What to Consider When Selecting a Convection Oven
- Available space
- Menu items
- Volume of cooking during peak hours
- Operator knowledge and expertise
- Food safety and utility requirements
- Energy savings
Convection ovens are known for their speed and efficiency. They use fans to circulate heated air about a cooking cavity which helps foods to cook as much as 35 percent faster than conventional ovens. Full size convection ovens hold 18"x26" sheet pans and, if bakery depth, will hold them front to back, doubling the capacity.
Convection ovens are a great choice when space is limited. They can be stacked to get the most from available space and come in a variety of dimensions. Another consideration is the height—will it fit under an existing hood?
Finishing requires higher BTUs so that the temperature can recover very quickly. This application is used after plating items out of hot food wells to bring the food up to serving temperature. Baking and roasting typically requires the oven to be preheated to 50 degrees higher than the recipe requires since a degree is lost for every second an oven door is open. The product is placed in the oven and removed after a period of time. These types of ovens require much lower BTUs to operate as they maintain a set temperature.
The size, number of racks, and the speed of a convection oven must be considered depending upon the volume of product needed during peak hours.
In a busy kitchen, operator knowledge and expertise will determine many choices.
- Heavy duty versus light duty equipment
- Manual controls versus digital controls
- Solid door or windows
- One- or two-handed opening of doors
Food safety and energy savings considerations are that the oven should be easy to clean and have third party sanitation and electrical efficiency standards such as NSF, UL, ETL and Energy Star.