Combi options

27 March, 2009
For bakery retailers and coffee shops looking for a one-size-fits-all kind of machine, combi ovens could well be the answer. Georgi Gyton looks at what's on offer
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A combi-oven can hardly be accused of being a one-trick pony, unless said pony is capable of carrying out an array of different cooking tasks. For bakery retailers wanting to offer a range of different products, from bake-off pasties to pizzas and quiches, a combi oven is certainly capable of doing the job.

There are a range of different options available depending on the size of your operation and the volume of goods you require the oven for.

"Pre-programmed recipes available mean that the combi can automatically bake products consistently, even when they are unfamiliar to the baker," says Vic Brown, MD of Rational UK.

Versatility is also a strong selling point. Combi steamers are becoming more popular in bakeries, says Brown, as they can bake, steam, roast, poach and even toast. For operations wanting to offer a bakery option or for small craft bakers wanting to add new products to their lunchtime menu, combi ovens could be the answer.

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=== What's on the market: ===

Name: Rational SelfCooking Center

List price: gas - 13,700 + VAT;

electric - 11,410

Stockist/contact: www.rational-uk.com or call 0800 389 2944

What can it do?

The SelfCooking Center can bake anything from bread to pizza or cakes at the touch of a button. It is claimed to cook up to 15% faster than conventional combi-steamers, saving both time and money.

How does it work?

It has a variety of bakery-specific features, including a baking mode and bake-off programmes. Equipment with precise controls and programmes, such as the SelfCooking Center, have been developed to ensure the best possible quality results. For bread or rolls, cakes or biscuits, with or without proving, fresh or frozen, full or partial load, you only need to select the browning you require, from light to dark.

Why should bakery retailers buy it?

Most bakers have a limited amount of space, so if they are investing in new equipment it needs to do as many jobs as possible. Rational's new CareControl system, designed for the SelfCooking Center also cuts energy use and can reduce running and servicing costs by hundreds of pounds a year.

Comment from the manufacturer:

Vic Brown, managing director of Rational UK, says: "Whatever the skill level of the staff, consumers still expect great quality from the bakery. They also expect to be able to buy both traditional and new exciting products."

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=== What's on the market: ===

Name of the range:

Lincat Opus Combi Steamers in two specification ranges: SelfCooking Centers and CombiMasters

Price range: from 6,233 for the 6-grid electric CombiMaster to 31,661 for the 40-grid gas Opus SelfCooking Center

Stockist/contact: www.lincat.co.uk or call 01522 875500

What can it do?

The combi can be used to roast, steam, boil and even grill, so it can undertake the work of several separate pieces of equipment. For retail bakers who produce pies, pasties, sandwiches or snacks, this can be a critical advantage. It is suitable for both baking-off or baking fresh dough products.

How does it work?

If baking from fresh dough, for example, simply select 'Prove and bake' - the SelfCooking Center does the rest. A combi steamer combines dry heat and controlled humidity to produce first-class results. The ability to add moisture into the baking process results in a perfect glazed finish for baked goods.

Why should bakery retailers buy it?

Opus combi steamers are claimed to save time and money. For example, 'Level Control', monitors the cooking time for each shelf and alerts the user when the product is ready.

Comment from the manufacturer:

Nick McDonald, marketing director, says: "The latest generation of Opus SelfCooking Centers eliminate limescale, monitor usage and prompt the user to operate the self-cleaning process when needed. This can be set to operate out of hours and saves energy."

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=== What's on the market: ===

Name: Leventi Combi-steam oven - Bakermat range

Price: List prices start at 7,950

Stockist/contact: www.valera.co.uk or call 0845 270 4321

What can it do?

It is suitable for baking bread or other bake-off products where dough is the main ingredient. Programmable manually or via a laptop, this oven can also be programmed wirelessly.

How does it work?

The Leventi Bakermat is fully programmable by the user, but also has special bake-off programmes. The Bakermat Mastermind is suitable for those wanting pre-programmed settings, while the Bakermat Digital enables operators to operate their own bake-off settings. It is available in 4, 6, 8 or 12-tray models.

Why should bakery retailers buy it?

The cavity size is Euronorm 60 x 40, meaning they are 40% larger than a standard gastronorm oven. This enables larger numbers of long items, such as baguettes, and large items, such as pizzas, to be baked-off at a time. The Leventi Bakermat uses no water in stand-by mode, making it environmentally friendly.

Comment from the manufacturer:

Kurran Gadhvi, marketing manager at Valera, says: "These are the first ovens to come with RFID (wireless technology). All programmes can be stored on a credit card-sized programmer. This is great for users with more than one oven, as programmes can be replicated using the card and even shared with colleagues in another part of the country."





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