April 23, 2019 Foodservice Innovation
Cooking with Commercial Conveyor Ovens
So you have decided that using a conveyor oven is best for your kitchen. Now it is time to determine which conveyor technology works best for you. When cooking with conveyor ovens, the three most common types of oven cooking technology are forced air impingement, radiant electric elements and infrared electric elements.
Forced air impingement is the most widely type of cooking since it can reduce your total cooking time by up to 25 percent as compared non-forced air ovens. Some of the downsides of a forced air impingement oven is that they tend to be loud making them less suitable for use in customer areas. Additionally, they have fixed air panels which are difficult to change making them less flexible for establishments that have a variety of menu items.
Forced air impingement drastically speeds the cooking and baking process by pulling moisture from the product’s surface which can sometimes result in a drying effect on the food. This reduces the total cooking time by as much as 20% to 25%. Just like a convection oven, the forced air will speed the cooking and baking process when compared to conventional ovens.
Radiant and infrared conveyor ovens, just like deck ovens, are extremely quiet making them ideal for locations where customers are near.
Some establishments will have dual conveyor ovens to allow for different air flows, speeds and temperatures and to increase the flexibility to offer more menu items. Recently, some manufacturers have upped the ante even more by having split belts, allowing the operator to have one cooking chamber but two cooking times. Each belt would then be used for different items on the menu.
If you are using a conveyor oven, it can both be stacked allowing the operator to increase production without using valuable space within the kitchen. Depending on the oven, they can be stacked two, three or sometimes even four high. A stack of conveyor ovens can allow the operator use different ovens at different temperatures, air flow, allowing for more flexibility and menu options.
Since air flow, temperatures and time are not easily adjusted on most types of conveyor ovens, they are mostly used in high volume operations where the menu items are limited. Conveyors have become most widely used in chain pizza businesses, the take-home, and delivery restaurants. While on the other hand, deck ovens can cook and bake nearly any menu item, and are most applicable for casual family dining and full-service, larger-menu operations as well as pizza operations.
Keep in mind that preventative maintenance is important to keep your oven and your kitchen running smoothly. No matter what type of conveyor oven you choose, a critical element of your successes is proper ongoing maintenance and cleaning routines.
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