Combi Ovens – What is a Combi Oven?

A Combi-Oven combines 3 different cooking functions into one piece of kitchen equipment and is one of the most versatile pieces of prime cooking equipment any kitchen can have. Alternatively called a combi-steamer these ovens can use dry heat ether still or fan driven as well as steam which can be injected into the oven when the food needs it.

Being such a versatile piece of catering equipment the Combi-Oven has many advantages over other equipment. They can produce beautifully roasted tender joints, by cooking in an environment filled with steam the meat wont dry out and loose moisture and saving the weight loss associated with conventional roasting.

Vegetables steamed in a Combi-Oven instead of boiled in water keep more of their natural goodness and colour. Steaming in a combination oven is also ideal for preserving the texture and flavour of delicate fish.

As a fan driven convection oven they are ideal for baking giving an even heat across the oven cavity ensuring that all goods are evenly cooked to perfection and a steam injection can also enhance the flavour and texture of some baked products.

Pre-cooked food can be rapidly brought back up to serving temperature negating the need to keep food hot for prolonged periods of time simplifying storage and transport of cooked foods.

And it doesn’t stop there; the Combi-Oven can be used for steaming, baking, roasting, and even dry frying chips and other similar foods using the fat in the food itself.

With all of these different flavours going on inside the oven you may think that this will pose a problem for cooking wildly different foods, but in reality many kitchens can go from roasting chicken to gently steaming fish and onto desert without any taste transfer whatsoever as many ovens include a self cleaning function that can be used to remove any residual flavours from the oven.

Combi-Ovens come in sizes to suit kitchens of varying sizes and they are not just for large kitchen operations there are many models available for small independent caterers as well as the huge ovens for higher volume kitchens that many people think about when reading about Combi-Ovens. The size of the oven you need can be worked out be determining the volume and type of foods you will be cooking, and a good supplier will be able to calculate this for you and advise you on your best choices.

There are several questions you may want to ask about the oven before you commit to buy such as is a water filtration system necessary, what is needed to install the oven and how easy is the oven to clean and operate.

More expensive ovens will often include a built in filtration system whereas budget oriented ovens will not and will require an external filtration system. The filtration is necessary to prevent the build up of scale in the oven cavity and working parts to ensure the long and efficient operation of the oven.

Combi-Ovens are available in gas or electric variants and larger electric ovens will require a 3 phase power supply, a suitable water supply and drainage is also essential however the smallest ovens sometimes feature a built in reservoir that can be filled manually.