Sometimes referred to as fan-assisted ovens, commercial convection ovens are purpose-designed to handle large volumes of food within a short turnaround. Convection ovens utilize a series of fans and an exhaust to circulate hot air throughout the interior. This then works to cook the ingredients evenly from all sides and ultimately, create the perfect browning effect.
Convection ovens are generally available in countertop and full-size form, with many affordable options to match your budget. To help inform your purchase, we break down the 7 basic guidelines that all commercial operators need to know.
Understand When & Where Convection Ovens Are Needed:
Commercial convection ovens are typically used by professional bakeries that need to produce large volumes daily. In addition to pies and pastries, these ovens are also well-suited for roasting a wide variety of foods.
The internal fan and exhaust system not only reduces cooking time by as much as 20 per cent but also operates at a lower temperature. Through this lower average temperature, food is cooked evenly and free from the regular hotspots of traditional ovens. Convection ovens are well suited for baked goods, roasted meat and vegetables, cookies and the process of dehydrating your food.
Consider the Style & Type of Food You Cook:
If you are running a business, the last thing you want to do is spend a bundle on an oven that you won’t use. This is where you need to first establish the style of food you produce.
Start by asking the following questions.
- Is the food on our menu suited to a convection oven?
- Could a convection oven help to enhance the food we serve?
- Is speed cooking a priority?
These are all important areas to consider. If you produce large volumes of pies and pastries, toast pieces of bread and buns or create cookies and muffins, a convection oven is a perfect alternative. If you need to make cakes, custards, quick pieces of bread or soufflés, this oven style may be unlikely to deliver the results you’re looking for.
Find the Correct Size:
Convection ovens are available in an array of different sizes and measurements. You can purchase a countertop style at approximately 15 inches or opt for a commercial kitchen style of up to 36 inches wide. The style you need will ultimately be dictated by the volume of food you need to produce and how often it is required.
Another aspect to consider is the number of trays you require. While benchtop options come with a few smaller trays, commercial convection ovens will feature full-scale racks that allow you to produce large volumes of food. Ultimately, this factor will depend on demand and how often the oven is used.
Adjusting Your Recipes:
Unlike traditional ovens, the in-built fans and exhausts in convection ovens will change the way you cook. How? Convection ovens cook faster and at a lower temperature. For this reason, you will have to adjust your recipes to match.
Despite the need for adjustments, the results more than make up for it in the long run. Convection ovens deliver even temperatures to cover all sides in an even fashion. When the time comes to convert your recipes, there are online tools that can automatically adjust for temperature and timing.
If you are unsure about the state of any recipe, there are countless online resources available.
Know the Pros & Cons:
As with any appliance, commercial convection ovens come with their very own variety of pros and cons. Before you buy, it is crucial that you first weigh up the various upsides and downsides.
On one hand, convection ovens can increase output and are unlikely to burn or overcook meals. However, while cooking time is reduced, convection ovens are not well-suited to certain types and styles of food.
As stated above, making the switch to convection also involves the adjustment of recipes. However, if you are willing to make changes, the results can be first-class.
Is Speed a Factor?
Commercial convection ovens have the unique ability to slash the average cooking time. If you run a busy bakery, restaurant or café, these ovens can help you to meet demand and remain on the front foot. Generally, convection cooking will reduce time by an average of 25%. This could dramatically increase your productivity and day-to-day output.
Despite their faster cooking time, commercial convection ovens don’t compromise on quality. The ability to deliver consistent heat helps to create meat that stays crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. In addition, these ovens are also well renowned for providing the perfect browning effect.
Detail is Important:
In the commercial space, every investment matters. For this reason, checking the inner workings and details is a critical step. The first step lies in determining whether you need a countertop or a full-size model. Once this decision is made, you can choose between a gas or electric system.
Another key detail to consider is the age of the oven – In particular, the state of the oven’s fan motor. If the fan motor is checked and verified prior to purchase, you will be all good to go. In this case, a professional supplier should be able to assist.
As always, the type of food you produce will dictate the oven size and style required.
Convection Ovens – One of a Kind:
As with any appliance, we recommend doing the necessary homework prior to purchase. In the right setting, however, commercial convection ovens can truly elevate the food production process. With increased speed, even temperatures and the ability to cook multiple items at once, these ovens are perfect for pastries, roasting, crisping and more.