The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Which oven

Mylora's picture

Which oven

I am an amateur baker of some 10 years, but only in the kitchen with very ordinary gear. I now want to expand my baking and am building a small bakehouse on my rural property. I have bought a second hand commercial prover which has been excellent. I only have single phase electricity and I am too remote to have 3 phase connected. I can buy a second hand, single phase commercial convention oven with steam that is designed to sit on top of my prover, which I am told will do a great job. My electrician tells me that all the lights in my home will dim when I use it, but I will be in the bakehouse so that doesn't matter. I can also build a wood fired oven and I have the plans. I am told that my bread will be better.

I am trying to weigh up the pros and cons of each for results and convenience of use. The wood fired oven will have to be started many hours before use; the convention 30 minutes. Has anyone else been through this decision process. I would be grateful for advice.

gary.turner's picture

I doubt you'd want three phase service for a residential property. Residential 240v appliances expect single phase service, else the voltage between legs will be 208v and you'll experience an effective brown-out condition, or you'll need to add your own transformer to convert from three to single phase for home needs.

You don't say where you live, or your normal electrical needs. An older property may only have 60A service. Today's highly electrified house needs 100A service where A/C loads are minimal and heating is not electric. Here in Texas, 200A service is the norm on new construction.

Ask your electrician why the electrical capacity is too low. If the line transformer is large enough, you may need to have a new, larger drop, and a larger panel. In a rural area, it may be that the system is short of capacity. If that's the case, you and your neighbors may be able to pressure the electric company/co-op to increase capacity. You may need to bring your state's public utilities commission in on the pressure.

dantortorici's picture

I have a wood fired oven and the results are wonderful. There is a earthy quality that it seems only it can provide. However, it's 36 inch diameter means only one full size sheet pan will fit when I need to use them while in a convection that is restaurant sized it will fit 4 to 8. I am currently looking at adding a convection with steam.

Chuck's picture

I think one consideration with a WFO would be having (or being able to buy easily) a ready supply of wood fuel (of course not counting on painted scraps, pallets, construction waste, etc.)

Mylora's picture

Hi Chuck,

I live in Australia, on a rural property and we have wood fires in our house. We estimate that without chopping down any trees, we have enough timber lying on the ground for about 3 generations. Fuel is not a problem. I am trying to convince myself that the convenience of the commercial convection oven (with steam) will outweigh the benefits of the wood fired oven.


ananda's picture

Hi Geoff,

It won't be very convenient if your electric oven draws just a bit more power than you have anticipated.

You seem to have plenty of space, and a load of wood.   I'm not really sure where the debate is really at here?

Best advice I could probably offer is to read Dan Wing and Alan Scott's book "The Bread Builders".   Sounds like you need to be convinced about sustainability too.   I really hope you get to see beyond "convenience", and make it work.

Best wishes


Mylora's picture


I have read it. I know that you are right. I guess that I am getting a little lazy in my latter years.