Looking for a meaningful gift this Christmas? You may want to take a look at this Xiaomi Mijia Smart Steam Oven because I sure fell in love with it!
For the first time in my life I am excited about a toaster lol. My brother started talking to me about this Xiaomi Mijia Smart Steam Oven 12L (henceforth referred to merely as “toaster” because what the hell is up with that super-long name?) a few months ago. It was not long after we watched Inga’s video about using her Balmuda toaster. Although I became smitten with the idea of that toaster myself, there was no way I was going to buy it at $329. (Unless I was a billionaire obvs.) It felt like too much money for a toaster, for me anyway.
But then my brother came across this Xiaomi Mijia toaster, which was kind of a Balmuda look-alike. That was when his researching began. Apparently I was not the only one who loved the idea of owning something like the Balmuda! He decided to buy this Xiaomi Mijia toaster in the end, during a double-double sale a couple of months ago. He got it through Lazada and used a ton of vouchers, managing to buy it for practically half the price. We had no idea at the time how much things would change after acquiring this toaster, but boy did it ever.
I know you’re probably thinking, ‘What is the big deal? It’s a freaking toaster!’ and in some ways, you would be right. But as a breakfast lover, it wasn’t until this toaster that I realized it was possible to link the words “life-changing” and “toast” in a sentence. And being the enthusiastic sort, I needed to talk about this.
This is a “review” which I decided to write because I find there isn’t enough of them out there. Most of the reviews you’d find on YouTube are in Thai, so I wanted to add an English voice into the mix. I also honestly feel like this would make an amazing Christmas gift for all the breakfast-lovers and kitchen-experimenters in your life. (If they’re anything like me, they’ll have a blast with this!) Having done a handful of experimentation myself, I can tell you it’s a lot of fun!
My thoughts in a video
Why I like the Xiaomi Mijia Smart Steam Oven
Not to be mistaken with the larger 30L Mijia Oven that has a fan, this Xiaomi Mijia Smart Steam Oven 12L is a toaster oven through and through. It is however a far more “intelligent” version of your typical toaster. For one thing, it has digital temperature control technology. You only have to know what temperature you want to cook with and turn the nob to set it up. Though the unit has presets for specific applications, I prefer using manual mode pretty much all the time.
The steam feature is the biggest selling point of this toaster, similar to the Balmuda one. It doesn’t steam food in the literal sense though, so don’t let the word usage confuse you. There is a little slot or hole at the top of the unit covered with a cap, and this is where you add 5 mL of water before starting the cooking process. This water releases a bit of steam inside the toaster that helps maintain the softness of the bread on the inside as it gets toasted on the outside.
I like that they designed it so that the water cap fits seamlessly into the unit, because as I’ve seen on videos featuring the Balmuda, its cap is not attached to the toaster itself. It’s more prone to getting misplaced that way.
Back to the toasting, you know how when you toast bread with a normal toaster it gets completely cooked through to the center and becomes crunchy and dry all the way through? The steam feature of the Xiaomi Mijia toaster prevents the drying out part from happening while still giving you a very crunchy and golden bread exterior. You will especially feel the effect if you toast very thick-cut milk breads like the Fuwa Fuwa Milk Bread. It will form sort of a crispy crust on the surface of the bread but the inside will remain super fluffy! SO SO GOOD.
My default setting for making toast is always 200°C on manual mode, between 3 minutes and 3 minutes 30 seconds depending on the thickness of the bread. The unit does have a pre-programmed toast setting however, and you can use that if you want. And yes, the unit used in this toaster is Celsius, not Farenheit.
If you think this thing is only good for toasting breads, think again! I have also used it for small-batch baking with much success. Thanks to the temperature control, you can totally bake in this! I have made banana bread and cookies in this toaster, making sure to use vessels that actually fit into the small space.
The speed at which the toaster reaches the set temperature also means that I don’t have to preheat the unit. It makes small-batch baking incredibly convenient! I wasn’t sure it would work out at first but you will see in the recipes I tested below that this Xiaomi Mijia toaster is handier than you might expect. I also feel that the toaster is good at maintaining consistent temperature. If ever it becomes a little too hot or goes over the set temperature, it automatically stops and restarts. You’ll have to wait a few minutes for it to cool down before it will allow you to use it again. (I usually just open the toaster door to help it along.)
Every unit of Xiaomi Mijia Smart Steam Oven 12L comes with a cute pair of small tongs. It looks like a toy when held by my 6-feet-plus brother but it serves its purpose. (Unless you’re toasting ginormous croissants that is, in which case it will be hard to grab hold!) I also love that it has a tray at the bottom that catches all the stray crumbs, making it easier to clean. (You can see it in the video above.) However, you still need to wipe the inside of the toaster. That’s kind of a no-brainer, because they haven’t invented a self-cleaning toaster yet lol.
