Chef Mark Deusler, consulting chef with the Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif., shares a few tips on how to maintain and get the most out of three higher tech/energy efficient pieces of equipment: combi ovens, high-speed ovens and conveyor broilers.
Take the time to input recipes so food stays consistent and there’s less confusion about how to operate the equipment. These ovens are more powerful than convection ovens so they’re able to recover faster and will stop cooking once the cycle completes. Cooks tend to remember they have something in the oven until 30 seconds before they have to take it out.
With combi ovens there is much less food loss, but you have to program them first. Recipe development becomes really important and being able to transfer or tweak recipes becomes important, too. We worked with a bakery that does a lot of long-fermentation baking with natural yeast and starters. As a result of adding a combi oven, the bakery had to change some of its ratios because this unit was more powerful and effective at rising and baking the bread. As a result, the bakery no longer needed to use any leavening agents in the dough.
Some combi oven models transfer menus electronically so users can go to centers like ours or other test kitchens and develop all of their recipes using the same equipment, load the data on a flash drive and upload it to a new oven in their kitchen. They’re able to test out a new menu and program their combi at the same time.
Fun Combi Foods:overnight stock, dehydrated apple chips, dumplings, rice dishes, slow-roasted anything
These are game-changers for both full-service and fast-casual restaurants and operators with smaller kitchens or retail outlets. The programmability makes cooking and baking very consistent, just like a combi oven. Customers want a warm, fresh pastry, not a cold, stale one and that’s where ovens like these come into play. But, like with combis, operators need to program their high-speed ovens, so these units work as they should.
Fun High-Speed Oven Foods:pizza, cookies, pastries, toasted sandwiches
These broilers save on energy because of their ability to capture more heat, but you have to watch for possible flare-ups. The infrared burners are shielded, but if whatever you are cooking has a lot of fat in it, it can get too hot and cause flare-ups. Learn how to use the broiler and test out a few foods at a time. If you’re tossing vegetables in olive oil first before sending them through the broiler, just test out a few at first to make sure there are no flare-ups.
Fun Conveyor Broiler Foods: roasted vegetables, lean meats