If you're still using a traditional oven with a large heating element in your commercial kitchen, there are so many better options! Traditional ovens might still have a place in the home, but most restaurants need something better - such as commercial convection ovens.
A better oven is one of the best pieces of commercial kitchen equipment you could purchase. The investment will almost immediately pay off in higher-quality food, typically cooked more quickly as well.
In this article, we'll talk about the benefits of convection ovens, as well as how they compare to other alternatives like combi ovens.
I. What Is a Commercial Convection Oven and How Does It Work?
Rather than using large heating elements which provide heat directly, convection ovens create hot air and then blow it around the heating chamber with fans. This brings several big benefits over traditional ovens.
1 - Even heating
Traditional ovens struggle to maintain a constant temperature across the heating chamber, which leads to uneven heating of food. Whatever side of the food is closest to the heating element will get the most heat. This is why food in traditional ovens has to be rotated, often multiple times.
Commercial convection ovens maintain a constant temperature throughout, so your food cooks evenly with no need to fiddle with it (and let the hot air out!) during cooking.
2 - Faster cooking
Because convection ovens are more efficient than traditional ovens, with less heat loss, they also typically cook foods faster. They're usually around 25% faster, depending on exactly what's being cooked, and that can make a big difference over the course of a full dinner shift! Getting dishes out to your customers faster means they eat faster, and you can potentially serve more customers in a single evening.
3 - Perfect baking
If you want your pastries and other baked goods to have that perfect brown sheen, it's hard to beat a convection oven. Plus, because the system is enclosed, any steam generated by rising dough or melting cheese remains inside, helping keep everything moist and delicious. Commercial convection ovens don't just cook better, they create food that looks better too!
4 - Crispy roasting and grilling
If you've ever struggled to get crispy vegetables or meats when roasting them in the oven, you'll love your convection oven. The constant flow of air encourages the outer layer to dry out just slightly, not enough to hurt the food, just enough to give it a satisfyingly crispy texture.
5 - Numerous sizes
Convection ovens come in a wide variety of sizes, from small countertop units which are perfect for quickly putting out pizzas or a handful of pastries, to large multi-tray units capable of handling dozens of items at once. There's a size option to fit every need, and due to convection technology being mature, they're affordable for their size.
II. Convection Ovens vs Combi Ovens
Typically, when choosing a commercial oven, the choice is between convection or a combination oven, called a combi.
Combi ovens utilize multiple types of heating in a single oven, capable of doing convection cooking, steaming, or both at once. This can be particularly useful for delicate foods that need to maintain a certain moisture level and would dry out in a convection oven.
As such, combi ovens are more versatile than convection ovens. Along with baking and roasting, they can also handle broiling, steaming, and warming duties. This makes them the most versatile of your options for commercial kitchen ovens. In some cases, they can also be space-saving since they can potentially do the work of two ovens at once - although typically they can only handle one 'mode' of cooking at a time.
The biggest significant downside to combi ovens is the cost. These are not cheap machines and are typically only seen in larger restaurants that can afford significant investments into their appliances. Even smaller units can approach $10K.
III. Maintaining Your Commercial Convection Oven
Another benefit to convection ovens is that they're reasonably easy to clean and maintain, especially compared to the mess that traditional ovens can make. As a few tips:
- Clean out the interior regularly. If you keep up with daily cleanings, which are typically fast and easy, you never have to worry about gunk building up like it can with regular ovens.
- Periodically test the thermostat. We recommend placing a thermometer in your convection oven every three months or so, to make sure the oven's thermostat is properly calibrated. Otherwise, it could throw your cooking times off.
- Check the seal on the door. Convection ovens need a perfect seal around the door to work properly, so check it frequently to ensure there are no leaks.
- Clean fans, as grease may build up on the internal and external fans. Keep an eye on them, and make sure they stay clean.
Zanduco is your source for the best in commercial kitchen equipment, including a huge range of ovens of all types and sizes. Please contact us to request a quote on your purchase or ask for assistance.