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Different Types of Bakery Ovens

Updated on December 14, 2014
Bakery Oven - Rack Oven
Bakery Oven - Rack Oven

When it comes to bakery ovens, not that many people realize that there are actually quite a number of different kinds. What people are familiar with is the rack oven, which is similar to the ovens that you use at home. These rack ovens come in many different variants as well, usually in size and in the number of racks each one carries.

The usual number of racks a standard rack oven holds is around 8, which is what smaller bakeries often use for their businesses. The bigger the bakery, the bigger the oven they usually go for, with the number of racks increasing according to their needs. There are ovens with a 12 rack capacity, and some that are capable of handling 24 racks. Some smaller bakeries go for ovens with 4 to 6 rack capacities, while some bigger ones often go for 12 or higher.

Small Rack Oven
Small Rack Oven

Other Oven Types Other Than Rack Bakery Ovens

While the rack oven is indeed the more popular option for businesses that sell baked goodies, there are still other options they can choose from when it comes to the ovens that bakeries use. Here are some more of these other oven choices:

  • Revolving or Rotating Oven – these are ovens that are used by bakeries that bake a lot of goodies in a day, and these are rather large ovens that can accommodate around 16 trays minimum to 100 trays maximum. These ovens are called rotating or revolving ovens because of the fact that these have rotating racks that help bake items evenly. These rotating racks prevent the trays from staying in one area of the oven for the entire cooking time, reducing the chances of unevenly cooked breads, cakes, and pastries.
  • Stone or Brick Ovens – these are ovens that people have built inside their places of business, and are usually chosen by those who want to have that rustic, home-baked taste in their food. These ovens have stone slabs that cook bread with a really soft inside, and crispy crust outside. These are usually the oven of choice by those who want their bread or pastries to have that “old-world” style that is sometimes called traditional or even artisanal.

Gas Bakery Oven
Gas Bakery Oven

Gas or Electric?

Aside from the oven design, these can also come in either gas or electric variants. The difference between both is that one uses a gas lighted flame to heat up the inside of the oven, and the other uses heating elements and fans that help circulate the heat within the oven’s cavity. When it comes to choosing between gas or electric, oftentimes the choice is dependent on preference.

Some people say that gas ovens are better because you can control the heat better than gas ovens. Others say that electric ovens are better because the heat in these distribute evenly, which means that the resulting cakes, breads, and pastries cook better and do not have any raw spots. This also depends on the quality of the oven that you get, with some gas ovens being better than some electric ones due to the workmanship of the appliance in question.

Proofing Cabinet
Proofing Cabinet

Other Oven-like Equipment Needed in Bakeries

Another piece of equipment you will need in a bakery that looks like an oven is the proofing cabinet or proofer. This piece of equipment helps make the dough rise faster and this is because of the low heat that the proofing cabinet radiates. These are also humid, which also aids in making the dough rise quicker. The humidity helps keep the dough from drying out as well.

These proofing cabinets come in a variety of sizes as well, with some able to carry more pans than others. There are proofers that can be placed under the counter and some that are as big as a full-sized refrigerator. What you choose is, again, dependent on what your business needs.

Aside from the proofing cabinet, some bakeries choose to use what is called a retarder. This is similar in design to a proofing cabinet, but does the opposite, which is to slow down the rising process of the dough. These cool down the dough enough to delay the rising process, which is required by some types of breads. There are some proofing cabinets that double as retarders, with the temperature and humidity levels being adjustable to accommodate this.

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