The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

oven thoughts, my head is swirling

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babybirdbreads's picture
babybirdbreads

oven thoughts, my head is swirling

I'm sure this topic has been  posted before, so forgive me.  and direct me appropriately!  

I am desiring suggestions for a home oven.  Here is what we want/need?

largest capacity (baking large quantities of artisan bread for farmers market)

convection ability

propane, preferably (current oven is propane and it seems hook-up would be easiest if I could stick with propane)

i would love a double oven but our kitchen doesn't warrant the space...we need an oven with a range top for cooking.

cost...under $2000 if possible.   i

much thanks.

suave's picture
suave

Electric ovens are much more convenient for bread baking, especially if you want to bake large batches, gas ovens are much harder to steam.  You don't need convestion to bake bread.   High temperatures of bread baking can do a quick job of oven electronics if it's not vented and insulated efficiently enough.  Over the years I've heard plenty of complaints about high end ovens that just could not take it. 

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

largest capacity (baking large quantities of artisan bread for farmers market)

Without knowing your exact definition of 'large quantities', in general, there is not a home oven that is up to this task.  If you think about how many loaves you might get comfortably into the oven and the time necessary to mix, ferment and bake those loaves, you will see that there are not enough hours in the day to make large quantities in such an oven. 

Yes there are those who use home ovens to bake for a farmers markets and for most this is more hobby than business and should the aim be to be in the bakery business, multiple home ovens or a commercial oven become necessary quite rapidly.

Jeff

babybirdbreads's picture
babybirdbreads

jeff, i am hoping to do 100 loaves a week.  doable in a home oven?  any suggestions on a reasonable priced commercial oven?

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Is that 100 loaves over the course of 7 days or about 14 loaves per day?  That is very doable but if those loaves need to be baked in a day or two then it becomes impossible.  Even 14 loaves per day, every day, is very tough in a home oven.  You will spend the majority of your time making bread.  What is needed is capacity both for mixing and baking.  A commercial oven that will handle large quantities of bread is quite expensive and physically large requiring unique plumbing and/or wiring.

I would suggest that you think the whole idea through and figure out what is reasonable with the tools you have today.  Go slow from there and see how it goes.

Jeff

gutschke's picture
gutschke

I agree with the other posters that 100 loaves per week sounds quite ambitious for a residential kitchen. This sounds better suited for a small commercial kitchen. But I doubt you can easily fit a commercial kitchen into a residential home. Building and fire codes usually make this difficult or impossible, and your home insurance policy probably also prevents you from doing so.

Having said that, I am extremely happy with our 30" Bluestar gas stove/oven. It easily fits into a residential kitchen. The only unusual requirement is a sufficiently powerful hood for the high-power burners on the stove.

The oven cavity is the biggest I have seen in any 30" appliance. It fits a full size cookie sheet. Oven temperature is very precise, and it does have a convection feature that actually works. These are all features I have never had in any of my other ovens; it's amazing how much nicer a good quality oven is. It also has a super powerful broiler, but that's probably not something you care about.

I'd probably feel comfortable baking six loaves at the same time in there, but you might be able to squeeze in more, if you plan very carefully or if you make smaller loaves. Most of mine are 2-3lbs each.

One of the nice things about Bluestar is the very simple mechanics. There are no electronic parts, except for the ignitors. So, there is a lot less that can break from regular heat exposure. The only part that needs some attention is the hinge of the oven door that needs lubrication every once in a while.

You'll read lots of discussions about electric versus gas. I personally never saw any problem with making bread in either type of oven. No matter what you do, you'll have to learn how your oven works. But once you are comfortable with using it, the fuel source is really negligible. If you are already set up for propane, you can probably save some money by using it for your oven, instead of using electricity -- but that of course depends on how much you pay for propane and on how cheap or expensive your electricity is.

The downside is that Bluestar probably won't fit in your $2000 budget. But you get what you pay for. Overall, they tend to be cheaper than other prosumer brands, but more expensive than discount consumer brands. I also find, that while they have less fancy features, they actually work better than many of the more expensive brands. But of course, your mileage may vary.

 

Markus

babybirdbreads's picture
babybirdbreads

any chance you would be willing to share the price?  of course it is not listed anywhere on line and i would love to get a rough idea of cost before i call a dealer and sound like a complete moron when they hit me with the price....i understand if you don't want to share.  

gutschke's picture
gutschke

I don't remember the exact amount. We bought our Bluestar stove a couple of years ago.

I think we ended up paying somewhere in the vicinity of $4000, but I am sure there have been annual price increases since. All appliance manufacturers do that.

I spent a really long time agonizing whether we wanted to spent this much money on a single appliance. In hindsight, it was money very well spent. We bought the stove for its cook top and the super-powerful burners. It is the closest you can come to a commercial stove in a residential home. And it makes such a big difference. It has a feature that allows using a round-bottom wok on the cook top; and if I do that, there is enough heat to make oil smoke within 20 seconds. It has revolutionized my cooking. I now can't believe I ever used any other stove. 22kBTU is a lot of power.

And while I didn't really prioritize the oven, when we made the purchase decision, it was a pleasant surprise that the stove comes with such a nice oven. It's very easy to bake with, as the temperature is so constant and accurate. And the large cavity has been very convenient a couple of times. The only downside with a large cavity is that it takes a few more minutes to pre-heat. I usually need about 20min to reach 450F.

I found that Bluestars aren't advertised a lot, but at least around here, there are actually a lot of dealers that carry it. And it is often possible to haggle with them and get quite a discount. Also, some dealers are willing to sell floor models (with full warranty!) at an even steeper discount. I don't think, you'll get it down to $2500, but spending a little time haggling is probably very worthwhile.

A friend actually managed to get about 50% off on a floor model, but I think that was just plain luck. The store really needed to move the unit, as they were re-arranging things.