What is Combi-Steam Cooking?

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Tips for Steaming Grains, Vegetables & Eggs

The steam Mode in a Combi-Steam oven is usually pre-set between 210-212 degrees, some ovens may allow you to decrease the Steaming temperature but since water boils at 212 degrees this is the ideal temperature for steaming. 

Best Uses

Tips for cooking grains:

  • The Steam Oven is a great tool for cooking grains and legumes.  I have successfully cooked, all types of rice, bulgur, quinoa, barley, lentils and even orzo pasta, in my experience beans still work best simmered in a pan on the cooktop.


  • Most grains are cooked in a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part grain but I find using less water gives a better result. No need to boil the water, just add cold water to the pan and place in the oven.


  • If the grains have a little residual moisture at the end of the cooking time you can strain them or just let them sit for a few minutes out of the oven to finish absorbing the liquid.


Tips for cooking vegetables:

  • When cooking or blanching leafy greens I find it’s best to cook them in the solid pan  tossed with a little moisture to prevent them from sticking to the cooking tray


  • If you are going to saute the greens after blanching you will need to squeeze out the moisture and let them dry out


  • Artichokes also are best cooked in the solid pan with some water and lemon slices, cooking time may be a little longer than on the stove-top so check them after about 20 minutes to determine the degree of doneness.


  • Most other vegetables can be steamed in the perforated pan.  Cooking time for most vegetables will be between 6 - 8 minutes, depending on the size and freshness of the vegetables


  • When steaming potatoes for potato salad I use the perforated pan and cook them till just fork tender but when steaming potatoes for mashed potatoes I use the solid pan with some water and let the potatoes get softer for easy mashing


Tips for cooking eggs:

  • The steaming time for eggs will always depend on the size of the eggs and how cold they are

  • Generally it will take about 20 minutes to “hard” cook eggs

  • 15 minutes for a softer egg

  • Just place the eggs in the perforated pan set the timer then plunge into cold water when you remove from the oven to stop them from cooking.


  • For poached eggs, crack the egg into a lightly buttered ramekin and place in the oven, cooking time will be between 5 - 6 minutes, I find 5 ½ minutes is ideal for large cold eggs.


  • For a delicious breakfast or brunch you you can put some cooked vegetables in the bottom of the ramekin, top with a little cheese then crack the egg on top.  If the vegetables are cold place the ramekin in the oven for a few minutes to heat them through, then add the cheese and egg and cook for 5 ½ minutes that way you won’t overcook the eggs trying to get the vegetables warm.

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Combi Steaming

vegetables, grains, seafood,  poaching chicken, fish and eggs and cooking hard or soft boiled eggs

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Combi Baking

for breads and casseroles and baking delicate items like custard that are normally cooked in a water bath

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Combi Braising

without having to use a heavy covered pan

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Low Temperature Roasting

for lean tender cuts of meats, fish, and poultry with a final burst of high heat

Understanding Convection Steam

Twenty years ago, Combi-Ovens or Convection Steam ovens, were introduced to the residential appliance market, and since that time they have become a popular choice for the modern kitchen. A Steam Oven is an amazing appliance, but since recipes don’t reference the appliances we cook with, there is a bit of a learning curve to understanding how to make the best use of the oven. 

Steam ovens have been an essential tool in high-end restaurant kitchens and commercial food service for many years because the combination of Convection & Steam provided chefs with tools to help in the precise preparation of large quantities of food. Food cooked with steam inhibits cellular breakdown resulting in better flavor, texture, and definitely nutrient value but the most remarkable aspect of a Convection Steam oven is versatility.

I have been asked many times over the past twenty years if there are special recipes for using the steam oven, and the truth is it’s not so much special recipes one needs but rather a clear understanding of cooking terms so that recipes can be easily adapted to cooking in the Steam Oven. There are a few different models of Steam Ovens on the market and while it’s important to learn the specific features of your steam oven, the good news is that the fundamentals for steam oven cooking are the same.

A Convection Steam Oven can be used for

*Additional functions include:

 

Reheating foods

Defrosting

Making Yogurt

Sterilizing Jars for Canning

Proofing Yeast Dough

 

Some Steam Ovens also have a Broil element that can be used for browning and toasting and broiling leaner cuts of meat.