The Oven Question (aka Problem)
Lately I have been pondering the impossible question. How to up production in my tiny home bakery while still keeping it in the home. Here are my wishes/constraints.
1. I would like to be able to bake around 50 loaves for each sale in a two day period without freezing. That is whole grain loaves the day before the sale, and everything else baked off in the morning of the sale. That is around twice my current output.
2. I would like to continue baking out of my house. I have checked into renting kitchen space and the story isn't pretty. Also, I tend to bake in the midst of things like making sure my son does his homework so I really don't want to be off somewhere else.
3. I'm not going to pay a lot of money for that muffler.
4. Small kitchen with very little potential for expansion.
Right now, the oven is decidedly the bottle neck since I upgraded my mixer to an Assistent. My current oven is GE gas, nothing special, which if I'm very careful can bake 6 hearth loaves at once using half sheets. If I switch shelves and rotate in the middle of the bake, I run the risk of losing too much heat. If I don't then I run the risk of scorching. I don't intend to get rid of this oven (around 5 years old.) but think I might be able to add another one in the eating area which I would like to be as small as possible (as it will cut into our eating space) while still baking 12 loaves at a time.
My investigations show that there are three types of ovens that might work:
1. A double wall oven - like the Electrolux EI30EW45J S. These need an enclosure, which given that I just want to plop the oven down in an eating area seems iffy. Costs around $3K+.
2. A single deck convection oven like the Vulcan VC4ED or Southbend EH/10SC. The first is fairly massive. The second looks amazingly small. Can it really handle 5 half sheet pans with loaves on them, or even 4? These are also in $3K+ range
3. A large counter top model like the Cadco - XAF-193 - Line Chef Full Size Countertop. This has four rack positions but at 13 inches tall could it handle even two fully loaded sheet pans? This is a bit cheaper - around $2.5K.
All of the models above are convection ovens. I know a lot of people use convection ovens happily, but isn't there an issue with loaves drying out too quickly and so losing full spring? The Cadco has some sort of steam option - not sure what it is.
Anyhow, that's as far as I've gotten. Any suggestions, ideas, information?
Thanks so much!