We run a non-profit organization that provides services for families from homeless and battered women's shelters. Part of our programming includes homemade chocolate chip cookies. We have been operating out of borrowed kitchen space for several years, but are now looking to set up our own kitchen and need to purchase an oven. The ability to evenly bake as many cookies as possible at once (a minimum of 100) is very important (all the same kind and size). Any advice on what kind to buy? Remember we are on a non-profit's budget here! Thanks!
Charity needs advice on oven purchase
Your oven choice will depend on where it is being installed. If you are thinking to get a convection oven (which will definitely be able to bake 100 cookies at a time!) you may need to get an electric oven rather than gas because the gas oven needs to be vented to the outside. Look at local restaurant supply stores that have used equipment for sale, or an auction if you have someone who can transport the oven (and install it). A restaurant supply store will have staff that can help you make a choice based on your space.
I've only ever used gas convection ovens so I have no comparison to electric ones; I bought a double stack Blodgett last year and it's been great. Mine is on wheels so you can move it if needed. Get the size that holds full size sheet pans (they make halfsize pan models for smaller spaces) and it doesn't matter whether the pans slide in the long way (left to right) or the short way (aka bakery depth). There are always auctions to check out so take a look around and see what fits your needs best. Find out from your local repair shop what brand to stay away from (because they service those models more frequently!).
I've used stacked convection ovens from a number of manufacturers. Vulcan, Blodgett, Southbend, Viking and others. All of the brands were good. I'm just a little partial to Vulcan, but that's just a personal preference.
I prefer gas convection over anything else.
I have also used large rotary ovens (with steam injection) that can handle 15 full sheet pans at a time. I doubt that you'll need anything that big.