Deck ovens, essentially, are commercially used baking machines. They employ conduction heat in order to bake various products, mainly bread. The process involves heat travelling from a hot deck to a sheet or pan containing the item to be baked. They also use radiant heat, a process involving infrared radiant heat waves which penetrate the dough and thoroughly heat it.
Deck ovens are in very much in demand commercially as they are reliable, functional and consistent in their operation. They are popular with the so-called artisan bakers and pastry chefs who are highly skilled at their work and demand the best tools to do their jobs. Nothing can be left to chance and they welcome the quality and consistency in quality that can be achieved by the right deck ovens.
As the demand for artisan bread increases with its popularity, the demand for deck ovens also increases. How do you find the right deck oven? Not an easy task. There are key considerations that you need to bear in mind when selecting the correct deck oven.
- Gas or Electric? Deck ovens are powered by gas or electric. Gas has always been the cheaper option up until recently as electricity prices continue to rise. Potential buyers would need to take a view on this.
- Space. You would need to decide exactly where it will be located taking into account not only available space but also access to power supplies, and the possible need for extraction canopies.
- Skills to Operate Deck Ovens. These ovens have few moving parts but still need the right calibre of staff to operate them. Some suppliers of commercial deck ovens will provide training if needed.
- Production Volumes. Deck ovens are expensive, so you would not want to be upgrading them on a regular basis It therefore makes good sense to take into account possible future capacity requirements when selecting a deck oven.
- Maintenance. Whilst deck ovens are highly reliable, you still need to have an adequate maintenance contact in place. You should take into account: cost, response times, and perhaps a back up facility (this is the area of disaster recovery for a catastrophic event such as fire or an explosion). Often your original supplier is your first port of call for maintenance and support; this is something that sometimes can be factored into the original purchase contract. However, do check out alternatives, perhaps after the warranty period has expired.
The Future of Deck Ovens
Technology is advancing rapidly, and manufacturers are looking at the likes of touch screens to guide users though using the machine, along with pre-programmed systems to make it even easier to operate. All of this will make for consistent quality of the baking product and guard against costly errors that may be made by inadequately educated staff. Remote access is also on the cards.
The industry is also focusing on energy and ways to make deck ovens more efficient. Watch this space!
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