Oven Advice

Discussion in 'Baker Banter' started by Tracey, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Tracey

    Tracey New Member

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    Hi All,

    I am new to the forum and wondering what advice you might provide about best commercial oven to purchase for a small bakery. Cheesecake is the niche along with cookies and pies.

    Appreciate any advice.
    Thanks!
    Tracey
     
    Tracey, Jun 5, 2018
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    Norcalbaker59 likes this.
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  2. Tracey

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hello and welcome to the forum.


    Welllll...gotta say ovens are complicated matter. o_O

    If you are in the US, each state, county, and city will have building and fire codes requirements for wiring, ventilation, fuel source, type of oven, and range. All will be factors in the type of oven you can install in any particular building. Some structures may require retro fit of ventilation systems for commercial ovens. Others may qualify for ventless hoods with built in fire suppression systems.

    Commercial ovens emit what’s referred to as grease-laden particles and vapors. Even countertop commercial convections ovens produce these particles and vapors, so require ventilation. Since they create some serious fire hazards, they have to be filtered from both the kitchen and customer dining areas. Building and fire codes will indicate the type of ventilation systems required for your area.

    Certain type of ovens and kitchen equipment may be exempt based on design. In California where I live, the state established guidelines for exhaust ventilation exemptions. So you should research whether or not your state has exemptions for commercial kitchen equipment.

    If you haven’t selected a location, then knowing the building and fire codes will help you evaluate locations for your business.

    The two primary types of ovens used in bakeries are rack ovens and deck ovens. The differences are in the way heat is transferred. Deck ovens use conduction heat; the entire deck is heated and heats whatever is placed on it. A deck oven is more suited to bread, rolls, and pizza. So its really not the type of oven you would consider given you will be producing cheesecake, pies, and cookies. But knowing the difference will help if a sales person tries to sell you something that is not appropriate for your products.

    Rack ovens are convection ovens. Heat is circulated throughout the oven chamber by a fan. There’s no concentration of heat from a single heat element like conventional a home oven. Circulated heat allows for even heating all around, including in between the pans and trays. Commercial convection ovens are not the same as home convection ovens. Home "convection" ovens usually just have a single heating element and a fan to circulate the air. A commercial convection oven will have a fan and multiple heating elements.

    The circulation of heat means convection ovens bake faster and more evenly. They also bake much hotter, so a recipe that has been formulated for a home oven will most likely need to be reformulated for a commercial convection oven.

    Cheesecake is problematic in a convection oven. Cheesecake does not like heat. Even in a Bain Marie, a convection oven will dry out and crack open a cheesecake. Heat sensitive products have to be baked at an extremely low temperature in a convection oven. For instance if you normally bake at 325°F, you may have to reduce the oven temperature to 275°F. The type of pans used will also be a factor in baking temperature. Dark metal and anodized aluminum conduct heat more intensely, so temperatures have to be lower with these types of pans.

    Some convection ovens have an adjustable 2 speed control for the fan (high and low). Many do not. And the fan cannot be turned off on most commercial convection ovens. Some allow for So you really have to formulate your products for the oven you purchase.

    Investing in a bakery is extremely expensive. Have you thought about hourly rental of a commercial kitchen? A lot of caterers and cottage bakers go this route as it allows them to build their business without exorbitant upfront costs. It is also a way to test and reformulate your recipes using commercial equipment.

    My sister‘s MIL started her business-to-business baking company from a shared commercial kitchen space. After several years her business grew enough that she was able to open her own wholesale bakery. For the last 15 years she has operated in her own space.

    My brother is just starting a food and coffee import business. He along with a dozen others artisan coffee roasters use a roasting coop. They pay a monthly fee for use of the roasting facilities and equipment.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 6, 2018
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  3. Tracey

    Tracey New Member

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    Tracey, Jun 6, 2018
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  4. Tracey

    Tracey New Member

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    Thanks so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge and guidance on this. You have given a tremendous amount of information to take into consideration before purchasing an oven for my eventual bakery. It might have been helpful for me to indicate that I am in Michigan as each state and region has their own regulations and requirements.

    I am actually in the process of finding a commercial kitchen to rent on an hourly basis as you have suggested. This does seem to make the most financial sense to get started and build my business. Thanks for confirming this idea.

    Again, appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge giving me much to consider not only for choosing the right oven, but taking into consideration all of the codes, regulations, ventilation, etc. to help choose the right location too.

    Kind regards,
    Tracey
     
    Tracey, Jun 6, 2018
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  5. Tracey

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    You are welcome. I hope everything works out for you. My sis' MIL had a year or so of struggle as she was up against some very large corporation. When she pivoted and turned her business toward a niche market that was not served by corporations, her baking business took off. So a niche market is a good place to start.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jun 6, 2018
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