The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Restaurant-grade ovens?

Sylviambt's picture
Sylviambt

Restaurant-grade ovens?

Hi all,

Just wondered if anyone is baking in, or is investigating, a used restaurant range? In the last 12 months I've twice blown out the electronic sensors in my not-very-old home Maytag.  I've explored the Viking, Aga, Jenn-aire and KitchenAid models, but wonder if there might not be great value in a used commercial range.  Would appreciate your thoughts.

Sylvia

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Issues you would need to consider would include whether or not your house has sufficient electric and/or natural gas capacity to support a restaurant stove, whether or not any additonal safety equipment would be required (particularly fume hood and automatic fire suppression), and in general the question of what local building codes would apply and whether or not the code dept would allow the installation in your jurisdiction and/or your specific application.

I suspect Viking's advice would be that they designed their home stoves to give professional results within these constraints.

sPh

 

Sylviambt's picture
Sylviambt

SPh,

Thanks for the note. I'll keep those issues in mind as I go trolling around the area.  I live in a rural community on the north western edge of Wisconsin; just an hour outside St. Paul, Minnesota.  Every once in a while a restaurant shuts its doors and equipment can become available.  And, of course, there are those businesses within a 100-miles radius that broker the used ranges. 

Sylvia

fatdruid's picture
fatdruid

   I would also caution that true resturant ranges and ovens are usually "standing pilot" so they're always on and using gas.

Having worked as a saucier, and ruining a few gallons of hollandaise and other stuff by setting on the burner grate, I remember now and use the warmer shelf above the range.

   Some jurisdictions require a separate gas shut off installed for non commercial applications.

  Whatever you choose, I also reccomend taking a half sheet pan along to make sure it fits.

I hope I have been helpful

cecilB's picture
cecilB

We have a Dacor - the white 4 burner, dual fuel convection range and are not very happy with it. We've had SO many EXPENSIVE repairs on it, not to mention a face plate that keeps cracking but they replace that for free. whatever. I love the stove top but I'm not happy with the range, especially when you consider the $$$$ for it. I've used cheapo's in base houseing for year, and never had problems! I have a "junk" oven on my back porch I got at an auction - it bakes better than the dacor!

I know the dacor we have isn't commercial, but it was a 2000 dollar range!

Anyone else out there have a Dacor they've had problems with?

 Cecelia

Sylviambt's picture
Sylviambt

cecilB - thanks for the warning.  I've seen the commercial Dacor's at local cooking school, and wondered about those made for the home. 

Just got a note from my sis - the interior decorator - who mentioned that the used restaurant ranges should not butt up against any cabinets, should have a hood able to handle the specific range, and wouldn't need special gas hookup. However, if an electric range, might need special hookup for that.

I guess I'll see what I discover as I snoop around.  If I find anything of interest, I'll report back.

Sylvia

dsetzer's picture
dsetzer

I hope that this comment is not too late, I just read your post.

I have been using a restaurant range in my home for the past 3 years. I bought a new Imperial 6 burner that has an oven big enough to handle a full (18x26) sheet pan in either direction. I have added baking stones from bakingstone.com. They will make stones in any size you need. I have two 24x24 inch stones (one on each shelf) and also have an improvised steam system using 1/4 copper tubing with some fittings to distribute the steam in the oven. The tubing is connected to a Shark portable steam cleaner. The copper tubing is fed into the oven through the fume duct in the back. This setup creates very good conditions for bread baking.

Now for the cautionary stuff. The standard restaurant 6 burner is 36 inches wide. Most are also 30 - 32 inches deep. Because the oven is not as well insulated as a home oven, it must not be placed within 6 inches of anything combustable (cabinets, walls, etc.). In my case I was remodeling and used fire rated drywall and I still have it positioned away from the walls and other combustables. You will need a 3/4 inch gas line as the btu input on a commercial stove is much higher than a home version. I would also connect it with a flexible Dormont type connector with shutoff. You need to treat this as a commercial installation.

You will need a more powerful hood than a low end model but there are residential hoods available with sufficent cfm to exhaust the fumes. An Ansul type fire system is really not necessary if you keep the hood clean and aren't doing a lot of deep frying.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the restaurant stove does have standing pilot lights vs electronic ingition. This can be a waste of energy as well as a possible safety issue.

I would look into a new stove vs used. A stove that has been in a restaurant has usually been beat up pretty bad and you can find a new all stainless 6 burner for about $1200 - $1500 from many vendors. Shipping via freight is not that expensive.

A restaurant stove can work in your home and can be adapted into a good deck oven, but it requires some careful thought before jumping in.

Good luck!