“I tried the Sharp combi oven and I loved its functionality”
OWith convenience at the center of almost everything we do these days, most gadgets in our homes are meant to do more than just one task. Take our cell phones, for example: growing up, they were good for getting in touch with our best friends to invite them over for pizza and capture the flag. Today, they’re equipped with 48-megapixel cameras capable of shooting high-quality TikTok masterpieces and even have a built-in virtual assistant. Hello Siri.
So when I’m in the market for a new cooking tool, the same standard applies – it has to do it all. That’s why I tend to lean towards 10-in-1 style home appliances (love your always, Instant Pot) which are not only super convenient, but also worth taking up the space they take up. occupy in my cramped kitchen. And after graduating from culinary school, where I’ve cooked with hundreds of different appliances, I’ve come to the conclusion that combi ovens, like the Sharp Smart Combi Built-In Steamer, are my favorite do-it-all machines. …especially if you want restaurant-quality results at home.
Why? Unlike the solid conventional oven that may have been in your kitchen for a few decades, combi ovens can do so much more than just bake and broil, thanks to their dual convection and steaming capabilities.
How does a combi oven work?
To get into the scientific details behind the technology used in combi steamers, I spoke with Matthew Vecera, Brand Marketing Manager at Sharp, who explained exactly how a combi steamer works. “To be called a combi oven, the product must be able to mix steam and radiant heat to cook food,” says Vecera. “So the main difference between a combi and a regular built-in oven comes down to humidity levels. A regular oven may have one or more convection fans to circulate the dry heat generated by the radiant coils, but they don’t have no steam.”
The steam, says Vecera, helps preserve a food’s internal moisture levels, while the radiant heat and convection fan help the exterior come to perfection. Have you ever felt like you have to burn your oven fries or roast chicken in order to cook the inside? Yes, that doesn’t happen in combi ovens: they can cook vegetables and proteins so they’re perfectly tender on the inside and caramelized and crispy (but not burnt) on the outside.
“Or, say, if you’ve ever baked French bread in a regular oven, you should either put a pan of water on the oven floor or spray the tops of the loaves with water in order to get the tender-crispy ideal results. If you were making cheesecake or custard, you would also need to place the pan in a bain-marie,” says Vecera. However, with a combi oven, the machine does this for you thanks to high power steam.
What really sets the Sharp Smart Combi Built-In Steam Oven apart from other combination ovens is that the heat is created by circulating varying amounts of very hot steam from a single convection fan. Thanks to all the heat generated by steam and hot air, food cooks extremely quickly and evenly. And unlike other combi steamers that generate steam at a maximum temperature of 212°F, Sharp’s model uses radiant coils that superheat the steam, which can reach up to 485°F.
“Steaming can roast meats and caramelize sugars so your food is brown and crispy on the outside, and tender and juicy on the inside,” says Vecera. “It’s a long-kept secret of the restaurant industry and why restaurant food often tastes better than home cooking.”
Best of all, unlike other combi ovens, Sharp requires no direct water line and uses a standard 120V outlet. Basically, you can just plug it in and start cooking.
Why I think the combi oven is far superior to a regular oven
As I have learned from many chefs in the industry and from my own experience, cooking food in a combi oven is one of the easiest ways to achieve restaurant quality meals, that is, i.e. perfectly cooked dishes evenly with the ideal tender and crispy texture. at home. I have found that foods like chicken and fish tend to dry out easily above all get the most out of cooking in this type of appliance. And it’s the only way to cook festive, custard pies all season long.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.