Investing in a combi oven is a big decision. There are a lot of factors to consider including space, price, and what kind of food your business serves. When it comes to a combi oven, one thing is for sure: It will change the way you cook food.
What is a Combination Oven?
A combi oven is combination convection oven and steamer. A staple in the European restaurant market, combi ovens are steadily making their way into American kitchens as well.
Steam is one of the most power forces on earth, and thus the most efficient method of cooking available. Combi ovens take the two most common cooking methods, convection and steam, and combine them to create combi cooking. Steam is dry and its added cooking power greatly reduces cook times and improves food quality while also reducing shrinkage of proteins.
Combi ovens come in both gas and electric configurations. The most common configuration is electric. To run a combi oven in a commercial kitchen, you should have no less than 200 dedicated amps. Make sure there’s enough power in your kitchen to handle powering a combi oven before purchasing one.
So how does it all work?
The combi oven has three settings. One for convection, one for steam, and one for a combination of the two. Convection and steam are great cooking methods on their own, but when the two join forces, the end result is delicious food that will garner repeat business. Illustration of the three settings here.
A convection oven uses an interior fan to evenly distribute hot air around the food. This allows for more even cooking and cuts down on time.
When home cooks think of steam, they think of it as a moist cooking method. Professional chefs understand that this is not the case. Steam is a dry cooking method that occurs when water is heated to 213 degrees °F. Steam then hits the product at a very high temperature and cooks it without sacrificing moisture.
The combi feature uses both convection and steam to cook product. This not only makes for a better cooked, juicier end result, but you lose less product in the process. With a combi oven, you can cut protein shrinkage in half. This means the money you spend on food goes a bit farther than it would with a regular convection oven.
Programmable controls are an available feature on combi ovens that can hold up to 250 custom recipes. The computer system comes with recipes already programmed in, but can be easily changed and reprogrammed to customer specifications. Combi ovens require daily cleanings to keep them in efficient, working order.
Combi Ovens require daily cleanings to keep them efficient and in working order. The water used in combi ovens must be treated. Therefore, calcium deposits will be left on the interior of the machine once cooking is finished. This is normal for all combi ovens, and is not difficult to clean. Most combi ovens come with an automatic cleaning mode, so all the operator has to do is simply press a button to start the cleaning process. There is no use for harsh chemicals or heavy scrubbing.
Once the cleaning process is finished, simply take a kitchen hose and rinse the inner chamber out. It’s that simple.Combi ovens require daily cleanings to keep them in efficient, working order.
Benefits of a Combi Oven
A combi oven will change the way you cook. It can cook large amounts of food in a shorter amount of time, which is great for caterers, hotels and hospitality industries, military bases, prisons, and any other kitchen that needs a lot of food cooked at once.
Investing in a combi oven will add flexibility to your kitchen, as it combines two pieces of equipment into one. Additionally, with the programmable controls that can be added to most combi ovens, the quality of food will be consistent.
On top of that, because steam is a healthier cooking method, you can cook dishes that taste delicious without sacrificing their nutritional value. This is especially important in a school cafeteria setting.
- Cooks food 10-15% faster.
- Proteins retain more of their juices, which leads to a tenderer, more flavorful product.
- Less product waste – because the fat and juices don’t dry out during the cooking process, the customer retains more product and, essentially, more money.
- Cook rice, vegetables, and proteins at the same time without flavor transference.
- Grilled product can be cooked in a combi oven; this is especially convenient for big events that require large amounts of food in short amounts of time.
- Computer-controlled and pre-programmed with recipe times. Recipe times can also be customized by the customer.