If there are any special features I have not mentioned here, it’s probably because I have not used or discovered them yet. Let me know in the comments section below!
Things I wish were better
I have no idea if there are plans to make a newer version of this toaster for the international market, but right now it only comes with Chinese labels for the settings. The only workaround for non-Chinese readers is downloading the Mi Home app. The app can be used to control the toaster remotely (among other Xiaomi appliances) and the instructions there are in English. Technically that’s a plus, but I have not been able to use it because it’s a hit or miss on Apple devices. I already deleted my app because it doesn’t work on my iPhone lol. Some appliances will pair and some will not. (Thankfully, I am Chinese and can read Chinese words so no problems!) We almost always use manual setting for the toaster anyway.
I wish they made the toaster oven capacity a little bigger. The toaster looks big and boxy from the outside but the space inside is pretty cramped because the heating elements take up majority of the space. Any bread or roll or pastry that’s higher than 3 inches (maybe even just 2.5 inches) will touch the top heating element when you put it in. The result? Burnt tops. You’ll just have to manually remove those burnt parts before eating.
I also wish the toaster tray was more well-made. It stains easily, scratches easily, and it doesn’t exactly feel heavy duty. It does its job but once something is stuck (like melted chocolate!) it doesn’t come off with just dishwashing soap. You’ll need some baking soda and vinegar and elbow grease to clean it up. I wish this thing came with an extra tray, to be honest.
As a matter of fact, I think the unit itself stains kind of easily. It might be the material of the coating used. It’s a beautiful white but it needs some heavy wiping (maybe even scrubbing) after every use. We use the toaster very heavily and sometimes a light wipe -through doesn’t do the trick in restoring that lovely white exterior. You may also have noticed in my video that a lot of crumbs have fallen into the nooks and crannies of the toaster in places that the eye does not easily see. (ie. That little space between the toaster door and the display and knob block) I only noticed myself while editing the video lol. It’s best to have a small brush to sweep away crumbs in the harder to reach places.
EXPERIMENT 1: Heating croissants until it’s like freshly baked
One of the crowning glories of the Xiaomi Mijia Smart Steam Oven is its ability to heat croissants back into fully crispy buttery glory. I have never met anyone who likes a soggy croissant but it’s kind of a hassle to have to reheat them in a large oven just to get them into as close to freshly baked as possible. Sometimes the laziness overcomes you and you just decide you’ll take the soggy croissant and be done with it! If you have this toaster, that’s never going to be a problem. No preheating, no pre-anything. Just pop the thing inside and poof!
I was extremely happy with how this toaster brought my day-old Butterboy croissants back to life. If you watched the video, you might have heard the restored crunch. The outside is crunchy as can be, but the inside is flaky and buttery but NOT dry. The steam feature helps to retain a bit of that moistness in the middle, and in a croissant that translates to a pleasant buttery-ness. The only downside is that the top got burnt because these croissants are so large they touch the ceiling of the toaster. Smaller croissants will be safer but I think that burnt top is inevitable for most toasters, not just this one. I just cut the burnt parts off and enjoy the rest.
EXPERIMENT 2: Leveling-Up Toast– Basque Cheesecake Toast
THIS WAS AMAZING. I have been seeing this really interesting adaptation of a Basque Burnt Cheesecake in toast form floating around YouTube from Korean vloggers, but most of them are made in an actual oven. I decided to give it a try in the toaster with a lot of reservations, so imagine how happy I was when it worked!
I tested it using 2 temperature, as you might have seen in the video above. The first trial I toasted this at 200°C for 10 minutes. The cheesecake center came out beautifully jiggly and creamy and soft– such a great contrast against the crunchy bread! The flavor is perfectly savory and sweet, and it’s an indulgent but frankly heavenly breakfast toast as well.
The toast itself didn’t get as blackened as I expected. (10 minutes is a long time to toast so I was expecting that it was going to get burnt!) The edges or the crust part was dark but not exactly burnt. I was very happy with the grill marks at the back from the tray as well.
With the success of this trial, I had to push my luck. I wanted to see if I can get the tops darker; as close to an actual Basque Cheesecake as I can. Check out the video to see if I succeeded, if you haven’t. (SPOILER ALERT: It came out pretty awesome, but the center was a bit more set.) In any case, I think you’ll be safe toasting these between 10 to 13 minutes, though covering the sides of the bread snuggly with parchment or foil will help prevent burning.
BASQUE CHEESECAKE TOAST (Good for 3 thick-sliced breads)
- 120 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
- 30 grams (3 Tablespoons) sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 60 grams heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Thick-sliced piece of bread
In a bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until well-combined and creamy. In a small bowl, beat the egg then add into the cream cheese mixture. Beat the mixture until smooth.
