A steam combi oven, or steam combination oven, is a type of oven that typically uses a combination of steam and dry heat to cook or warm foods. The use of both steam and dry heat generally makes the steam combi oven a versatile cooking appliance, capable of baking, roasting, steaming, and re-heating frozen or chilled foods. Many ovens of this type come equipped with an internal fan to help move heat around inside the appliance, and some may be self-cleaning. Steam combi ovens are generally available in a wide range of sizes, for both home and industrial use. They are considered good for cooking foods of all types, even foods such as fish, which are considered especially susceptible to overcooking in a hot oven.
Ovens of this type are often electrically powered, though gas-powered and LPG-powered models are also available. The typical steam combi oven is capable of steaming, baking, frying, roasting, and thawing foods. These ovens may be most commonly used industrially, by restaurateurs and caterers.
These ovens are generally considered versatile because they typically use a combination of both steam and dry heat to cook foods. This combination of steam and heat allows for the cooking of all types of food, including meat, bread, fish, and vegetables. The steam combi oven can also be used to thaw frozen foods, such as pastries, or to reheat chilled foods, even meals that have already been arranged on plates.
Steam combination ovens are believed capable of significantly reducing the amount of volume lost when meats and fish are cooked. Dry heat alone can reduce the volume of a piece of meat by up to one-third. A steam combi oven can help meat retain most of its volume during cooking, because such an oven is capable of dousing the meat with steam during cooking. This can also maintain meat's tender texture during cooking.
Many nutritionists consider steaming the best way to cook foods such as fish and vegetables, because it helps preserve the nutritional content of these foods. Fish is also considered especially vulnerable to overcooking, but the use of a steam combi oven can prevent this. The steam present in the oven can help to keep fish moist during cooking, just as it does with other types of meat.
Caterers and restaurateurs often prefer the steam combi oven because it can be used to re-warm foods that have been preprepared. This can help to preserve food's taste and moisture content prior to serving.