The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gas Deck Ovens Available in the US

kneadvt's picture
kneadvt

Gas Deck Ovens Available in the US

Hello FL!

I'm searching for a commercial deck oven to make artisanal bread that is available in the US. I had my heart set on something like the Doyon T series because of how compact and affordable they are. After learning a bit about three-phase power (mostly that I don't have it) I'm searching for natural gas alternatives, however, everything I've seen is quite a bit bigger and nowhere near as affordable.

Any suggestions for gas powered deck ovens that have steam capability?

Thanks!

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Doyon offers their ovens in both propane and natural gas versions.

I use a Blodgett deck running on propane.

 

Jim

 

VillageBakery's picture
VillageBakery

Doyon offers both single and three phase T series ovens (according to their website).  

kneadvt's picture
kneadvt

Thanks Folks,

After doing some more research I discovered that itty bitty line in a few company brochures where is says single phase option available. I checked in with some sales reps as well and they affirmed it was true. I may be able to get that Doyon unit after all!

Now if I can just figure out if I need a water softener or not.

Jim I see you're a fellow Vermonter, any opinion on water softening systems?

VillageBakery's picture
VillageBakery

Keep in mind that when you spec out a single phase oven your amperage requirements will increase (by about 1.5x).  I had a 4 pan two deck oven single phase installed - amperage is 67A (full load) and had to have another 200A service run. As for water softeners, all manufacturers will recommend softened and filtered water - no matter your water source, it will help prolong the life of your steaming system.

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

kneadvt,

What are your plans for your baking venture? Is this for home use or are you planning on bringing your product to market? There are lots of options but some are tailored more for the home and others are built for commercial use.

The Doyon 1T is nice but the interior space only accommodates 1 sheet pan (26" X 18"). The price seems a little high for such a small baking chamber, and is probably too small if you were planning on selling your breads.

As to water treatment I am on a shallow well and I run my water through a sand filter, a charcoal filter, a water softener, a U/V purifier and a 3 micron filter. The sand and charcoal reduce sediment and improve flavor. The softener reduces the hardness and the purifier neutralizes any odd bacteria. The 3 micron filter is for my own peace of mind but probably not really necessary.

 

Jim

kneadvt's picture
kneadvt

VB, Thanks for the heads up, I'm guessing that's still cheaper than bringing in three phase power?

Jim,

The application is a small scale commercial bakery. I'm attracted to the Doyon because of the small footprint but I'm thinking either the 2T with two decks or the 1T with three decks would meet my needs. It doesn't leave me much room to grow but I suppose that's the attraction of a modular oven. I'd certainly take any recommendations for more economic options. I'm just a bit hesitant to mod a blodgett for steam as I'm not very handy.

I'll be using Burlington City water which is described as medium hard to hard. Seems like a lot of folks have some kind of softening/ purifying rig. I've worked with a lot of espresso machines in small shops that break down due to scaling of some kind, guess I know why now.

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

As you know, steam is a big factor in artisan-style bread baking and for me there are two considerations; is the baking chamber sealed or not sealed.

If the chamber is sealed (vents are either opened or closed) then the steam system is much easier. Sealed chamber ovens generate steam by spraying in a small amount of water (milliliters) on a hot surface within the sealed chamber, immediately turning it to steam where it lives in the baking chamber until the vents are opened.

Open baking chambers have a constant flow-through of heated gases that start at the heating element (gas or electric), then exit through the baking chamber out a vent that is always wide open. Blodgett deck ovens are examples of open baking chambers. If you were to squirt a few milliliters of water into the chamber the steam would exit through the vent in a few seconds. If you continued to spray water into the baking chamber sufficient to create steam for a few minutes you would cool down the oven substantially over time. This is why true steam generators are needed for open baking chambers.

In order for me to create a constant and sufficient amount of steam in my 33" X 22" X 7" baking chamber (Blodgett 911-P) I have to inject steam at around 5 psi. That steam is heated to around 220 F so the cooling of the oven is minimal. To create a constant feed of 5 psi. I have to heat the boiler at a constant 4 kWatts, which is about 16 amps of 240 VAC. They rate steam boilers a lot of different ways and one way is pounds per hour. My steam generator can produce about 7.5 lbs. of steam per hour so if I steam for 10 minutes I am using 1.25 lbs. of steam. A pound of steam equates to a pint of water so I'm running about 2.5 cups of water through my steam generator every 10 minute steam cycle.

The reason I am laying all this out relates to water hardness. A sealed baking chamber might use a few ml. of water for each steam cycle. My open baking chamber uses close to 600 ml. per steam cycle so damage from hard water is more pronounced on an open system than a closed one. With a closed chamber you may never have to worry about water hardness. With an open system it can be much more of a problem.

You might want to keep this in mind when you shop for ovens. When I look for my next oven I will give sealed baking chambers a higher priority.

 

 

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Also, with gas you will have to plumb in a propane tank and have gas delivered. Maybe where you are located you have access to natural gas (sweet!) and the plumbing will be minimal. Plumbing in gas is a lot less expensive than running wire, or bringing in 3-phase.

kneadvt's picture
kneadvt

Wow! Awesome explanation Jim, that's super helpful and easy to understand.

Burlington has cheap natural gas unfortunately I haven't found a gas model I like with a small footprint and realistic price tag.

I've also been looking at the Picard Modulux out of Quebec. Seems a bit more affordable than the Doyon unit.

Rob

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Ya, nice oven but hardly a small footprint !

Have you started to look into Vermont Health Department licensing yet? It may have a profound affect on your oven selection.

kneadvt's picture
kneadvt

I've been in touch with them a bit but have not discussed the oven yet. Are you referring to exhaust venting or some other requirement I'm not aware of?

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

You will likely fall under one of three classifications, home baker, small commercial baker and large commercial baker. As a home baker you don't have to jump through many hoops but you may not use commercial equipment. As you can see this could be very limiting.

If you move up to a small commercial baker you will have to comply with all of the cleanliness rules, like floors, walls and ceilings that can be wiped-down, as well as installing sinks with air-gap plumbing and possibly grease traps. To add insult to injury you will have to undergo a state wastewater study to prove that your waste disposal system is certified for the added wastewater. There will be water testing for nasty bacteria and a visit from the fire marshal to insure that you comply with the local fire codes.

There is a lot of information available on the web if you care to search something like "Vermont Food Licensing". 

kneadvt's picture
kneadvt

After almost a year total of research and a very helpful discussion here I found a gas unit from American Baking Systems. I went with a two pan wide three deck model 803T, not exactly the most compact option but for the price tag and capacity it became a clear winner. Also, dealing with ABS reps has been a real treat, they've given me a lot of attention and answered countless questions.

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

Looks like a really nice unit. I am sure you will be happy with it.