this cause I was not sure just how much the heat could damage my counter top, so I would recommend anyone buying this item to do the same thing, they are like only $14.

Also, be sure to ALWAYS empty the water tray after each use, one hour of steaming in just the steam only mode can fill up the water drip tray.

I certainly recommend this to anyone that wants to eat more healthy, steaming foods is a great way to start. I rarely even add any spices to my foods cause the juicy foods are so delish!

Few Tips:
An average size potato, scrubbed and rinsed off in water, takes about 45 minutes, and bigger heavier potato will take at least ten more minutes to steam. Rice in a bowl, I prefer glass bowl, fill the bowl with 1.5 cups of clean water and 1 cup of rice for 45 minutes... but in the last five minutes add a "Knorr homestyle Stock (concentrated stock) such as chicken flavor and add some shredded carrots, let that steam the last 5 minutes and you have a damn good rice... Frozen boneless chicken slabs, lightly rub your choices of cooking oil on it, not much as it's frozen and quickly add your already blended spices to it, cook from frozen for 45 minutes, same goes for frozen boneless fish slabs... so damn good, I often just cook them with out spices and they are juicy, well heated, and yummy... And set your steamer to the 210 F setting for all these tips. Broccoli, chopped carrots, cauliflower, really only needs about 7 minutes of cooking at 210 F steaming... and all these are only on the STEAM ONLY option. And ALWAYS empty the slide out tray at the bottom of the door, it's the drain excess water, it can fill up good on the 210F in an hour of steaming... I have also cooked rice and chicken at the same time, I found the perfect glass container to cook the rice in and I use the included pan with rack for the chicken. Fits perfectly beside each other... Hope this helps!
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on September 9, 2014
The CSO-300 is a home version of a commercial CombiOven that lets commercial chefs use steam along with radiant heat. Its operation is easier done than described, but everything starts with a big chrome click wheel. The click wheel rotates to select between operating modes (there are nine), then a push of the click wheel lets you set temperature within the operating mode, and another push lets you set time. You then push a separate stop/start button to begin the cooking. It's easier than it sounds, although the black-on-blue LCD display isn't as legible as you might think. The only other front button controls the oven light.

The nine cooking modes are Toast, Convection Bake, Bake Steam, Broil, Broil Steam, Steam, Super Steam, Bread, and Warm. It does remember the settings within each mode, so that if you like your Toast at setting 3, it remembers that for next use.

I was underwhelmed with the quality of the CSO-300's accessories. The baking pan, chromed wire shelf, and chromed wire roasting rack are laughably cheap and warp in the dishwasher. Think Mattel EZ-Bake Oven quality.

Another big disappointment is the manual that ships with the product. The operations manual has one table showing suggested times for food categories, but this is minimally useful. If you want to dry-roast you can refer to traditional cookbooks or convection books, but the whole point of this oven is to combine steam and radiant heat and they're aren't a lot of consumer references to help (the Williams Sonoma website does have a few more recipes). The same printed manual (turn it over and read from the back) serves as the cookbook. Unfortunately, the recipes are inappropriate for someone just learning combination cooking (steam plus baking or broiling). There are 32 recipes in no discernible order. Not all of them even use the oven (e.g., champagne vinaigrette?). Several are overnight recipes or rely on previous preparation of other recipes. For example, the Red Chile Pork taco filling sounds great...but it takes 3 hours, and you have to already have made the Red Chile Sauce, which takes 80 minutes...and the Red Chile Sauce assume you've already made the Roasted Tomatoes, which take 20 minutes. This is nothing but food porn if you've come home from work and need to cook dinner. Even worse, the recipes are badly written and have obvious errors. For example, the recipe for roast chicken says to season the whole chicken with pepper, "toss with the garlic and fresh herbs" then "marinate" overnight.

Steam comes from a reservoir on the right side of the oven that you remove to fill, much like a single-serve pod-style coffeemaker. The tank is large enough that it lasts for a full cooking cycle. Preheating is very fast in convection baking. You can cook rice, proof bread, or bake bread with steam for an artisanal crust. Steam begins within a minute or two when a steam cooking mode is selected, and it's of impressive volume. Adding steam during cooking makes for surprisingly moist meat roasts. Overall I found the food quality to be very good. Roasted/steamed veggies are moist and deliciously caramelized. The machine produced passable slow-cooked ribs (tender and moist) in a couple of hours. Dry roasting is good. Be aware of the pull-out drip pan beneath the machine that catches condensed steam, as dumping it in the sink is precariously like carrying a wide flat roasting pan full of water.

Cooks well, looks great, but minus one star for horrible manual and minus another star for cheap build quality in accessories.

An 8" Lodge cast iron skillet fits well inside. A small (11.75" x 8.25") Silpat fits on the shelf but not flat within the baking pan.
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on February 23, 2014
This is one of the few times I didn't purchase an item on Amazon that I'm reviwing but occasionally you can find a great deal elsewhere and I did which made the decision easier. I'll start off by saying I am a trained chef and baker who's worked in professional kitchens and have always been green with envy using the amazing combi ovens and baker's ovens. Since this little gadget is about 12K less no professional chef should knock it for its lack of similarity; yet someone did feel the need to compare- no surprise, it's not a combi!

