Combination ovens (or Combi Ovens) are valuable multi-functional appliances. They are a big step up from your regular convection oven, boasting a variety of advanced controls and programmes for cooking fabulous food. They can cook your chosen grub to perfection, sealing in all the nutrients and flavour you usually lose in your average oven. Combi ovens are a no brainer for your everyday chef. But why should an everyday household have one?
The Three Types:
There are three types of cooking that can be combined to make your ideal oven. It really does depend on how you like to cook your food and what tastes best for you. See below the three types of combination ovens that are on offer.
Convection (Fan or Fan Assist): This is probably what you’re used to. Convection uses fans to push hot air around the oven to brown and cook the food inside. This method cooks everything evenly, however removes moisture during the process. This is great for baking, roasting and oven-frying. If you need anything nice and crispy, this oven is your guy!
Steam: This method utilises a small tank of water to create evenly cooked, moist and nutritious food. Water is siphoned from the tank to create super heated steam. This is funneled throughout the oven, making healthy and nutritious food.
Microwave: You might already know this one! Microwaves use an internal magnetron to create invisible energy that travel throughout the internal chamber and get lodged in certain molecules such as fat, water and sugar. These molecules are heated up individually, and that’s why it’s best to stir your food if using this method.
Mix and match your favourite methods to create something new and interesting at the dinner table!
The History of Combination Ovens
Developed in the late 1960s, the combination steamer oven was created to ease the stress of industrial-scale food production. Gone were the days of insane amounts of meal prepping and hundreds of different appliances for just one dish. The combi oven soon became an integral part of the restaurant kitchens, improving menu diversity and causing the gastronomy industry’s productivity to sky rocket. Although it was an innovative new appliance, the combi oven didn’t flow into private households immediately. Due to their high price and complexity, it was often only restaurants with high caliber chefs that were able to get their hands on them.
Fast forward to the modern day and combi ovens have evolved into an intelligent cooking solution that’s used everywhere from your local chippy to five star Michelin restaurants. They’re simpler to operate, with precise controls over the temperature and humidity—allowing even a novice to jump in and cook up a feast! Modern manufacturers such as Bosch, Samsung and Neff have streamlined the once clunky combi-oven into something the everyday household can master.
What Makes a Combi Oven Different?
It’s simple. A combi oven reduces the need for other appliances. No need for a steamer, no need for a bread maker and sometimes even no need for a microwave. The combi oven unites all your additional appliances into one super smart oven that can do everything. This saves you time, space and money, whether it’s in a professional setting or at home. Having a combi oven is like having a little kitchen assistant that can do everything at once, whilst also cleaning up your counter space.
The combi oven uses your traditional fan convection style oven, along with the addition of steam. The injection of steam in different programmes allows for particular foods to be cooked in specific ways that keep them fresh and tasty. For example, steaming seals in the flavour, nutrients and colour of food. This works especially well with fish and vegetables, as a normal oven would usually dry out the skin and leach out the natural flavours. After that, you can combine steam with convection to lock in flavour whilst maintaining the crispy, crunchy exterior (ideal for joints of meat!). And with a mass of other programmes, from defrost to rapid heat, combi ovens make cooking your favourite foods to perfection no trouble at all.
Pros VS Cons of Combi Ovens
- Endless methods of cooking
- Can be compact and space-saving
- Makes cooking for a large crowd easy
- Contains moisture, nutrients and the colour of food
- 25% – 30% quicker than your average oven
- Reduces shrinkage of meats
- Lower energy usage
- No cross contamination of smells & tastes
- Can be difficult to learn to use
- Regular, additional cleaning required (although some are self-cleaning)
- Some models will need descaling
- More expensive compared to regular ovens
- Steam compartment will need refilling regularly (unless you buy a plumbed in model!)
Best Combi Oven Brands – for home use!
With the development of combi ovens over the years, there’s absolutely no wonder magnificent brands such as Samsung, Bosch and Neff have put their own twist on the appliance. These modern appliances now feature fancy settings such as circotherm, proofing and turbo grill. Cook your favourite meats or vegetables perfectly (down to the second) with over 50 automatic programmes, or make something new with 10 customisable recipes. And beyond their cooking abilities, the combi oven has become a sleek, fashionable and convenient appliance. A lot of these models feature LED lights with touch screen controls; some even have HomeConnectivity settings so that you can control it directly from your phone. And with a plethora of hardware features such as soft open & close doors, stainless steel accessories and system child locks, the combi oven is truly the star of any modern kitchen.
Browse our combination microwaves here, and steam & microwaves here…