Combination ovens combine three cooking methods in one appliance. Convection is the circulation of dry heat and can be used for baking bread or roasting meats. Steam can be used to delicately cook fish or rice, or vegetables to achieve the right texture. Combining steam and convection together produces moist, flavorful, and minimally shrinking results. Learn more about combi ovens, their benefits, and how you can save labor costs while increasing your productivity.
What are the benefits of combi ovens?
Although a combi oven is a large investment, it’s worth the price when you consider the total cost of the equipment package. This versatile unit is a smart investment for the following reasons.
- Condense your Cook Line A combi oven can easily replace a steamer or convection oven. It can also be used to perform many of the same functions as a proofer or holding cabinet. Although the initial investment is higher than for any one piece of equipment, it is still cheaper than purchasing multiple pieces.
- Although a combi oven is a large investment, it’s worth the price when you consider the total cost of your commercial restaurant equipment. This versatile unit is a smart investment for the following reasons.
- Precise temperature and moisture control: For maximum customization, precise controls allow you to cook at the right temperature and steam settings.
- Programmable Menus: These menus allow you to hard load, manually input or modify recipes and cooking modes. With just a few clicks, even complicated recipes that require steam or convection settings can be made simple.
- Higher Food Yield: Using steam and convection to preserve flavors and nutrients in your recipes will result in a better-quality product. This works well for meats as steam keeps meats moistened and prevents them from shrinking.
There are three types of cooking: steam, convection, and combination
Three cooking modes are available for commercial combi ovens to achieve all the functions: steam, convection, and a combination steam/convection.
- Steam Mode This steamer mode uses steam heat to keep products moist during cooking. This is ideal for poaching and steaming vegetables and seafood.
- Convection Mode combi oven Hot Air is forced around an oven cavity, just like in convection ovens. This creates a dry heat that browns food and removes moisture. This mode is great for baking, oven-frying, and roasting foods such as cookies, French fries, and pizza.
- Combination Mode Steam and hot air combine to make food without losing any moisture. It’s a great choice for stewing or braising foods. Vegetables and meats will be tender and juicy, but they will not brown as well in this oven. You can bake certain loaves of bread in this manner, as the steam will help to form a hard crust.
Considerations for Combination Ovens
You should consider these factors when choosing the right combi oven for your business. It is crucial to consider the needs of your business and the preferences of your chefs. This includes broiler, electric, and gas cooking.
Combination Ovens for Electric and Gas:
The price and availability of utility are the main factors in deciding whether you want an electric or gas combination oven. An electric combi oven will be more appropriate if the following are true:
- High elevation can limit the performance of gas equipment.
- Electric models are typically less expensive than their gas counterparts, so the price is a concern.
A gas combi oven, on the other hand, maybe more suitable since:
- Models produced by manufacturers are currently up to 50% more efficient than the top-of-the-line electric combi models on the market.
- Open burner models transfer heat and energy instantly.
An electrical connection is required for digital displays and fans to be run on most gas models. Some chefs may be restricted in what they can cook because they are limited to only using electricity or gas in their kitchens. A Combination Oven offers versatility and programming flexibility.
Combination ovens from commercial companies are great tools to have in your kitchen. They can be programmed to any settings that you need to make a particular dish.
Multi-stage cooking cycles are available in these ovens, which allows you to prepare a variety of menu items that would otherwise require many steps. Many combi ovens can be pre-programmed with recipes. With onboard memory, these ovens can store and create multiple recipes.
Some programmable combi ovens can store more than 200 cooking cycles and different cooking steps. Combination ovens simplify complex cooking tasks; both line cooks, as well as less skilled kitchen staff, can use them with ease.
Touch Screen vs. Dial Combi Ovens:
Combination ovens for commercial use can be either touchscreen or dial control. Both types of control systems will work in your kitchen. It all depends on your personal preferences.
- You can quickly adjust your cooking conditions using touch screen controls. Simply touch the screen to adjust your settings.
