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Commercial Convection Ovens for Baking Cookies

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

 

First post, but I have have been reading the forum for a while.  

 

I own a cookie shop and I am getting ready to move locations.  I'm looking to purchase 3-4 gas convection ovens with 5 racks each.  My biggest concern is even baking.  Right now I currently rotate the pans 180 degrees halfway through every time I bake a batch of cookies.  I would prefer not to have to do this anymore.

 

Does the depth of the oven make a difference in the air flow?  I've seen some commercial ovens are standard depth and others are deep depth. 

 

One of the models I have been looking at is the Vulcan VC44G and the VC66G.  One is a standard depth oven and the other is a deep depth.  Other brands I've looked at are Blodgett, Southbend, Lang, and Garland.

 

Which ovens do you think would be the best?

post #2 of 20

Convection ovens will NOT give you and even bake, no matter what the depth or brand, and especially with cookies.

 

Basically, you can't fight the law, and the law says:

 

1) Heat always rises, especially with gas ovens, as the heat box is always on the bottom

 

2) The fan always blows in one direction.  Mind you with the really expensive ovens (Rational) the fans stops, reverses direction, blows for 5 minutes, stops, reverses direction, etc. But  with the "regular" convections the fan always blows in one direction.  This means one side of the oven will always be hotter.  Combined with heat rising from the bottom (gas only, with electric, the heat coils are wrapped around the fan) you will get an uneven bake.  Electrics are a bit better for even baking, but it's the fan direction that always makes one side go darker faster

 

The thing is, cookies are very precisely sized and precisely the same thickness, so any heat deviation will show up--uneven baked cookies.  It's not as apparent with stuff like buns or the thousands of other things that go into a convection.

 

What's the big thing with convection?  Speed?

 

A deck oven will give a more even bake--not perfect, but better. You might be able to get 3 or 4 pans in a deck, but not 5.

 

Or, you could get a Rational.  It's great oven, but kind of like driving a Porsche to Home Despot, there's so many things the Rational is ideal for  like catering, but it will bake a lot more even

 

 

Hope this helps

 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

The cookies are made to order so speed is important but not nearly as important as even baking.  Multiple orders come in at different times so it would be difficult to get one rational or rotating rack oven because the oven door would constantly be opening.  There may be a way around this, but I'm not sure.

 

I've never seen cookies baked in a deck oven.  I thought those ovens were more for pizza?

 

Right now I have three convection ovens and the pans are rotated half way through each time.  It's not difficult, but at times it can become a problem when we get really busy.  

post #4 of 20

If you are baking cookies to order, I second the deck oven.

post #5 of 20

Convections because of the forced air concept dispurse the heat more evenly thus less hot spots. I rarely have to rotate anything in a correctly working convection. Biggest problem is the parchment being blown up on th edge of pan closest to fan. I lay a tablespoon or fork on it to stop this. Other bad point is stck convections are sometime to high for some people and to lift a heavy pan this high is a lot even for me and I am big.. They are best used with sheet pans only. Also in most baking drop the temp.by about 25 degrees.

Vulcan, southbend and Blogett all are good convection ovens. Stay away from Imported brands of any kind.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #6 of 20
We do a lot of cookies in our convection ovens. Given that they're only in for 10 minutes or so, we usually don't turn the sheets. There are a few hot spots in the ovens (typically around the edges), so we tend to avoid putting product there. As for manufacturers, stay well away from US Range (Garland) - we bought 2 of them brand new 2 years ago and have had a lot of grief. Everything from thermostats going insane, to cooking extremely un-evenly. Garland Canada basically told us to f*ck off (or they would have if they ever returned our calls) - we've had to have them serviced 5 times already. Right now we have a appointment to get a blower motor swapped out (it runs only when it feels like it) this coming Monday - kind of dreading it, as it isn't under warranty anymore.
post #7 of 20

At one time Garland was very good, now they are garbage made out of aluminum foil. Wolf commercial is another lost cause.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 20

Pizza ovens are Deck ovens--sorta, but they (pizza ovens) only work well at high temps--450F and above, pretty much useless for baking anything under that temp..

 

A true deck oven has separate controls for top and bottom elements, a controlable steam vent, may or not come with stone or steel decks.  Main thing is--they have no moving parts and can run for years and years and years without the need for maintainence.  They are expensive.

 

I suggest trying one out before laying your money down for a convection.  

