The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My Rofco Oven

drogon's picture
drogon

My Rofco Oven

I did a blog post on my own site about my experiences so-far with my Rofco - the quick version is that "it's good and works really well for me".

Link here to my own site: http://moorbakes.co.uk/the-rofco-experience/

Hope its of use.

Cheers,

-Gordon

marseille's picture
marseille

Thanks for that read Drogon. I also run a part time microbakery from a B40 and thought I'd add my observations for 

those out there considering one.

 

1). There is nothing else out there that can address the bottleneck of home ( single phase) production. While I think recharge time is longer than Drogon claims, you can do 12 free loaves at a time, though loading/steaming takes a while to get the hang of. I retard most of my loaves and can bake off 60 in a morning. 

 

2) Because there are so few options, you have to overlook the fact that the oven is wildly overpriced. Built quality is mediocre but it is so simple that it should operate without problems for a long time. The company had serious problems with quality control in its early batches of ovens sent to the US but it's distributor, Pleasant Hill Grains, did a good job holding them accountable.

 

3) It behaves more like a wood fired oven than deck oven in my opinion and that can force you to alter formulas and cooking temps/times, but all ovens have a learning curve. An infrared thermometer is essential. The thermostat is a joke- I too bake around 200-210c; at that temp, the stones are about 250c, though there is significant uneveness between levels. Drogon is righit about the bottom element scorching- I usually have to place an inverted sheet tray underneath half way through. Oddly enough, the stone is always the coolest of the three at beginning of bake. I still can't figure out what is up with that.

4) The most important accessory is the baking mat, which makes loading full decks possible. The steam trays are poorly conceived and take up far too much real estate. Two gallon pressure steamer is fine, thanks to the good sealing properties of oven. The light will shatter eventually if you steam- I just removed it, it's pretty pointless anyway. 

Hope this helps any prospective buyers out there. If you would like to check out some of the breads from this oven, you can go to firedogbreads.com

 

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

There are apparently small commercial deck ovens with steam that can be ordered for single phase power...two that I have had confirmation on this are: Polin and Baker's Best. 

You can also run a phase converter to accommodate 3 phase equipment on a single phase power supply (as this guy does out of his garage: http://barriobread.com)

drogon's picture
drogon

is that you still need to run heavy duty (10mm^2) cable from the house distribution board to the ovens location to get the current. In my house this is somewhat problematic and in reality it's not going to happen without a lot of expense. (It's something I've really looked into).

The rotary converters have the same requirement - you need the cabling to carry the current in the first place. I could have 3-phase installed, but that then introduces all sorts of issues - the least of which is the cost (expensive), the worst is the local authority re-grading my house as commercial premises and in the area I live in there is another national park authority who have a habit of making peoples lives as hard as possible.

The last issue for me is that my bakehouse is upstairs and there's no-way a bigger deck oven is going to get up the stairs )-:

Should the bakery business expand then I have various options - and one is to simply not expand more than what I can do right now - I can double my bread output without too much issue, but moving to a unit might work, but I really like the idea of working from home...

There are also 3 commercial properties up for-sale in the town I live in too - 2 of them would be more than suitable, (one is a pizza restaurant, the other a cafe) but I'm not sure that that's something I really want to do right now. 20 years ago, maybe, but in my early 50's I'm not so sure...

Cheers,

-Gordon

 

Cadrabkin's picture
Cadrabkin

Hello,

I run a micro-bakery out of my home in Hays, Kansas, and have reached the point where two home ovens loaded with firebricks and cast iron steam skillets just aren't cutting it. Have been reading everyone's reviews of Rofco B40 and wanted to ask a few questions.

1. I would be inclined to use the sprayer instead of purchasing steam trays. Besides the light bulb issue, have you had any problems with sprayed water harming the oven (warping the metal, etc)?

2. Any issues with running the oven continuously (say 5-7 hours)? How long do you find you need to bring the oven up to temp between batches?

3. How long do you need to preheat to achieve a 450F oven temp? Do the controls allow a delay start? (I'd love to keep sleeping while my oven pre-heats!)

4. Are you still satisfied with your purchase?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can share.

Cathy Drabkin

Cathy's Breads

Hays, KS

drogon's picture
drogon

Hi,

So... 1-  I use a sprayer. The steam trays take up too much room. 2+ years later and the only issue is staining of the stainless steel. (other than the light!) It does make a bit of noise sometimes when spraying - to be expected, really.

2 - Mine normally runs for 4 hours 5 mornings a week. I have run it longer - once for about 12 hours - no real issues, but the bottom shelf does get a little hotter.

2a - Between batches? No time at all. Well - it gets about 5 minutes because that's how long it takes me to get the dough out of the baskets/bannetons and ready to be loaded.

3 - I pre-heat for 2 hours. Dials set to 220°C. Mostly because I get up at 5am, turn it on, then the first load goes in at 7am.It has 2 very simple capillary thermostat controls. No timer.

You will need to experiment with the controls to find a setting that works for you. I set them and leave them for the most part - I plan my bakes so that breads that need a slightly cooler temperature (cheese breads, sticky buns) are done last

4 - Yes. It was expensive, but its enabled me to make more and better bread, pastrys, pastys, cakes, etc.

-Gordon

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Gordon and Marseille,  thanks for your reviews.   Gordon,  I looked at the catalog description of the oven and had a similar thought, it looks widely overpriced for what it is.  I thought I could get a similar result by buying a used convection oven  ( a Cadco ) and stuffing it with thermal mass, but found that did not work out like I had hoped.  Glad the Rofco is working for both of you. 

drogon's picture
drogon

Is a Lincat EC08 - that's a GN 1/1 sized oven - 530x320mm trays. I've removed the grids and replaced them with 10mm thick steel plates. This made a huge difference to the breads, so if you can get steel cut don't discount a big fan oven.

Here's a photo of the inside:

-Gordon

breadandthebees's picture
breadandthebees

Hi, do you guys have any input on baking in a Rofco vs dutch oven? Beautiful bread you're all making, btw! Gordon, sorry for the redundancy...I know we touched on this on the other thread but thought perhaps Marseille or bikeprof might have some thoughts :-)

I have also started a micro bakery and prior to getting my Rofco B40 I had (and still am) been baking in my cast iron pots. People here love the texture of the crust and crumb. I need to up production so I got a Rofco and haven't been getting good results, unfortunately. So my question is (other than WHAT AM I DOING WRONG??), are my expectations unrealistic? I had apprenticed with a really old-school baker who uses a wood-fired oven and his breads do have a different texture.

philvk's picture
philvk

Hey Gordon - Thanks for taking the time to report on the Rofco you bought. There were tons of juicy details and observations on your blog post. And, your many breads- they look beautiful. Nice stuff.