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What Is a Combi Oven?

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  • Written By: Crystal Cook
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 19 August 2016
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A combination oven, or combi oven, is a specialized oven designed for commercial kitchens. These ovens offer three methods of cooking: steam, hot air and a combination of both. Combination ovens come in various sizes to suit any commercial kitchen and are energy efficient. Most are self-cleaning and can be used for years with regular maintenance.

Combi ovens allow commercial kitchens to poach, roast, steam, bake, broil and reheat foods using a combination of dry heat and steam. A combi oven cooks much faster than a regular oven. These ovens save time and labor, which increases productivity. Such an oven can save a kitchen money because foods will shrink much less.

Some commercial kitchens, such as those of caterers, prepare foods in advance that need to be reheated before they can be served. A combi oven safely reheats foods to serving temperature. This avoids the loss of flavor and moisture that comes from foods being held hot.

The steam mode is perfect for dishes that need poaching or steaming, such as fish. In this mode, steam is used to safely cook food. It is the perfect method for cooking fish so that it will not lose flavor or be dry. Vegetables are more nutritious and have better color when steamed.

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Hot air mode uses hot air that is gently circulated to cook food. This method is good for baked goods because it provides even browning and uniform temperatures. Cooking times decrease because the moving air speeds up the heat transfer to the food.

Combi mode is a combination of both hot air and steam. In this mode, the oven cuts cooking time in half and maintains the food's moisture. Roasts do not need to be basted and do not shrink. This mode is what is used to reheat foods to serving temperatures.

A combi oven is very energy efficient and will run off electricity or gas. Water is circulated into the oven to provide steam, and each oven needs a water filtration system. The filtration system will remove salts that are in the water and prevent any scaling. A combi oven uses a minimum amount of water and power. Insulation prevents heat loss, which also helps cut down on energy use.

A combination oven must be regularly maintained for optimum performance. Most ovens have a self-cleaning feature that can be used between each course that is cooked. Fat drains and internal depositories collect the fat and grease from foods, allowing for easier cleanup. These drains and depositories have to be cleaned regularly to avoid buildup and maintain hygiene.

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