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #9 of 20

If you are doing a big volume and intend on expanding , lets say to another location I would reccomend a rotary oven like a Middleby. They are the best . I had a huge one in the hotel and I could roast enogh Prime Ribs for 600 at one time . They do make varios sizes and models..

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

Does anyone have any experience with a Blodgett XR8 rotating rack oven?  or anything similar?  I've been talking with a couple reps in my area that claim it is the best oven out there.

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdrgfd View Post

The cookies are made to order so speed is important but not nearly as important as even baking.  Multiple orders come in at different times so it would be difficult to get one rational or rotating rack oven because the oven door would constantly be opening. ...

What is the typical order size?

 

Have you considered the possibility of matching oven capacity to order size(s)?

 

If cooking to order and even baking are the critical criteria, then those are the critical criteria for selecting your ovens.
 

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #12 of 20

No oven is perfect.

 

Rotating rack ovens provide excellent even baking, but you do not have the luxury of separate top and bottom heat settings, and it takes a loooong time to increase the overall oven temp or decrease it.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

Typical order size is usually 12-24 cookies.  But over the last year my catering business has increased a lot and I get orders between 50-1000+ cookies as well.  

post #14 of 20

When I first got into this business, (a long time ago) Blodgett was the best you could get. Every New York hotel had Blodgetts or South Bend  and in Pizza ovens it was Barri.  You could litterally stand on the doors of all 3 of these ovens and jump up and down and not bend them.. Hardly ever saw a repair man.   Blodgett did not reduce its quality like the others therefore price went up and the new generation of restaurant people shopped price alone.  .I have not used one recently, but based on past experience it must be good.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #15 of 20

I'm not a baker but was an Exec Chef for a Hotel that did a lot of cookies. All units used Double stack convection ovens. Because our ovens were not dedicated for baking the biggest issue I found with uneven cooking was exactly like Chefedb noted up thread but more often bits of tinfoil would get sucked into the blower fan veins and it would disrupt the air flow. For the volume the OP is doing I see no real draw back in a convection oven. I can however completely understand why a dedicated Pastry Chef or Baker like FP wouldn't be a fan of convection ovens.

Didn't some companies used to make ovens that looked like deck ovens but were electric convection? IIR they called them "true" convection or some thing along those lines and they had a heating element around the blower as well. I'm pretty sure Baxter makes a Hybrid convection as well as a mini rotating rack oven. Both are probably a good bit more $$$ than standard convection.

I've had the best luck with Blodgett convection ovens with South Bend not far behind.

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #16 of 20

Might investigate ,South Bend 'Silver Star ' series Convection 38 inch Oven,Electric,single Deck 5 racks..List $6500/$ 3500.00 varies place to place.Gold series higher price.I prefer South Bend 'baker Depth' full sheet pans fit/convection fan does good job most level / even heat especially for cookies/muffins, speciality baking.

South Bend 38 inch 5 rach convection oven and ranges are good work horse units w/high ratings for bang of the bucks.

                         Donny Chef/Baker

post #17 of 20

You mentioned s Rational. . I assume thats a band Ive never heard of! are there others that you can recommend. I have a small shortbread company and also have the dreaded turn the trays. Im looking for suggestions in general for brands and models for my kitchen I plan to build in a year. I need a spiral mixer, oven and desperately am looking for an effective extruder to for my biscuits. At the moment its all done by hand.

post #18 of 20

Check out extruders for your dough: here's a link to Clay King, who sells pottery equipment and supplies.  They might be able to recommend something that can handle your shortbread!  http://www.clay-king.com/clay_extruders/extruder_list.html

post #19 of 20

Ran my bakery/restaurant/catering business for 15 years out of a double deck oven, loved everything about it. I have convections now, no where near as good for bakery product. 

even baking for cookies, even in a top notch Vulcan, still a challenge. 

post #20 of 20

I used my 3 tiered Doyon artisan decks and LOVED them. They had zoned heating so hot spots weren't necessarily the issues. The clay stayed HOT so there was minimal time lost in the morning setting up.. With the proofers on the bottom, I could handle six or eight sheet pans at a time with no issues.

 

Steam injection gave bread a phenomenal rise and crust. Cookies couldn't be better. 

God I miss those ovens... everytime I make something in a convection, I'm swearing, spinning pans or trying to get the damned parchment unstuck from the side of something when it blew over a tart or brulee 

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