- Touch models enable the intuitive addition of menu items, quick adjustment, and a clear visual representation of what you wish to change or add.
- Navigating your cooking menu is easy with dial controls. Scroll to your preference settings easily.
Boiler vs. Boilerless Combi Ovens
Keep in mind that there are two types of commercial combi ovens: one with a boiler (steam generator type) and one without a boiler.
- A steam generation combi oven uses a tank to heat large amounts of water and then produce steam which is then injected into an oven.
- A boilerless combination oven pumps water directly onto the heating element. Although steam-generated models are most popular in Europe, they are becoming less common in America due to the hard water conditions and the high maintenance required for a boilerless combi oven.
Combi Oven Sizing:
When choosing a combi oven, it is important to consider the dimensions and output of your kitchen. Manufacturers offer three sizes, which can range from compact to large-sized units.
- Mini These tiny ovens can still make a big impact when used in the right conditions. They usually have six shelves and can hold between 3 and 5 pans.
- Tabletop You can use the small but effective space offered by tabletop models for lower volume operations such as food trucks or quick-service restaurants. These units can hold 6-12 sheets of sheet pans or full-size hotel pans.
- Floor Models If you have a large-scale kitchen that relies on high-quality product preparation and high-quality standards, you will need an oven with lots of space. Floor model combi ovens are the most popular. They have at least 20 shelves to hold 20 full-size sheet pans and 40 hotel pans.
A more general approach is also possible. You can choose between half-size and full-size. These are simply the sizes of pans that can be stored on their shelves. Half-size sheet pans measure 18″ x 13, while full-size pans measure 26″ x 18.
Numerous newer combi ovens are equipped with technological innovations that enhance the user and customer experience.
- Grease Management For kitchens that prepare lots of protein, it is important to have a plan for managing grease buildup. Some ovens have a pump that allows you to drain excess grease into a container for recycling.
- Ventless Hood System: While many ovens need a vented system to comply with codes and regulations, some modern combi ovens use ventless hoods. This allows them to be placed almost anywhere in the kitchen.
- Food-Based Innovations: Ovens are capable of operating with additional browning controls to add color to food. To achieve authenticity, they can be used as smokers using real wood chips.
- UPC Code Scanners Integrated software allows certain ovens to read UPC codes of products and cross-reference them to preloaded instructions in order to set control settings automatically.
Combi ovens produce steam and require an exhaust hood according to code. Check your local codes for details. Some areas permit common exhaust ducting while others require fire-rated grease conduiting, which is more expensive and complicated.
It is important to read all specifications before you buy any unit. Different models may have different needs.
Combi Oven Cleaning and Maintenance
It will cost you much much less in the long term to maintain your combi oven. Regular maintenance will keep your restaurant equipment running longer. When servicing or cleaning your commercial combi oven, keep these things in mind.
- Service your commercial combi oven every six months.
- Make sure to check the drain screen regularly. Food particles can build up and block your drain.
- Clean and lubricate door seals for proper door sealing.
- A filtration system should be used to treat water that has been fed into a combi-oven. This will reduce mineral deposits buildup in the combi oven’s water lines. This will reduce scale buildup on the combi oven’s heating units and water probes.
- A clean water supply can also improve the taste of your food. To find the best filtration system for your combination stove, check the specifications from the manufacturer.
- Your oven’s use may require you to replace your water filter every 3 to 6 months.
- Before cleaning, always read the instructions from the manufacturer. Every combi oven is unique, and the instructions may differ from one model to another.
- Many combi ovens can be cleaned by using liquid detergents or tablets. For manufacturer recommendations, make sure you check your user manual.
- To clean your combi oven, avoid using abrasive cleaning tools such as steel wool, wire brushes, and scourers. You will cause damage to your equipment.
- For proper sanitation, make sure you clean the probe often.
- Before cleaning your combi oven, use a soft sponge clean.