The heart of any bakery is the oven. It cooks food using three main methods of heat transfer: convection, conduction, and radiation. Convection relies on heat transfer by the movement of air in the baking chamber. Conduction occurs when the food is in contact with the heated surface, and radiation happens when heat transfer comes from a hot surface or material inside the oven – you get radiant heat from the stone in a pizza oven, for example.
Large varieties and quantities of products can be cooked with a single oven, which is why it’s the most widely-used appliance in the food service industry. Let’s take a look at the different types of bakery ovens and what they can do for your bakery.
Standard ovens bake your products using natural convection and radiant heat. The heating elements inside the oven heat the air and the oven walls, creating currents of hot air that transfer heat, which is what bakes the food. Standard ovens are cheaper than other types of bakery oven, and because of the natural flow of hot air currents inside them, they are great for delicate products that require precision baking, such as cream puffs and meringues. Their main drawback is the low production capacity. If you plan to bake in commercial amounts, a forced convection oven would probably work better for your kitchen.
Convection ovens improved upon the design of standard or conventional ovens, using fans to force hot air through and around the cooking cavity, resulting in faster cooking times and larger production capacities. Available in gas and electric-powered models, convection ovens excel at baking large amounts of things like cookies, but the stronger flow of air in them may not be advisable for delicate pastries. Convection ovens can be stacked, allowing you to maximize precious kitchen space.
Deck ovens are also a popular choice for commercial bakeries because of their high production capacities. This type of oven can have multiple compartments that have upper and lower heating elements that can be controlled independently from each other. They differ from convection ovens in that they transfer heat directly from a hot surface or “deck” to the food. Deck ovens also use radiant heat to cook or bake food. They are also more energy-efficient than standard or conventional ovens, meaning they require less power, and that means lower operating costs.
COMBINATION OVENS / STEAMERS
This kind of oven allows multiple methods of baking because it allows the injection of steam along with convection heat transfer. This lets you bake with moist heat. A combination oven and steamer can be used as a normal convection oven that bakes with dry heat, a combination oven and steamer, and just as a plain steamer.
These are just the basic types of ovens found in bakeries all over the world. The most important step in choosing the bakery oven for your kitchen is studying your menu, how much you want to be able to produce, the amount of space your kitchen has, and what type of energy you want to use. Once you figure these out, you can go ahead and choose the best oven for your bakery.