Does Oven Type Matter in a Pastry Kitchen?

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Over the course of my culinary career, both as a professional and now as a hobbyist, I’ve had the chance to use different types of ovens.Based on my experience, I can say that in many situations, using different oven types can make a difference in how your cakes and pastries will turn out.The different ovens I’ve used are as follows:

1. Microwave/Convection Oven (Tabletop model)
2. Conventional built-in Oven (Home model)
3. Rotary Rack Oven (Industrial model)

Microwave/Convection Oven (Tabletop model)

This is a two-in-one type of home kitchen appliance that acts both as a microwave and a convection oven.It’s a multi-purpose space saving appliance for small kitchens or for home cooks who cook sparingly.These types of convection ovens tend to have small cavities with a blowing fan situated at the back or top of the oven.Although they are small and can only bake small quantities of cakes and pastries, they are excellent for baked items that are not fluffy and delicate in nature.For example, cookies and dense cakes such as brownies bake very well in tabletop convection ovens.However, items like soufflés, genoise, and pâte à choux will not rise properly in this type of oven.The blowing fan in the small oven cavity will blow the light cakes and pastries into deformed shapes while they rise.As with all convection ovens, you will need to adjust the temperature 10 – 25 degrees Celsius lower than what you would normally set in a conventional oven and reduce the baking time by 10-20% accordingly.

Conventional built-in Oven (Home model)

Conventional ovens are fantastic at baking just about everything since it is gentle heat that bakes the cakes or pastries.However, these types of ovens are notorious for having hot spots in the oven cavity and if you do not adjust your baking by rotating the baking sheets during the baking process, you will have cakes or pastries that are darker (and potentially overdone) on one side and lighter (and potentially underdone) on the other..Understanding the nuances of your oven will greatly determine how well your baked goods will come out in the end.

Rotary Rack Oven (Industrial Model)

Rotary rack ovens are industrial grade ovens that can fit one to two (speed) racks of 60cm x 40cm trays and are excellent at baking large volumes of goods at one go.They are ovens with a very large cavity (you can fit a few people inside!) and the convection aspect of baking is not done by a spinning fan but rather, the racks sit on a revolving turntable on the floor and will spin the racks during the baking process.This type of oven does not have any of the deficiencies of the convection or conventional ovens as explained above since the large cavity normalizes the temperature and the revolving racks spin at a rate that does not warp the baked goods.These types of ovens are extremely large and expensive and are generally only used by large professional pastry kitchens. We used this type of oven during my time at Fauchon.

What type of oven do I prefer?Outside of the rotary rack oven (which is not practical for a home chef), I would prefer the conventional built-in oven in most cases.Conventional ovens provide the most flexibility in the type of baked goods you can produce and can handle larger volumes than that of the microwave/convection types.As stated above, convection ovens are great for making cookies or even tart bases and bake savory foods very well.In my ideal home kitchen, I would have both devices at my disposal to fulfill my culinary ambitions.

An oven is an essential appliance in the pastry chef’s arsenal of tools and choosing the right one for your needs will determine just how well your baked goods will turn out.

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17 Responses to “Does Oven Type Matter in a Pastry Kitchen?”

  1. Gerald Martin Says:

    Good day .

    I would like to start a pastry kitchen at my existing kitchen .

    Please advise on equipment for the whole set up .

    Kind regards .

    Gerald Martin
    ( Mobile : 0716718822 )

    • stickofachef Says:

      Hi Gerald,

      Your question is actually not that easy to answer since there are so many variables to consider in how you want to conduct your business. Are you looking at a high volume or small scale pastry business? What kind of cakes, pastries, or confectioneries are you looking at selling? What is your budget and space limitations in your kitchen? There are many other questions that come to mind but in the end, you really have to sit down to understand the scope and type of pastry business you want to set up. Typical equipment you will find in a basic pastry kitchen are ovens, mixers, cake, pastry, and confectionary tools and moulds, freezers and refrigerators, stoves, and maybe even an air conditioned section of your kitchen for making chocolates and frozen desserts. If you’re unsure of what you need, my best advice to you is to locate a pastry consultant in your locale who can guide you in determining what you need to start your business. Only by sitting down with you face to face to discuss your business in detail and seeing your physical environment will you get the best advice in starting your business.

      Wishing you luck in your new venture!

  2. Heartburn Home Remedy Says:

    The style of writing is very familiar to me. Have you written guest posts for other blogs?

    • stickofachef Says:

      Hi,

      Thanks for writing in.

      No, I have not written guest posts for other blogs in the past.

  3. Laloop Says:

    Hi,
    I am thinking of making and selling macaroons, can u please advise me on the best type of oven for macaroons and if there is any important equipment needed.
    thanks u for your help

    • stickofachef Says:

      Hi Laloop,

      Thanks for your message.

