The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rofco in a flat

matt291's picture
matt291

Rofco in a flat

I’m about to open up a sourdough micro-bakery from home in the UK, making bread and other sweet treats on a made-to-order basis. I’m a full-time PhD student, so I’ll start slow, and will use a domestic oven and a Challenger Bread Pan to make single loaves, maybe 3 or 4 a day. In the future, however, I’d like to upgrade to a Rofco - probably the B40 but smaller sizes would also work. 

 

The problem is that I’ll be moving into a one-bedroom flat in a couple of months. I’ll be renting from a landlord, and I need to get permission from him for a number of alterations to the flat (such as putting up frames on the wall, painting etc.). I can tell that this might be a problem for a future purchase of a Rofco. 

I’d like to ask those who own a Rofco, or who have experience using one, a few questions. What sort of electrical supply do you need? I know it’s a single-phase unit, but does it work with a standard electrical socket, or do I need to bring in an electrician to upgrade my set-up? Also, does it require enough power to possibly cause a trip in the apartment complex? 

Does the Rofco produce enough heat to merit setting it up away from a wall, or is it safe to place it against a shared wall? Related to this, is it at all a fire-hazard (of course, beyond it being on the same level as a conventional oven)? 

And finally, I’m terrified that every time I open the Rofco door the cloud of steam will set off the fire alarms (or indeed the heat from the Rofco itself). Has this been a problem for any owners? 

 

I guess my main concern, in summary, is that I’m trying to figure out if a Rofco is a viable option to consider in the future for someone living in a relatively small one-bedroom flat. 

 

Any help is greatly appreciated! 

Timodog's picture
Timodog

Hi Matt, 

sorry this is a bit off-topic, but do you already use a Challenger? If so, how are you finding it?

TD

matt291's picture
matt291

I do use one, and have found it to be the perfect tool for producing bread in small batches. I’d definitely recommend it if you bake small batches regularly. I haven’t been able to replicate the same results using any sort of steaming methods. 

Timodog's picture
Timodog

The reason I ask is that I bought a Challenger about a month ago and have failed to get consistent results, certainly nothing like what I was able to achieve in a Lodge. Just wondered what others had experienced. It seems most of the 'reviews' online are from so-called influencers who were gifted CPBs.

TD

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

The challenge with the Challenger is that it is a flat pan, as opposed to a dutch oven that is a "pot" with sides.  And if the dough size matches the size of the pot, the sides of the pot prevent it from spreading.

I have fallen into using this "crutch" myself: I have a lodge "combo cooker" but I end up using the pot half to bake on/in, and don't bake on the lid.

The better solution is to make a tighter/stronger dough, through gluten development, and a strong, tight, and "drier" gluten skin/cloak.  This is what is done by bakers who bake on a stone, and either steam the whole oven or invert something over the loaf/stone.

Net: the spreading problem does not lie specifically with a Challenger, as it happens on baking stones just the same, and those bakers deal with it through the  oft-mentioned dough development techniques.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Since you have not heard from an actual Rofco owner, I can pipe in a little

 What sort of electrical supply do you need? I know it’s a single-phase unit, but does it work with a standard electrical socket, or do I need to bring in an electrician to upgrade my set-up? Also, does it require enough power to possibly cause a trip in the apartment complex?

It will depend on the unit, they offer a number of different models, and each requires a different number of watts -  http://www.rofco.be/ovens_EN.html     From what I have read online, the standard outlet in the UK will handle up to 3000 watts, which would mean that the B40 might need a special outlet, since that is rated 3,100 watts, but the others should be fine with a standard outlet.

 

 

Does the Rofco produce enough heat to merit setting it up away from a wall, or is it safe to place it against a shared wall? Related to this, is it at all a fire-hazard (of course, beyond it being on the same level as a conventional oven)? 

According to this page, https://www.theperfectloaf.com/guides/baking-bread-in-a-rofco-oven/,  it will get warm but can be placed near a wall.  I would ask the manufacturer for a copy of the manual, that normally will tell you if they recommend it be kept a certain distance from walls.  I doubt it would be any more of a fire hazard than a countertop oven

 

And finally, I’m terrified that every time I open the Rofco door the cloud of steam will set off the fire alarms (or indeed the heat from the Rofco itself). Has this been a problem for any owners? 

 In the US, nearly all are not fire detectors, but smoke detectors, and in essence, they do not react to increases in temperature, but instead smoke. In one type, there is a light that shines on a sensor, and if too much smoke is in the air, it decreases the light that hits the sensor and the alarm sounds.  There is also ion type, which is similar in that it is sensing smoke, not temperature.  My guess is that unless you have a very small flat, and an extremely sensitive detector, it won't alarm.  You can test it by boiling water on a oven - if the steam coming off the pot does not trip the alarm, I would be very surprised if the Rofco would present a problem.  I did an online search, and they apparently offer heat detectors as well in England https://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/smoke-alarms/.   I have a heat detector in my garage within probably 5 feet of a Commercial Convection countertop oven, and it has never sounded even though the oven goes over 500F, so I doubt that will be a problem with the rofco,  

matt291's picture
matt291

Thanks for the help! I think the B40 would be too much, and a B20 would suit my needs just fine. I'll email the UK suppliers and get some more information on watts etc.