The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Deck Ovens - lots of questions

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jwilder's picture
jwilder

Deck Ovens - lots of questions

I'm expanding my bakery from my rented kitchen with no commercial equipment into a full-sized bakery space and I'm upgrading to commercial ovens (finally!), proofers, etc. However, I'm very new to the commercial equipment world, and desperately need some professional opinions. 

I'm looking at Baker's Pride, Doyon, and Garland - these are the only three that seem to have stackable, modular deck ovens that will allow me to grow my baking capacity up and not take up more floorspace with additional ovens in the future. What I'm finding is that most deck ovens are labeled "pizza oven". Is there a difference between a designated "pizza oven" and one that can be used for all-purpose baking? I specialize in breads, pastries, and quick breads/muffins, will be hiring a cake artist in the near future, and most likely adding cookies and the like to the menu, so the ovens will have many various uses, none of which will be pizza.

I've been told to avoid convection ovens if possible because the strong air flow can dent breads and pastries, but as always, my budget is limited and anything other than convection is out of my price range. As of yet, I've not had the opportunity to bake in any commercial oven, let alone convection. Is this something I should be concerned about?

Also, any feedback either way on the above brands and their deck ovens? Other brands I should consider? Bad eggs to avoid? 

Thanks!

brookfood's picture
brookfood

Hi

 

We supply modular deck ovens for bread. We'd be happy to advise further, you can also come and try vens here in our test bakery.

We have a convections, deck and steam tube oven here is our test bakery as weel as mixers, moulders etc.

We would be happy to discuss the pros and cons of each.

 

Thanks

Ann

brook food

www.brookfood.co.uk

Crider's picture
Crider

I've never heard of a pizza oven that had steam, so that's one big thing I would take into consideration. Also, have you looked at Blodgett ovens? They are big in the pizza-oven market but also make bread ovens.

Costas's picture
Costas

Hi there and good luck!In europe one of the top brands which they can actually except bread can bake almost everything are MIWE.In second hand market you can find them for 10000 dollars and here is the link

http://www.miwe.de/product_baking_miwe_condo_en.html

proth5's picture
proth5

I did some baking in commercial convection ovens and while I like them for certain yeasted pastries - they are not the best for bread.  They do well for muffins, cookies, and cakes, though, so if you are mostly doing these with a "sideline" of bread, you may be happy with a convection oven.

It can be done, but it is difficult to steam the oven and this will impact many things in the quality of your bread.  You will want to get perforated pans to help with this and it would be helpful if you could turn the convection feature entirely "off" (and the Vulcan oven I used did not have this feature, it either had "low fan" - which was a pretty brisk breeze or "high fan".)

To me, it is discouraging to spend time creating a good dough and a good shape and then have trouble because of the oven.

But a deck oven is not going to be the best for cakes and if you don't want two ovens, might not be where to put your money.

If you are looking at deck ovens, some of them (like the MIWE  Condo which would be my choice if money weren't an object) have built in loaders.  If you are baking large quantities of hearth breads a loader is a godsend - it will always be less work than taking a peel and putting loaves in the oven.

You do want to make sure that any deck oven you buy has steam injection. There is no sense in compromising there.

Good luck with your choices - "the oven problem" is something where I spend a great deal of thought. I'm no expert, but I offer my observations.

Again, good luck!

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I have limited experience with commercial ovens and I hope that those with more background will comment here.  This is what I do know;

A deck oven without steam is far less than ideal for bread unless you are baking a bunch of white bread in pans.  In that case just about any oven will work.  If you are dealing with whole grains and sourdough where you are counting on good oven spring you most definitely want steam and a deck oven without steam will disappoint you.

Jeff

mimifix's picture
mimifix

Deck ovens (aka pizza ovens) are fine for most baking. These ovens can be purchased second hand at a great discount. I owned an all-scratch full-line bakery and did all of my baking in 3 Blodgett stacked deck ovens.

For the amount of and kinds of bread you will be making, how important is steam injection?

jwilder's picture
jwilder

Thanks for all the feedback! I really appreciate it!

mimifix - I do a lot of artisan breads, so steam is essential. Unfortunately, I'm finding that a lot of brands don't offer steam any longer, which is both frustrating and extremely puzzling. 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hello jwilder,

I would not wish to underplay the importance of steam in the baking process for hearth-style Artisan breads.

However, the more significant factor to me, and thus why a deck oven cannot be surpassed for this style of baking is the conducted heat because the loaf sits directly on the heat source.

Actually some convection ovens have quite superb steaming facilities, vastly superior to many deck ovens, so long as the powerful fans can be delayed from being switched on in the early part of the bake.

I would also suggest that there is a difference between deck ovens for pizzas and for bread.   The type and solidity of heat required for baking pizzas is altogether different to that required for baking hearth-style breads, especially the large Miche style loaves which could not possibly be baked in a very hot oven, but require plenty of stored heat in the ovenstone to penetrate through to the middle of the loaf.

