Commercial Convection Oven Buying Guide
Commercial Convection Ovens
Baking, Broiling, Roasting
By Definition: “a process of heat transfer through a gas or liquid by bulk motion of hotter material into a cooler region Compare conduction (sense 1)”
The Commercial Convection Oven is the power-house of ovens. They’ve brought “evenly and consistently” meals that are faster and decrease cooking time (versus a regular oven) to the customer than any preceding oven could. By harnessing the power of convection cooking (forced heat by fans, typically from a heating element), commercial convection ovens evenly distribute heat around and into the product being cooked. This also means that, since the heat is being “forced,” a faster cook is naturally achieved. By this cooking method, convection cooking also maintains the product’s quality by texture and taste.
1. Why Choose Convection?
Convection cooking is no longer a new method for cooking. But with the advancement of cooking technology (better parts, competitive manufacturers, etc) we’re able to keep convection cooking on the market in a “usable” way. Therefore, what was once only available in full size ranges is now available on the counter or in larger size convection oven styles. Not only are they available for the countertop, they are available as standalone, modular (with casters/wheels) in single and double oven variants in order to create a powerful and consistent back-of-house operation. This brings a reliable gourmet product to fast casual establishments; and these ovens have begun to provide support for small operations.
2. Cooking Type
Commercial convection ovens are essentially a workhorse oven. Therefore they are designed to cook the same products that you normally would in a standard gas or electric conventional oven/commercial range:
- Typical oven-style cooking
Since the goal of convection cooking is to cook quickly, these ovens aren’t as commonly used to “warm” food product. They may be used in this manner, but if possible, they are suggested to keep primarily as cookers.
Convection ovens greatly range in size. They are available as a countertop models, but full-size restaurant ranges can come equipped with double deck ovens as well. These ovens are available in both gas and electric models. The possibility of large sizes and energy consumption means that high output ovens are available.
Even large kitchens fill up quickly with the need for more equipment for more dishes and styles. With the influx of more cooking methods entering the commercial kitchen, in order to provide both unique and reliable product, equipment that have smaller footprints have been necessary for the market.
This also means that the product can be “moved” as long as the necessary hookups and safeguards (continue reading) are available. You can place the oven in the most convenient locations; such as close to the buffet for less need to travel to the food product. Bare in mind, high output and high voltage models are not considered modular and require more safety measures which require them to remain in the kitchen.
4. Gas vs Electric
As a buyer you have the option of electric powered or gas powered. While electric only convection ovens are a good choice because most establishments are ready for them to be installed with little to no preparation, gas convection ovens are a good option for high output cooking.
- High output cooking is necessary for long hours of operation and high temperature cooking.
- Electric ovens still provide consistent product but may be available in smaller, more modular, units. Higher output models may be available, but come at a very high voltage.
5. What do I need?
Convection ovens produce grease laden particles, which can affect those who breathe these particles through the air. Grease buildup also can create a large fire hazard. All commercial ovens should have a hood ventilation system in order to filter out these harmful hazards.
Since gas is a power option for convection ovens, you’ll need to make sure that the proper gas safety measures are considered; such as line harnesses, quick disconnect valves. You’ll also want to make sure you purchase the right equipment for your gas type; propane vs natural gas.
Electric units can come in 115v and higher. With both high low voltage ovens, you’ll want to make sure and dedicate a breaker in the breaker box to the unit. This is because, even though low voltage units operate and run at a certain amperage, a power spike occurs every time a unit is turned on. And with foodservice equipment, power spikes typically spike very large. Any circuit that is not “dedicated” or has other devices or equipment operating on them, is destined to short out or trip. Even low voltages (or brownouts) will hurt your foodservice equipment.
...Consider a true dedicated circuit. This means directly wiring the unit to the breaker. Some units require this.
6. Additional Info
Commercial convection ovens can produce grease laden particles, so building/fire code must be followed when installing one. The proper ventilation is needed for any oven (including countertop models). Any fast and powerful cooking will come with grease laden particles which must be kept out of the kitchen and away from customers and product. Also, for these same reasons, you need to ensure that staff has room to both pass by the unit and access it safely, which will require a little extra floor space.