Ventless Convection ovens

Mar 14, 2018
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i am thinking of opening a bakery and going with ventless hoods or equipment that doesnt need a hood would open a lot of options for locations verses needing a location that already has a ducted hood system or the expense of adding that system. Does anyone have any advice or insight? I have started looking at ventless hoods but they dont seem condusive to tall convection ovens. I have also heard that some electric convection ovens don't need venting. Thanks
Mar 26, 2013
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Welcome to the forum Sarah :)

I'm just a home baker, but hopefully someone here might have some experience with professional kitchens.
Mar 16, 2018
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Sarah, I work with commercial kitchen equipment. In my experience I have found that all convection ovens need to be under a hood. Since you can produce grease laden vapors by "frying" bacon in it, it needs a hood. But really the best thing to do is to check with your municipality to find out what they will allow.
Jun 23, 2017
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I don’t own a bakery, but Ive spent a lot of time in commercial kitchens both large and small. Both climate controlled and not. Here’s what I’ve learned.

First you need to check with your local fire marshal, country building department, and health department to determine the type of ovens, venting, and fire suppression systems approved and required for commercial kitchens in your city. Just because a company manufactures a piece of equipment doesn’t mean your local fire marshal and the county building department approved them for installation in commercial kitchens.

Beyond fire, health, and building code requirements, you need to consider temperature and humidity requirements for your product line. There’s a reason why bakeries have temperature and humidity control systems.

A ventless hood will recirculate the kitchen air right back into the kitchen. And that will simply increase the temperature and humidity in the kitchen.

Baked goods have temperature and humidity limits for mixing, fermentation, proofing, and storage. Yeast doughs from sweet rolls, to danishes, to bread are heat and humidity sensitive. Pie crust and laminated doughs cannot be produced in a hot humid kitchen. Buttercream and ganache melts in heat and humidity. A swirl of buttercream on a cupcake won’t stand a chance in a hot humid kitchen.

Flour and sugar are both highly hygroscopic. Since flour and sugar absorb moisture from the air, It’s important for ambient humidity to be controlled. Mills go to great pains to ensure wheat is at 14% moisture. When moisture exceeds 14%, the flour becomes unstable at room temperature—meaning there’s increased risk of contamination by organisms that cause foodborne illness.

Increased humidity, both ambient and moisture in the ingredients, also effects actual baking. Increased moisture extended bake times. So it can cause a lot of headaches with your bake schedule.

Hydration ratios are an exact science as it effects everything from rise to texture.

The hygroscopic properties of both flour and sugar impact shelf-life as well. Higher ambient temperature and humidity results in faster spoilage. So if the kitchen is not climate controlled, you will need climate controlled display cases.

Ultimately the type of oven and hood system you select has to be based on the type of products you bake. Oven venting is complicated. During the initial baking stages, humidity is necessary. Both gas and electric ovens create oven vapor, which is humidity. As the dough or batter heats up, moisture will begin to evaporate. That moisture will then circulate in the oven chamber. But at a certain point, you need to get the humidity out of the baking chamber. And that means venting. The relative humidity for bread is different from cake. So the type of products you bake should guide you in the type of oven to purchase.

You do not need to understand oven thermodynamics to select the best oven for your needs. But you need some basic understanding of relative humidity and how it affects baking.

This briefly explains relative humidity in baking.

This is a brief explanation of air flow in an oven. The air flow affects relative humidity in the oven. Which in turn affects how it bakes. so an oven that is really good for baking bread will not be ideal to bake a cake.

Finally there’s the comfort of staff and customers. If you’re planning to open a bakery I assume you’ve worked in a commercial kitchen. You know how much heat the ovens through off. If your system is recirculating hot air, will the HVAC system be able to keep the dining area cool enough for guests to have an enjoyable dining experience? Will staff be able to work in a kitchen that has hot air and humidity recirculating through it?

i spent time baking in a very large commercial kitchen that was not climate controlled. It was an historic winery; the stone building was designed specifically to stay cool (built against a mountain and made of stone).

In the fall, morning temperatures in the kitchen were in the 40’s - lows 50’s. We were warned the kitchen would not stay cool. Within 2 hours of firing up the ovens and stovetops, the kitchen temperature soared into the 80’s.

To make Italian meringue buttercream, we wrapped the mixer bowls with large flexible ice packs normally used by physical therapists. The buttercream was too soft to use when finished. It had to be chilled. That delay alone added an additional 45 - 60 mins of prep time. Then there was the nightmare of decorating a cake in that heat.

So when deciding on equipment, you need to consider the potential loss in production time.

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