Despite being such an important piece of equipment in the cooking process, very few really understand “Ovens”. Due to countless varieties and types available in the market, it is easy to get confused or carried away while choosing your perfect Commercial oven.
But worry not, in this article we will remove all the jargon and provide an ultimate guide to commercial ovens.
What does “Oven” mean?
Often misused, the term oven refers to a group of equipment, which are used to cook food, especially to roast or bake. There are different many different types of ovens. Residential ovens, Commercial ovens, Microwave ovens, Rotary ovens, Cook and hold Ovens, Combination ovens, Conventional ovens, Convection ovens, Revolving ovens, slow cook ovens, Steamer ovens etc.
Well, that was a lot of ovens! So let’s break down their meanings one by one.
Commercial Ovens vs. Regular Ovens
Most of the ovens can be roughly divided into two categories. Commercial and Regular or Residential ovens.
Commercial ovens, as the name might suggest are more suitable for commercial environment such as a bakery or a restaurant. They are built for high load, heavy duty usage. They offer large outputs, are extremely energy efficient, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
On the contrary, residential ovens or regular ovens are designed for daily residential use. They offer lightweight use, less output and are less energy efficient than commercial counterparts. Today most ovens are a combination of microwave and convection ovens.
Type of cooking processes
When it comes to ovens there are basically 4 types of cooking processes.
Some advanced ovens, use a combination of these techniques and are called combination ovens.
Type of fuel Used
Depending on the type of fuel used, ovens can be further divided into multiple types. Today most ovens use electricity or gas as their power source. But some more traditional ovens also use coal or charcoal as their fuel source.
Types of Commercial Oven
As if this wasn’t enough, Commercial grade ovens can be further divided into following subcategories.
1. Standard ovens: Mostly used under a cooktop, these ovens can use either gas or electricity as a power source. The oven compartment is heated by hot walls. The food is cooked by the radiation energy from these walls.
2. Convection Ovens: Convection ovens use a fan to circulate heated air around the food to cook it. Convection ovens allow higher energy savings and faster cooking times than traditional ovens.
3. Roll-in ovens: These type of ovens are usually fixed with the kitchen floor. Roll-in ovens allow a large amount of baking and cooking in extremely short amount of time.
4. Deck ovens: Usually the bottom of the oven is heated to bake or cook the items. An advantage of deck ovens is the freedom to stack multiple ovens on top of each other, saving humongous amount of space.
5. Conveyor Ovens: Ideal for large scale baking, a conveyor oven has a slow moving conveyer belt and a large oven attached on top of it. Conveyor oven bakes the food as it slowly moves through the conveyor belt.
6. Rotary Ovens: Used for continuous large-scale baking and food processing, a rotary oven has multiple circular trays that revolve along a vertical shaft. Check out more about rotary ovens here.
7. Revolving-Tray Ovens: Similar to Rotary ovens, revolving tray ovens are large ovens which have numerous trays rotating on a horizontal shaft.
8. Cook and Hold Ovens: These type of ovens can cook/ bake items and hold them at a temperature to keep the food fresh.
9. Combination Steaming Ovens: These type of ovens add a little moisture while cooking or baking. Increasing the juiciness of items.
10. Microwave Ovens: These type of ovens convert electricity into microwaves. Microwaves can heat fat and water particles in the food, making it excellent for reheating food quickly. This is also one of the most common types of oven used.
11. Barbeque Ovens: Also called smokers, these ovens use wood or charcoal as their fuel source. Smoke from the coal passes through the food, giving it unique smoked flavor.
12. Rotisserie Ovens: These type of ovens rotate food constantly for an evenly cooked and crisp texture. Rotation shafts either can be horizontal or vertical.
13. Slow Cook Ovens: These type of ovens slowly cook food overnight at temperatures of 130 to 220 degrees. Hot wall cooking method prevents unnecessary shrinkage of food.
14. Finisher Ovens: Extremely small in size, these type of ovens are used to give a product finishing touch, rather than cooking it fully. Extremely useful for melting, reheating and browning pre-baked foods.