The Fresh Loaf

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Rational Combi a good fit for Sandwich Deli?

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deliman's picture
deliman

Rational Combi a good fit for Sandwich Deli?

Hello, 

I'm looking for a good oven for baking sandwich breads (rolls and loaves) at my mom's deli/cafe.  I spoke with an equipment dealer in our area and he asked me some questions about the kind of production that we do and he said that since we do hot food and sandwiches, the Rational Combi would be a great fit for us.  He said that it would be ideal for baking bread and that we could even roast our own meats.  While I have found a ton of information and videos on roasting meats and cooking other hot food in the Rational, the only information that I've really been able to find on baking bread in the unit has been on one TFL discussion.  While I do see obvious advantages for cooking hot food in the rational, my primary purpose for buying a new oven is to bake great house made bread (rolls and loaves) at our deli.  Do you all think that the rational would be a good fit for me considering that it will be useful to me for other purposes and intend to roast my own meats but that the primary purpose is bread?

simon3030's picture
simon3030

Hi, having been involved in catering equipment for more than 30 years, I'd probably suggest  that a combi oven may not be the best option. They are designed as a multi purpose oven, to reduce the amount of equipment needed in a professional kitchen  - they were not designed as a bakery oven, but that doesn't mean that they can't bake a good loaf.

Their main advantage is the versatility of cooking methods - dry convection heat or the combination of heat & steam. They are very controllable, but if you don't intend to provide a wide menu, then why pay that sort of money?

Not sure whether you are in the UK - if so, Rational do demonstrations in their kitchen at Luton, and would be happy to talk to you direct, to answer your questions; if you want to go the combi route, you may want to try MKN too  - another major German manufacturer, who have a demo kitchen in Staffordshire, and produce a wide variety of equipment as well as small (counter top) & large combis. Avoid most other combi manufacturers...

The other option is a convection oven - Blue Seal do a great range of smaller electric units, which are used a lot for bread, and are pretty good, and economical. They used to do ones with steam injection - not sure of the current range. There's also Lincat, who make convection ovens and also sell combis, which are badged Rationals, and so a little cheaper..

The issue for breads may be the oven's temperature range - I don't know what the maximum is.

Also, any convection type oven will minimise hot spots, so if the oven is full, then there is more of a chance of all products being cooked evenly - BUT - you may well still need to rotate shelves....don't be fooled by salesmen..

Not sure whether I can put links here, so if you want contact details, let me know.

Simon

deliman's picture
deliman

Hi Simon, 

Thanks so much for the feedback, but unfortunately I'm in California USA so your references won't be of much help.  But I will keep in mind the other options that you mentioned as I continue my search. 

Cheers, 

John

tedtyman's picture
tedtyman

John,

  Not only is RATIONAL the right choice for you, but I would love to be the one to show you how. Please feel free to contact me and we will set up a demonstration using RATIONAL for all of your deli needs.

t.tyman@rational-online.com

Thanks,

 

Ted

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

I have a Henny-Penny LCS-6 combi that is a rebranded small (6 half sheet sized pans) Rational oven, sold in the US 10 years ago.  I use it for bread and it does a fine job.  You will have to work out the process details for your bread, but there is lots of flexibility built it so that you can generally do what you want to do.  While you can't turn off the convection completely, you can select a mode where the fan is on for a few seconds and off for a couple of minutes, and it will hold temperature even with the fan off that much of the time.  On the low temperature end, it will go down to 85°F in a cold room, but if you don't set the fan operating mode to intermittent, the fan motor will add enough energy to the box to raise it up to ~100°F so you can proof in the oven if you want to.  I use the steam mode (4 min @ 204°F) to simulate boiling bagels followed immediately by a 400°F dry heat phase and get great results with tons of blisters on the surface.  Steam can be added either manually or by using a programmed step.  Humidity can be controlled in the dry heat and combi modes, and it will be 100% in steam mode.  It has been maintenance free for 10 years except for changing the light bulb a few times.  And the Rational workmanship is fabulous - very typical German excellence in all of the details.

deliman's picture
deliman

Thanks so much for the input!

Just out of curiosity, are you a commercial baker or do you bake more as a hobby/passion.  I noticed that you are based out of the "Left Coast". Would that be Left Coast USA, and if so would that be NorCal or SoCal?   I'm located in the Bay Area and if you have a commmercial or retail bakery shop that I could possibly stop by and check out, then that would be awesome.  I'm very interested in seeing the baked goods that you make with your Rational.  The dealer that I spoke to gave me some references for some retail establishments that had recently purchased Rational ovens, but none of them were making any kind of bread, mostly just sweet pastries or catering production. 

Thanks Again!

John

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

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