Convection oven buying guide

Commercial convection oven buying guide

Circulating air transfers heat better than still air of the same temperature, which is the principle behind all convection ovens and the reason why they can operate at lower temperatures and get the same or better results in less time; balanced heat distribution ensures more consistent results.

 

Main points to consider

Choosing a good option from our range of convection ovens is not particularly problematic, but there are still a few things to watch out for. The main aspects to consider in making a convection oven purchase are external dimensions, internal capacity and positioning within your kitchen, all of which are quite easy to determine using the measurements provided for each oven.

 

Extra features

There are a few other specialist features to watch out for in Catering Appliance Superstore's range of convection ovens, such as steam vents in some models for foods containing a high moisture content (like baked potatoes), steam jets for maintaining moisture in other foods (like freshly baked muffins), changeable fan direction for ensuring perfectly even heating, or different configurations of elements and infrared grills for creating different cooking environments like gentle slow cook. Whether these features are of interest will depend on the specific circumstances of your catering business.

 

Gas vs electric

In terms of utilities, gas models will still need supply of electric to service the fan, though that requirement is not uncommon with many commercial gas appliances and most modern kitchens are provisioned accordingly. Installation of a gas convection oven may also require some clearance around it (please check manufacturer specification and speak to your installer).

The majority of our convection ovens are electric which generally reduces the initial capital outlay and simplifies installation tremendously. Traditionally electric appliances have been seen as far more costly to run than gas, but the gap between the two utilities has narrowed in recent years and with convection ovens in particular there is no significant additional cost to running electric vs gas.

 

Best use of your convection oven

Once you have made your convection oven purchase, it is worth ensuring that you get the most out of your product by referring to the manufacturers guidelines on cooking time, and we recommend experimenting with some of your core dishes or products before using the oven in the full swing of your operation. Generally cooking time is between 20% and 25% less than it would be in a traditional oven, but each model is different and other factors can come into play such as the size of the item being cooked, and the size or number of cooking trays in the oven (which can hamper the flow of air). Baked goods are particularly sensitive and temperature will probably needed to be adjusted down by 15 to 25 degrees, checking being done three quarters through the cooking time stated in their traditional method.

Be prepared to do a certain amount of re-educating before being able to reap the significant benefits of your convection oven, but don't let that put you off. You will get better results in less time, and because food can be stacked closer together in a convection oven, with the right shelving solutions you will be able to increase your batch size significantly for even greater production efficiency, especially important for commercial bakeries where volume and units per hour are important, or quick service restaurants where turning tables as quickly as possible is the name of the game.

By Philip Wearmouth | Catering Appliance Superstore