The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can a convection oven produce the same result as a deck?

giyad's picture

Can a convection oven produce the same result as a deck?

I understand the differences between a deck and convention oven, but I have no experience with the two in terms of commercial equipment.  I'm opening up a restaurant and I want to figure out the best oven for my use.

I'm going to be producing something similar to pizza, meaning I want the browning effect on the bottom you get when using stones.  So far in my research, there is no such thing as a commercial convection oven with stone decks, is this the case?  I guess technically I could put stones inside a convection oven, but maybe theres a reason people don't...  The main reason I would like convection is because I hear its better against heat loss.  Why don't they make pizza deck ovens with convection?


Also, bonus question:  do pizza deck ovens have different venting requirements than convection if they are both electric?  I ask because I was told that if I'm using an electric convection oven I wouldn't need to vent my location.

mcs's picture

Convection and deck ovens work much differently in the way they cook your food, so what you need largely depends on what you are cooking and your experience.

Most restaurants, if forced to only buy one oven for whatever reason, will either have a convection oven, or an oven underneath their range like you would in a home.  Of the two, the convection oven is more versatile, and a little bit quicker than a regular oven.  For most things that a restaurant would cook, a convection is great.

However, if you are only or mostly cooking pizzas, then a deck oven would be the standard.  As you mentioned, the browning that you're looking for is more common for  a deck oven, partially because the 'headroom' in a pizza oven is quite low.  The same effect can be created with a convection, but it will require more experimenting and because there is much more 'headroom' in a convection oven, to create evenly baked pizzas you almost certainly will need to rotate them from top to bottom during the bake. 

Electric convection ovens do produce less wasteful heat (which is why they bake more quickly) so they will probably keep your working  area cooler than an electric deck oven. 

For your bonus question, ventilation is usually based on a safety requirement (fire code) as opposed to a heat/comfort requirement.  The maker of your oven may tell you that you don't need to vent the place, but the fire marshall may tell you that you need to have 6" clearance/coverage of ventilation on all sides of your oven.  That said, even if you are not required by law to vent for either oven (deck or convection) because they don't impose the risk of a grease fire,  you will definitely want some ventilation in your place to pull the heat out while baking. 

Another option based on your counterspace, needs, and volume is to get a convection oven for most of your restaurant needs, plus a 'countertop pizza oven' for your pizzas.

Anyway, hope that helps.




giyad's picture

Thanks for your input Mark!  I only have one item on my menu, I'm specializing in something similar to pizza called manousheh, its basically a middle eastern take on the pizza, but served as a sandwhich, so I would only need one oven.  Now I know I said that I would need stone to get that browning effect, but in Lebanon most of the ovens they cook these in are just made out of steel, as far as I can tell as in this picture.


Although in this video you can see that the back of that oven is lined with brick

So far I've just been baking these in my home electric convection oven (although I'm just using the bake setting), but I do have a pizza stone and they come out great.  I'm searching for the right oven for the restaurant though and so far I've got 2 options depending on the location I choose, either something like this for gas if I get a vented location, or this if I choose the non-vented location.  Would love your opinion!

mcs's picture

...who currently uses 3 convection ovens (that would be me) for everything, for your purpose I would use a deck oven.  The cost usage isn't too hard to figure out once you know how much they charge for gas or electricity where you will be operating.  I'll reply about that in your other thread. 

That looks like an awesome product that you're shooting for, and I can tell what the consistency of the flatbread is in the video.  Definitely different than a standard pizza which makes me lean even more towards a deck oven.


gerhard's picture

Convection ovens are all about more efficent heat transfer from air to product, much like a windy day will cool you faster the moving air warms the product faster.  Products that need radiant heat for quick browning, melting cheese, melting sugar etc. won't bake as well in a convection oven.  Crusty bread doesn't do as well with convection heat in my opinion.  Generally to counteract the quicker heat transfer the temperature you bake at is lower so your stone's temperature would also be lower which means contact heat transfer will be less than if the stone is in a conventional oven.


giyad's picture

Thanks for that explanation, makes perfect sense :)

Doc.Dough's picture

A deck oven transfers heat to the food by radiation from the top and conduction from below.

A convection oven transfers heat to the food by convection from both above and below, unless you add a stone in which case it is conduction from below and convection from above.

Radiant transfer is proportional to the difference of the 4th power of the surface absolute temperature multiplied by the surface emissivity. i.e. (R1^4 - R2^4)  This is what an IR thermometer measures.

Convective transfer is proportional to the temperature difference between the food and the circulating hot air multiplied by a term that captures the local film coefficient and is a function of local air velocity. This tends to produce edges that are more brown than the center of a flat surface such as a pizza when baked in a convection oven.

I think that a deck oven is probably the preferred solution.

Joey Biscotti's picture
Joey Biscotti

Hello. I have a company which produces Biscotti and all other types of desserts, from cheesecakes and cookies to bread puddings,  sweet loaves, and muffins. For three years I've used nothing but convection ovens, but now I'm purchasing a bakery that only has Pizza/Deck ovens. Will I need to make any major alterations in how I produce my products (especially the biscotti) using these deck ovens? 

Thanks, in advance, for any helpful advice you can give.