Beat in the pinch of salt, heavy cream, and vanilla extract until smooth and homogenous. Tap the bowl against the counter to get rid of air bubbles and set aside for a moment.
Take your thick-slice bread and create a deep indentation in the middle, leaving about 1/2-inch all around. Place your bread “vessel” onto your toaster tray and fill with the cream cheese mixture. Do not overfill!
Toast for 10 minutes at 200°C. If you like it a little darker, you can toast for 12 minutes. Cool slightly and enjoy right away while it’s still hot and crunchy!
*To avoid getting burnt bread edges, you can wrap the bread edges with parchment or foil before pouring in the filling mixture. (See video for a better idea)
Adapted from 매일맛나 Delicious Day on YouTube
EXPERIMENT 3: Making a savory treat– Toaster Baked Eggs with Marinara Sauce & Cheese
Eggs are about the easiest thing to cook anywhere so I thought, why not a toaster?! I wanted to experiment with a savory dish and actually meant to do chicken wings but was pressed for time, so I made baked eggs instead. It doesn’t look appetizing lol but it was delicious! If you use good marinara sauce, it’s going to be delicious regardless. This is a great throw-everything-in-and-be-done-with-it breakfast dish that works well with toast.
TOASTER BAKED EGGS WITH MARINARA & CHEESE (1 serving)
- Scant 1/4 cup marinara sauce
- 1 to 2 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon milk or cream
- Salt and pepper
- Chopped chives, for optional garnish and added flavor
In a lightly greased ramekin, add marinara sauce to the bottom. Crack in egg/s. Top with the cheese and milk, then sprinkle on some salt and pepper.
Bake in the toaster oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 200°C, until whites are fully cooked and the yolk is cooked to desired doneness. Garnish with chives and serve with toast!
*This recipe is easily adaptable. Add your favorite toppings and use your preferred sauce!
Adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks
EXPERIMENT 4: Making a sweet treat– Toaster Chocolate Chip Cookies
This one got me pretty darn excited. Cookies in a toaster!? I managed to find a recipe that yields 2 large cookies, which is the perfect fit for baking in a toaster.
You make the dough with pretty much the same procedure as any other choco chip cookie recipe; just make sure to space the dough as far apart as you can so they don’t bake into each other. Space them properly so they don’t spread against the side of the toaster tray as well and end up deformed rather than round. Once you pop the dough in, the toaster does the rest of the work.
I have made some really great choco chip cookies in the past so I guess it’s my fault that we’ve developed a semi-critical palate when it comes to cookies, but this one passed with flying colors! It’s not the best choco chip cookie I’ve ever made, but considering all the other factors it’s a pretty awesome and very photogenic cookie! Firm outside, chewy inside. I love that it has surface rippling, which normally one would get after refrigerating the dough and all that brouhaha. I didn’t use my good chocolate for the chunks because I didn’t know if this was going to work, so no melty bits, but next time I make these I will use Auro.
After this successful trial I actually cooked box mix banana bread in this toaster and it came out pretty great! I needed to tent the breads to prevent the tops from browning too much– an inevitable occurrence because the space is so small in a toaster– but I am already looking forward to making more small-batch baked goodies using this thing!
TOASTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (Makes 2 large)
- 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 Tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for topping
Line the tray of the toaster with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, cream softened butter and sugars together. Add salt and vanilla and stir until combined. Add egg yolk and stir again.
Add in baking soda and flour and stir until combined. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips.
Form cookie dough into two large balls and place on the lined toaster pan. Make sure to space the dough several inches apart because they will spread. Top with additional chocolate chips if desired.
Bake in the toaster at 180°C for 12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown but the center is still gooey.
Lower the toaster temperature to 150°C and bake another 3 minutes until the center looks about set. Leave in the toaster until it has completely cooled down to finish baking in the residual heat. (Or you can take it out and cool at room temp for a softer cookie.)
Remove toaster tray from toaster oven. If you want, give the tray a firm but careful bang on the counter top. This will help deflate the cookie and give it a perfect wrinkly appearance. (I got a good wrinkly cookie even without the banging part.) Enjoy!
*Feel free to experiment with baking time to achieve the texture you prefer!
Adapted from Number 2 Pencil blog
I am in love with this toaster, despite its “short”-comings
Considering how we’ve been using this toaster practically every single day since we bought it, it might be an understatement to say that we LOVE this Xiaomi Mijia Smart Steam Oven. Despite the cons I listed above, none of them are deal-breakers for me. All of them are manageable, plus the pros clearly far outweigh the cons.
I think this toaster deserves this chunk of time I’ve willingly devoted to make this review post, considering all the great breakfast toasts I’ve been enjoying the past few months thanks to it. But as you can see, it’s not just good for toast. I honestly think this is a REALLY good buy, and since 12/12 is coming up… Happy budol!
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