Buying A Combi Oven/ Steamer
A combi-oven or combination oven incorporates many cooking functions in just one piece of kitchen equipment. There are generally two types of combi-oven; the manual version and a more popular electronic model with preset cooking functions. The combination oven uses dry heat - either still or fan-driven - and steam. This is injected into the oven as and when required, hence the alternative name of combi-steamer.
Professional Combination Ovens
The combi-oven is the most useful piece of equipment any professional kitchen can have. Buys kitchens serving any number of meals will enjoy the time and cost saving benefits of this prime cooking equipment.
Up to a third of the weight of a piece of meat can be lost during dry roasting through loss of the water content of the meat. Gentle steam in the oven during roasting not only minimises weight loss, but helps to produce a more tender joint. The weight lost is generally less than 5%.
Steaming is an ideal cooking medium for such a delicate meat.
Steam Boiling Vegetables
By cooking with steam instead of boiling water, vegetables keep their nutritional value and vibrant colours.
Baking Bread & Other Foods
By operating as a convection oven, baked items are evenly cooked. An injection of steam can also enhance the flavour of some baked foods such as bread.
Serving Pre-Cooked Foods
Food which has been pre-cooked prior to service can be quickly brought up to serving temperature, thus avoiding the need to hold food for long periods which leads to drying out and a loss of flavour. Combi-ovens are ideal for busy banqueting operations. A banqueting system is available for handling both ready-plated meals and multi-portion containers.
Global FSE Free Site Survey
A water and energy supply is required to operate a combination oven. These units will run off three phase electric, natural gas and propane (LPG). The size of the combi-oven needed should calculated by the volume and variety of the food being cooked - a service which Global FSE is all too pleased to offer.
Before Buying A Combi-Oven / Steamer:
- Choose whether you prefer manual or programmable operation
- Check the water hardness in your area. If you have hard water you will require a water treatment unit
- How easy is the unit to clean? Many come with hand showers and have various levels of self-clean functions. Keeping the unit clean will prolong the life of a combi-oven
- What are the main programming features and how easy are they for staff to operate? Is there a self-diagnostic facility to warn me should something go wrong? Such features are available on many combination ovens and there are different language options
- Is there a food core temperature probe, rapid cool-down feature or a reversible fan for even heat distribution?
Buying A Kitchen Steamer
Steamers have lost some popularity since the introduction of combi-ovens, however they are still a very useful piece of equipment in environments where lots of steaming is done such as with fish, vegetables or steamed puddings.
Purchasing a dedicated steamer is essential in order to prevent tying up the combi-oven when it is required for other cooking modes.
The Two Types of Steamer:
- Pressureless Steamers cook with steam at a normal atmospheric pressure -a gentle cooking method ideal for fish
- Pressure steamers work in the same way as a domestic pressure cooker by utilising a sealed chamber that allows the steam temperature to rise, thus cooking faster and having the ability to tenderise tough cuts of meat