A combi oven is one of the most versatile commercial ovens on the market. Overall, they allow you to steam, bake, or do both to your food at the same time. Because of their versatility these ovens are found in a number of establishments across Canada, such as bakeries, restaurants, bistros, or cafés. They can cook vegetables, cookies, casseroles, seafood, etc., and their convection heating will work to ensure thoroughness, so there won’t be any cold spots. Also, their steam heating will ensure that nothing gets dried out.
Combi ovens are usually measured by what pan sizes they take (i.e. you can buy a full-sized oven or a half-sized oven). A full-sized oven will accept full-sized sheet pans, which measure 18” x 26”. A half-sized oven will accept half-sized sheet pans, which measure 18” x 13”. Both sizes should be able to accept either full-sized hotel or full-sized steam table pans, which measure 12” x 20”.
Naturally, the amount of pans a unit can fit will depend on its interior dimensions, or more specifically, its pan levels. It is also important to note that with some models, not every pan level should be used at once. So, if you’ve got a combi oven with six levels, it would not be ideal to cook with six pans at the same time. Filling each pan level with would limit the circulation of the air in the oven and affect your cooking. The exception to this rule would be the Rational SelfCookingCenter, which is built to optimize energy output to the point where you can customize how you want each level to cook (i.e. broil, bake, fry, etc.).
Another way in which combi ovens differ from one another is by their controls. These controls come in three forms: touch screen, manual, and digital. Oftentimes, you’ll find touch screen controls on premium models which are known for their self-regulating, cooking technologies. With a touch screen, they will allow you to input a lot of precise information about your food to get your desired results, all-the-while allowing you to keep track of any minor changes they decide to make.
Using manual controls, you’re still getting to control the essentials like time, temperature, and humidity. And for those who want to exercise complete control over the cooking process, this format is ideal.
Digital controls take parts of what touch screen and manual controls have to offer and put them into one. They oftentimes will utilize manual controls with a minimalist digital display, however, they can come programmed with a multitude of cooking cycles for you to choose from.