Best wishes

Andy

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

To what extent is it possible to compensate for lack of steam injection by loading a deck style pizza oven full with higher hydration doughs? I generally scale my sourdoughs at 650g and would like a deck oven that will hold 16 loaves. Won't 10kg+ of 77% to 82% dough make plenty of steam on it's own?

I'm also in the market to upgrade from our premitted home kitchen to a seperate facility with commercial equipment. With our available capital & utility hookups (either propane or 440v 3phase), leaning in the electric deck pizza oven direction.

bakewell ovens's picture
bakewell ovens

hi

i would invite you to take a look at the wood pellet fired deck oven we supply.

 

not only does it produce a excelent bake but saves a lot of money in the process
we have many working oven located in the uk if would liek to see one working ( we would alway recommend you view first)

and get to meet the baker who uses the oven for there first hand knowledge. 

www.bakewellovens.co.uk

 

colin

  

breadman 1972's picture
breadman 1972

The reason they'ie refered to as a pizza oven is that's what they are primarily used for.   To save money, when I built my mobile bread bakery, I found a stacked pair of Blodgett pizza ovens with steam injection ports on craigslist for 2 grand.  Yes I had to go get them ,yes they were in bad need of cleaning and rebuild, but when I found out what they would have cost me new,  I felt pretty good about the work I have into them.  As far as pizza ovens not coming with steam injection, quite true.  Unless you're prepared to spend BIG  bucks and get a boiler permit from your local building inspector, consider building your own .  What I did was to weld caps on both ends of a peice of square stainless tubing.  This tube is in direct contact with the oven fire at all times.  One end of the tube is threaded to accept a stainless brake line  the other is threaded to accept a "T" fitting. From the fitting, two copper lines go to the injection ports on the back of each deck.  Water is suplied by a small pump ,through the brake line to the steam tube and you've got plenty of wet, beautiful steam  The end of the tube that has the T on it sticks through the back of the oven for easier servicing.  Because of the continually open lines,this isn't a pressure boiler and no additional permits are required.  This set up has worked very well with no issues.  My bakery is currenly for sale do to a lousy economy here on the Oregon  Coast.  You can see photos on our facebook page.  Heart and Hands Bakery  

baquettes55's picture
baquettes55

hi,size of building,and amount of daily production,batters,doughs,etc.,will be a big determining factor on oven size.You mentioned bread,for sure,you need a stone deck oven with steam injection.All other products can be baked in there as well,steam,or no steam.Bongard,many say is king of deck ovens,but very expensive,as are all that i will mention.I have baked in a few different manufacturers ovens,and i prefer DOYONS,STONE DECK OVENS.I used to bake off poolish baquettes,temp.@445 degrees,for 23 minutes,venting oven at 8 minutes left,and finally open the door with 1 minute left.The baquettes were baked beautiful,nice oven spring and color,i can not say enough about this oven.Of course ,in baking bread,all other skills are very important,scaling,mixing,autolyse,preshape,rest,final shape,proof,score and bake.You can have DOYON,convert oven to 1phase electric if you have to.Keep in mind,this is electric,so your monthly bill could be high,depending where you live,and i can tell you,this ovens are very efficient,my bill was hardly affected,baking everyday,but,in a bakery,your bake time may be long.Check out the bongard,if you are looking for a gas fueled oven,and,there are many more out there,these 2 are my favorite,good luck,john.........forgot to add,there are 3 heating elements,that you have settings control over,i set mine,for baquettes at 3-4-3,thats top-front-bottom,the settings range 1 thru 9.........

PicardOvens's picture
PicardOvens

Hi, just a quick heads-up. Picard Ovens has a fabulous deck oven that can be from one to four decks high. It has one of the finest baking stone available in the world and each deck is completely independant from the other and have integrated steam systems. If you'd like more information about the Modulux, I invite you to visit our web site at www.picardovens.com

while I'm at it here, We are always available to advise you in equipment needs and I also have a new news letter I send out and if you'd like to be added to the mailing list please feel free to contact me.

 

Kristine Marchetti

Marketing Manager for Picard Ovens, inc.

kristine.marchetti@picardovens.com

800-668-1883 x 234

janemcd1's picture
janemcd1

Hi everyone, 

Thanks for all your comments on this question.  I cannot afford a steam deck oven as I am just starting out with a Cottage Food operation and am thinking about purchasing a Blodgett refurbished pizza oven.  Isn't it possible to simply add steam by spritzing as I do in my regular home oven?

beachchef's picture
beachchef

I have been using a Henny Penny MCS6 combi oven for baking my baguettes and ciabatta loaves for the past 10 years. Although it is a half size sheet pan oven, it is deep enough to take a full size sheet pan size baguette tray I just had to narrow it down from 6 loaves wide to 4. We preheat it to 575F then put in the dough and set a program cycle which runs 2 minutes on dry heat at 425F (during which time we push the steam inject button every 15 seconds). It then switches to 350F combi mode for 8 minutes and finally 5 minutes dry heat at 400F to finish it off. The very powerful convection fan is running the whole time and does not seem to affect the dough. The result is a very good. These ovens are available used on ebay for $2,000.