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Oven Reviews?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!


I was wondering if I could get some of your expert advice on ovens!  I'm just starting up my own kitchen after working in a few myself, and I would really appreciate some input.  Money is tight but I'd rather spend more on quality and reliability.  We are preparing French pastries, viennoiseries, cookies, etc., as well as custom order wedding cakes.   I'm looking for an electric oven, and I prefer deck ovens but will probably end up with a convection for the amount of trays I can fit at a time. 


Does anybody have recs for oven brand/model?  I've seen all types but I'm still a little unsure...Garland doesn't seem too popular anymore, anything else I should avoid? 


I'm also looking for a new floor mixer - would love a Hobart, but prices seem to vary widely, and I want to avoid purchasing from a site/business that is "too good to be true", anyone have suggestions as to what I should expect to pay for a used mixer?


Thanks for your input, chefs! :)

post #2 of 11

For ovens, I bought a double stack blodgett 18 months ago; gas fired; new and total cost delivered/installed was just under $8K; $450 of that was delivery and another $400 was for putting it on casters.The online sellers are very price competitive, but the challenge comes on crating/delivery and installation.  I needed to have the Blodgett looked at because it was off by 25 degrees after installation and the people that came out to service it under warranty weren't the brightest bulbs in the bunch, and I don't think that would have been much different than if I'd bought it online.But it was a lot easier to call the dealer and have him make the arrangements for delivery and installation and the service call.


If I were in my own place, I would want to get a deck oven and have a single stack convection.


I've always bought used Hobarts - they are tanks.  20 quarts are going for about 1800-2000 with bowl/whip/paddle/dough hook; I bought a 30 quart 6 months ago at an eBay auction for just under $4K - two bowls, two paddles, two whips and a dough hook.  Be very careful about buying from eBay unless it's a local seller where you can look at the merchandise. 


Don't discount going to auctions, though.  Often you can find out about them from websites and see what they have; you can look at the  merchandise before the auction to see if you even want to bid on it.  Most used equipment dealers will offer a limited warranty so you might be better off investigating what they have for comparison.

post #3 of 11
Stay far, far away from US Range. We bought a double stack new, 2 years ago and it's been absolutely no end of grief - very, very uneven cooking, even when lightly loaded, sensors giving up, motors having to be re-build (just out of warranty too - how convenient), the list goes on. Local service from the factory authorized rep has been terrible. They were in on almost a weekly basis at one point - never fixed the problem. Escalating to Garland head office resulted in absolutely nothing. Finally found an independent service outfit that has a clue and has managed to beat the things into submission, but it was at my expense. If I could afford it, I'd drag them off to the scrap heap.
post #4 of 11

Frankly, I'd go with two decks, or even just one if money was tight.


What you give up in oven space you make up for in bake quality and a few other factors.


Convections are perfectly fine for breads and viennoiseries, not so good with cookies and liquid batters like cakes,  and not so good with tarts.


With decks, you can control top and bottom heat, and can control the humidity in the cavity a bit better than with convections.



Brownie points with decks:


-No moving parts, very little to break down or replace.

-Small oven door, when you open it up, you don't vent a blast of hot air into the kitchen (and cool down your oven...)

-No fan to blow around baking paper, which then shoves all of your items into the middle of the tray, baking them into one solid mass

-No fan to blow muffins and batters lopsided

-No fan to blow hot air in only one direction, which means uneven browning and rotation of trays.

***separate top and bottom heat, some models have the first 1/3 of the oven with separate controls to compensate for opening the door

***If you have the $, you can get stone decks, giving you a better bake with a heavier crust.


O.K. you can see where my preferences lie... But I've baked in everything from German wonder-ovens to crap-ola convections with broken doors and hooped thermostats, to Garland gas ovens under the griddle, to oil drums filled with bricks and pre-heated for several hours.  I've "Cheated" in baking with convections by shoving in a 18x 26 tray lined with bbq bricks to give me some kind of a bottom crust, and hve done "hybrids" by par-baking in a convection and finishing off in a Garland gas oven for decent bottom crusts.


My conclusion?  There is no "perfect oven"  each one has it good points and bad points.  I feel the convection is a workhorse for the hot kitchen, good for breads, but that's about it.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Wow @Roman, I'm sorry your US Range was so terrible...I hadn't heard that much about them but I guess I'll avoid those! 


I've been to a few auctions, and I think it depends also on the people you are with...one guy was driving up the price so much on so many items that once you factor in the buyer's premium and tax you were only saving a few hundred dollars off a new item if anything at all.  When you buy used and things fall to pieces, can you still contact the maker to get things fixed?  Sounds like such a silly question...


Thanks for the reviews on deck ovens @JCakes and @Foodpump!  I will research it a bit more...is Blodgett still a good name to go with on those?  I won't be doing much boulangerie in the beginning, it's just not something I specialised in, but if things go well in a year or two I would love to be making artisanal breads.  In that case a deck oven would be a must in my mind...


I'm off to an auction tomorrow, actually!  I think there's a Globe mixer that I'm interested in, the other one is Hu Sheng (?), never heard of the label, and I'm a little wary of it.  I googled the name and got a very bad review...not of mixers, but of a water tank or something. 


I'm excited and nervous to spend all this money!! 

post #6 of 11

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is this:


Buy equipment that has a factory rep in your area, and  an authorized dealer/repair center in your area.


Blodgett is good, but if the rep and authorized dealer are 400 miles away, I'd go with another brand.


If you buy on-line, caveat emporium and all that with warranties, PLUS Shipping.


Go with a good deck, you can always add another one, and always add a steam generator when you need them.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #7 of 11
I'm in agreement with @foodpump, you need someone local who can fix things and has parts in stock. No matter how good a companies reputation is, things still break and if you're down because your equipment is broken, any savings you had up front disappear very, very quickly if you can't make product to sell. Regarding a mixer, I'm not sure what the local codes are in your area, but you might be required to have a guard. If you purchase one without one, you may end up spending a few hundred more $$ to bring it up to spec. Roman
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Ok - looks like Blodgett is the winner, I'm based out of Toronto, and there is someone not too far from here who can take care of the maintenance.  Great advice about the servicing!  I just baked a cake out of my home oven.  Can't wait for a professional one. 


Thanks, everyone!  Will let you know what I get! :) 

post #9 of 11

My top 3   Blodgett,, South Bend ,, Vulcan  Although all have changed to lighter materials, I have used them for over 50 years and I could count on them and their service people.

post #10 of 11

Stay away from any Baxter Rack Ovens.Most of them are designed for "Panera Style Bakeries"--Fake Bakeries. They suck up flour and it gets stuck in the burner tubes which require either a Hobart Repair or a weekly cleaning with a powerful compressor. 

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

OK!  So we've settled on a Zephaire 240 electric...yes convection, yes electric, but I think for a starter oven it's a good choice, plus the cost wasn't too exorbitant.  Getting the electrician in next week to fix it all up, and then the delivery should be soon after!  We also got a Globe mixer and a True fridge.  It's so big and beautiful and shiny...thanks for all the advice, everyone! :)

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