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Hi. I'm new to this forum and recently opened a small coffee shop. We house bake our own pastries each morning (small quantities) and I purchased a commercial Southbend electric oven to do the job. I've become increasingly frustrated at the problems I'm having with uneven baking. We bake cookies and muffins together at 300 degrees and scones by themselves at 350 degrees. Every item always seems to have one on the rack that is consistently not done (like not even close to being done) while all the others on the rack are done. I'm trying to figure out if I'm not rotating enough or if I'm rotating too much causing the oven to work too hard to maintain temperature from the doors opening and closing so much. Any ideas? Appreciate your help!
 

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If you're rotating more than once or twice, then yes, opening the doors so much will work against you. Also is it a convection? You said electric, so I assume convection since the temps you're baking at are convection temps. Convection ovens are notorious for hot spots. Another thing you might try is putting fewer items on the tray and/or not fully loading the oven and leaving one shelf free to see if that helps. Most cookies bake at 375F in a conventional oven, so I would bake the cookies in a convection at 325...300 seems too low. It also seems too low for muffins since most muffins bake at 375-400.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yes it is convection. we were trying to find a temp that cookies and muffins could bake together for more efficiency. But we will play around with temps and your other suggestions as well. Thank you for your input!
 

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I agree it is an unfortunate set back with convection ovens. Rotating helps some but you're going to have to practice and make sure you document the timing and temp set. As the oven ages, it will settle in
 

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With convections, the right hand side is always hotter. This is due to the rotation of the fan.

How tight are you loading the trays with product?
 

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Have a rear dual fan convection here, albeit not commercial.
I'm kinda anal, ..I have two oven thermometers in the oven, one at the back, one in the front.
Temps can be 10-20F different front to back, depending on the heating mode.
Front is usually hotter on the convection setting here.
 

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Have a rear dual fan convection here, albeit not commercial.
I'm kinda anal, ..I have two oven thermometers in the oven, one at the back, one in the front.
Temps can be 10-20F different front to back, depending on the heating mode.
Front is usually hotter on the convection setting here.
Yep...
this is the usual with inexpensive convection ovens.
They are sold and promoted so hard...and they usually do a lousy job with baking. For roasting they are fine...but baking? They suck for sure.

The best "convection" oven is a beast of a machine that has rotating shelves (vertically and not horizontally) and can knock out dozens of sheet pans of goods at the same time because the racks (made of stone) rotate inside the oven while baking...they don't have to but its so much better if they do. (used to bake hundreds of pies at the same time in one of these) and no..,.not one of those rack ovens that bakes a whole speed rack of products at the same time...they produce grocery store quality breads., (again, you can bake...but not a great bake)
But both of these machines are horribly expensive to purchase, to operate and in sq, ft they occupy in a commercial building. (commercial sq ft is not cheap)
What you are baking is going to require a small deck oven to get a great bake on at the same time. probably just a two deck oven., Electric deck ovens with some sort of stone or heavy thick slab of iron hearth is going to provide control over the top heat, bottom heat, and in some the front of the oven is another zone controllable.
you aren't needing steam injection...so basically what is referred to as an electric "pizza oven" is what you need. It isn't really made for pizza but by this point is blowing into the wind to try and change it's direction to get everyone to change the name.

The oven should be available used for around $35K+shipping and installation. (two decks holding two sheet pans should be more than enough) These ovens take a long time to preheat but they are what pro's use to bake breads, cookies, pies, and cakes.

They also can take up a wide footprint but they do have some narrow models these days as well...but they are significantly higher in cost. Do NOT expect to order one and have it show up in a couple of weeks...currently orders for new deck ovens are 40+ weeks out with no guarantees.
 

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it helps to remove one rack from the oven, if its set up to bake 5 trays, change it to 4 trays.
That will help but you still have to rotate once.
Convections are good little workhorses, just find the sweet spot , try 325F and make some money.
 

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Nope, convections suck pond scum. They maybe good for reheating baguettes, roasting potatoes, or lasagna, but the Southbend type— under $5000.00 are generally sh*tty for baking.

