The amount of food that you intend to cook in the steamer should determine the size and model of the steamer. You should also consider how much space you have for your steamer. One model might take up too much space in your kitchen, while another model can fit comfortably on top of a shelf unit.
“The Mini” Combi Steamer
Although technically a countertop model these pint-sized steamers can hold six full-size steam tables pans or three half-size baking sheets pans.
Great for sandwiches, side dishes, and reconstituting food.
They can hold about 3-6 pans, and won’t take up floor space in your kitchen. If you need a second unit, many can be stacked.
Ideal for small kitchens and small volumes, front of the house.
While floor models take up more space than traditional kitchens, they can hold a greater amount of output. They can usually hold 6-16 full-size pots.
Some boilers can be used to power other equipment, such as a kettle.
Ideal for large kitchens with large volumes of output, larger items that can be steam e.g. turkey breasts.
Pros: Heat items quicker
Cons: You need to have enough space for LP tanks.
Pros: Can be installed almost anywhere that has an electric or water hookup.
Cons: The boiler may not steam up as fast as gas models.
All steam units use steam to cook the food in the cavity. However, the method of creating steam can vary depending on which steam generation type is chosen.
These standalone steam generators can be purchased with your steamer. They create steam that is then directed into your steamer unit.
Ideal for restaurants that don’t have a boiler or large steam-based operations.
These steamers produce their own steam and eliminate the need to use a steam generator. Boilerless steamers do not have an enclosed boiler. Instead, they use an open water reservoir at their bottom or a spritzer to splash cold water around the interior of the unit to make steam. This creates “wetter” steam, but it is easier to clean up. You should remember that the steam won’t heal as quickly and your food may not turn out as crisp as other units.
This is the best option for people who don’t have an external steam generator. It’s also easier to maintain and clean.
Boiler-Based Pressure Steamer
These units produce their own steam, which is then pumped into the cavity by an enclosed boiler. Because of the possibility of limescale buildup and costly maintenance, you will need to use clean, pure water. Convection steamers cook items faster than convection ones.
Ideal for high volume productions of starchy or hard foods, such as potatoes or meat.
Pressure vs Convection
The steam also heats the food in the same way as it is made. Two types of steamer cooking methods are available: pressure and convection.
Uses a fan to circulate heat at normal temperatures. Because there is no heat added, the result is lower cooking temperatures.
- For delicate foods, higher-quality results
- These can be opened during steaming to inspect the food
- There are very few taste-transfer problems
- Perfect for steaming and poaching, thawing or stewing, reheating and par-cooking
- Cooking food takes longer (but less time than convection ovens).
- The steamers are sealed with tight seals, which raises the temperature of the cavity. This allows for high heat and steam to be used in cooking. The temperature range for typical cabinet temperatures is between 230 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
These steamers have a tight seal which enhances the temperature in the cavity to cook with a combination of high heat and steam. Typical cabinet temperatures can get between 230 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cooking times that are faster
- Ideal for large quantities of food
- It works well with dense items
- You cannot open the steaming process while checking food.
- There is a greater chance of taste transference between batches
- For delicate foods, it is not recommended
While steamers are often seen as a cooking tool, they can also be used to cook seafood and other difficult items. It is a sought-after niche product that offers fast cooking times and nutrient preservation. If you want to buy restaurant equipment, then buy it from a reputable store like restaurant supply Fort Worth TX.
As limescale buildup can cause havoc to your system, it is important that the water quality in the steam entering your system be top-of-mind. Poor water quality can also impact the flavor of foods within the steamer unit. A water filter can make your steamer purchase more enjoyable.
Main Auction Services, Inc. is a family-owned and operated company bringing more than 35 years of combined experience in the restaurant, foodservice and related industries to the internet sales marketplace. Main Auction Services offers a wide variety of quality, new and used restaurant equipment, kitchen supplies, appliances, furniture and decor.