What this oven is:
After seeing this as several people have mentioned, in December's F&W, I decided to take the plunge for the baking feature alone. But first I had to trade in my beloved Breville and actually gave away the-less-than one year-old toaster oven to my (lucky) daughter. For the love of bread baking this item will make the average home baker very happy to be able to bake bread with that lovely sheen; bakery bread at home makes the trade less sad for me because the Breville makes the best toast of any toaster out there.

That said I have a few other comparisons to make with the Breville (but it's not a perfect apples to apples because the model I had wasn't a convection).

First, this review gives 4 stars for the awful tray that's included- I kept my Breville tray and the Cuisinart one went to said daughter.

The second half notch off because the toast function is not adjustable and I'm still struggling to find settings that work on the different types of toast I'm always making. Sure I lower it to 2 or 3 the second time but the Breville did that automatically if you just hit start within a few seconds of the first run it put a minute or minute and a half more instead of a full toast cycle- all without having to fiddle with it - perfect toast every time. Cuisinart: not so much. Have set off the smoke alarm on several occasions just for toast - never more than a 4 setting. When I use a thicker sourdough type that #4 is too little and I'd love to just flip that wheel to adjust the time mid cycle but it manages to burn the toast after I have to hit it with another round.

Thirdly, another chink in the Cuisinart armor is that the Breville is much sleeker looking and still manages to be a tad roomier- Breville also looked much better on my super modern kitchen counter and the Cuisinart with all that stainless still looks chunky and not as streamlined...again in this case I had to make an exception going back to that steam function.

Pluses:
Baked a whole deep veggie lasagne in no time- truly fast and cooked all the way through- making my own pasta and rolling the sheets out all I had to do with the pasta was dip the sheets in just boiled water and layered the barely cooked sheets down. Steam bake made it just as perfectly cooked, not mushy as in any full oven. We all raved.

Baked pretzels from a homemade recipe with beer and butter in the dough- compared with oven side by side- no difference between the two kinds -which is to say that's a good thing; of course I could only fit 4 at a time and the oven could easily do a dozen but if you ever made them and froze the shaped and par boiled pretzels in the freezer this oven would make the perfect freshly baked snack in short time.

Tonight I made two large boules of semolina bread which is where this little guy really shined.. (from the Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day recipe)- to compare, one went in the oven on top of a preheated steel and the other in the Cuisinart- shockingly it's preheated in mere minutes- thought I'd need 30-35 minutes for it to bake and it came out in half the time with a perfect steam-induced rise and crust- I'd say under 20 minutes and the look and taste were outstanding.

All in all, in baking it will give the oven a run for its money, not regretting the purchase and will begin to trust it more and more as the experiments continue. i wish I could have uploaded the photo comparison of the two loaves but if you're interested in seeing it, the link is here: [...]
Instruction manual has been uploaded right here in the product details so no need to worry if you lose it- I look forward to baking beets in it.
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on October 25, 2014
Perfect oven, very good for making bread, for a fraction of the price of a combination oven. A larger model, able to handle baguettes would be simply fantastic.
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on December 13, 2013
Steam function - makes great food but I had to return b/c it is so messy. For my first meal in this thing I made fish with some veggies. Obviously with the steam function on, that's the point of getting this oven. The fish came out great. Crispy on the outside, very tender and juicy on the inside.
The problem is, the whole oven gets super sticky and slimy with fat and grease. Probably b/c it gets in the atmosphere with the steam. I tried cleaning it as hard as I could. Which is really difficult because first, you don't want to burn yourself, but if you wait long enough the grease will solidify and be impossible to get off. Second, the cleaning functions don't work too well. I tried doing everything the instructions said, twice. Didn't take. If I can't keep it clean, there's no way I'm keeping it. So i returned it. But the fish was delicious.
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on December 12, 2013
oven is super!!!!!!!!!!!!!only complaint is,wished it was a little larger,,,but that was my fault--should have read the measurements closer.....but be aware a large chicken will not fit!!!!!!not even a turkey breast--be sure and measure your' food!!!!!!
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on December 24, 2013
I read about this steam convection toaster oven in a magazine. The article writer was impressed with the functions and could not wait to get their own. I ordered it on amazon because the price was great and free shipping with amazon prime. I started using it the same day just to try it out by just cooking potatoes. They came out moist and cooked quickly. Be careful if you open the oven to check on the cooking when the steam function is on as the hot steam comes out and could burn you. I have used it every day trying meats and other vegetables. I will use this much more than my regular oven now and cleanup is easy. Great buy.
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on January 26, 2014
The combo oven, steamer, toaster does a good job. Over the years I have had several toaster ovens and toasters almost none of them did either job well. This device does both quite well and it has the extra advantage of having steam. The convection oven with steam cooks about 20 to 30% faster than just the oven alone. The oven gets hot quickly and maintains temperature well. Most of the other toaster ovens never really got hot enough to be called an oven but this device really works. All in all a good solution for two old people. We use this oven more than the big oven in our range. The price is a bit steep but it works which is much better than something that is cheap but doesn't.
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