Before I set my force shields to “ maximum” I do need to explain that I’ve baked pretty much everything with these types of ovens—for over 40 years, problem is I’ve also baked with deck ovens. This IS a problem because 80% of my previous employers don’t know that there is a huge difference in bake quality, labour and energy savings between the two types.

First, in as few words as possible, here is the difference between convections and decks:
-with deck ovens you manipulate the oven’s controls to suit the product
-with convection ovens you manipulate the product to suit the oven’s constraints

Second, let me list the reasons—in order of importance, why I think most convection ovens are liquid fecal matter:
1) Fan rotates clockwise, right hand side of oven will bake faster
2) because of above, product needs to be rotated midway through bake. Every time you open those doors you loose a lot of heat: a) oven needs time ( and energy) to get back up to temp, b) you will feel that heat, especially in a small kitchen, and especially in the summer months
3) because of (1) muffins, yorkshires, sponge cakes will tend to be lopsided unless they are rotated
4) because of (1) you have no hearth, basically your product is suspended in mid air. Things like quiches, pies, non- panned bread, many types of puff pastry items, and some kinds of cookies have a sh*tty bottom crust.
5) no steam vent damper, unable to control humidity in the cabinet.

Ah-ah,ah,Ah! Force shields are only at 25%, yes there are tricks, procedures and hacks to compensate for all 5 reasons, and I’ve done them all and they do work, ( every place I’ve worked at has “ my” bucket of washed, smooth gravel/ pebbles…) but we come full circle back to my first observation about convections: You manipulate the product to suit the oven.

It’s kind of like a dog owner who thinks he’s in control of the dog, yet the owner has to walk behind the dog and obliged to scoop up its sh*t…..
 

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Nope, convections suck pond scum. They maybe good for reheating baguettes, roasting potatoes, or lasagna, but the Southbend type— under $5000.00 are generally sh*tty for baking.

Before I set my force shields to “ maximum” I do need to explain that I’ve baked pretty much everything with these types of ovens—for over 40 years, problem is I’ve also baked with deck ovens. This IS a problem because 80% of my previous employers don’t know that there is a huge difference in bake quality, labour and energy savings between the two types.

First, in as few words as possible, here is the difference between convections and decks:
-with deck ovens you manipulate the oven’s controls to suit the product
-with convection ovens you manipulate the product to suit the oven’s constraints

Second, let me list the reasons—in order of importance, why I think most convection ovens are liquid fecal matter:
1) Fan rotates clockwise, right hand side of oven will bake faster
2) because of above, product needs to be rotated midway through bake. Every time you open those doors you loose a lot of heat: a) oven needs time ( and energy) to get back up to temp, b) you will feel that heat, especially in a small kitchen, and especially in the summer months
3) because of (1) muffins, yorkshires, sponge cakes will tend to be lopsided unless they are rotated
4) because of (1) you have no hearth, basically your product is suspended in mid air. Things like quiches, pies, non- panned bread, many types of puff pastry items, and some kinds of cookies have a sh*tty bottom crust.
5) no steam vent damper, unable to control humidity in the cabinet.

Ah-ah,ah,Ah! Force shields are only at 25%, yes there are tricks, procedures and hacks to compensate for all 5 reasons, and I’ve done them all and they do work, ( every place I’ve worked at has “ my” bucket of washed, smooth gravel/ pebbles…) but we come full circle back to my first observation about convections: You manipulate the product to suit the oven.

It’s kind of like a dog owner who thinks he’s in control of the dog, yet the owner has to walk behind the dog and obliged to scoop up its sh*t…..
ovens are like any tool, you learn to make them work .
the only product affected was eclairs, leave the fan off 10 mins to prevent premature crusting.
Low fan speed stops muffin tops blowing over.
Bread, pies and cookies I stayed away from, but everything else no problem here.
I was taught to use puff dough to make quiche, never made a single batch of brise' in 50 years.
 
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