      Convection and conventional ovens are both suitable for making macarons. If you are going to be selling your macarons commercially, I would advise that you focus on the capacity of the oven to suit the volume of macarons you will be selling. Plan ahead and ensure you plan for an oven that will support the growth and volume of your macaron sales in the future.

      In terms of equipment needed for macarons, it’s quite simple. All you really need is an oven, multitudes of baking sheets, parchment paper or silpats, a good capacity mixer, mixing bowls, mixing spoons, a good quality piping bag, and different sizes of piping tips. That’s about it. Once you have the right equipment, the success of making macarons will depend on technique and timing. All these skills can be acquired through patience, perseverence, and experience.

      Best of luck in your new macarons business.

      Cheers,

      • John D. Says:

        Hi,
        I am interested in baking and selling large quantities of sweet potato pies. Can you please advise me on the best type of oven for sweet potato pies and any other important equipment required?

        Thanks for your help.

      • stickofachef Says:

        Hi,

        Both conventional and convection ovens will do for your sweet potato pies. In this case, I would probably recommended a convection oven to bake your sweet potato pies. Convection baking will provide you with good air distribution to give you even browning for your pies as well as shorter baking times which is needed when you are producing large volumes and need to maximise your time within one production run. Other equipment you’ll need are sheet pans, pie moulds, and other ancillary tools needed to produce the pies.

        Hope this helps.

        Cheers,

      • John D. Says:

        Thanks so much for your reply. My concern has to do with the pie’s appearance coming out of the oven. I’ve always used a conventional (gas or electric range) oven to bake the pies and have only tried a convection oven once. It was a conveyor style. Is it just me or does the radiant heat from the conventional oven provide a smoother, more appealing finish than the air-blown finish of a convection oven (which seems to be somewhat dull). Or is there a way to manipulate settings in order to achieve this with convection cooking? Yes, the shorter baking times would be a big help.

  4. stickofachef Says:

    Hi John,

    I’ve never really noticed a difference in the results between a conventional and convection oven. The only thing I can think of that is a possibility is that the convection might be drying out your pies quicker which is resulting in a duller finish. One possibility I would try is to to keep the door ajar (if possible) mid-way through the baking cycle. If this doesn’t help, I would recommend baking in the conventional oven and sacrificing the slightly longer baking times for a better quality finish (if the better quality finish is what you are trying to achieve).

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers

  5. John D. Says:

    Thank you for the feedback and great suggetions.

  6. Annemarie Diblase Says:

    A mate encoraged me to look at this page, nice post, fascinating read… keep up the cool work!

  7. Angie Says:

    Is there any good recommended conventional oven ? I wanna use it for my home cakes/bread biz , big capacity,might be using it everyday. I hv checked on few brands but all hv different says. Does the country-made a concern even though they r well-known brands ? Puzzled

    • stickofachef Says:

      Dear Angie,

      Purchasing an oven for your home business depends on your budget, capacity of oven you need, and even determining how big of an oven you can fit in your kitchen. Purchasing home ovens as compared to commercial ovens have different specifications and I believe it will all come down to what you are willing to spend for your home business.

      As you highlighted, many well known brands have outsourced their production to other countries such as China so the quality (i.e. workmanship and quality of parts used) may be an issue from country to country.

      I’m sorry I cannot give you a definitive answer but there are simply too many variables to consider at the moment before I can give further advice.

      Cheers,

  8. phoemela Says:

    Hi I would like to put up a small dessert pie business. I’m targetting to be producing 150-250 pies per day. Which oven would be more appropriate which wouldn’t cost so much since I will just start the business? Do you happen to also have suggestions of the basic equipments to produce volumes of pie like the dough sheeter etc? Type of mixers should I get?

    I’m just doing pies at home but I’m making it into a business so I would like to get any suggestions if you have any.

    • stickofachef Says:

      Hi Phoemela,

      Nice to see that you are getting into the pie business. Producing 150-250 pies per day is an ambitious target that I am sure you will have no problem achieving if you set your mind to it.

      Knowing where you want to go to with regards to volume production, I would suggest you invest in a deck oven which can accommodate multiple 60cmx40cm trays. However, I do not know your kitchen space limitations nor your budgetary constraints so it will be difficult to make any sort of recommendation at all. You mention a dough sheeter but again, that will depend on your budget or space constraints since a sheeter will take up quite a bit of floor space in your pastry kitchen.

      Producing pies is quite straightforward with respect to equipment. In terms of basic appliances, you will simply need a large floor standing mixer, a deck oven, a good capacity freezer, a fridge, and a stove. A sheeter is a nice to have but not necessary if you are willing to use elbow grease to roll your pie dough with a good rolling pin. Of course, you’ll need the ancillary equipment like pie crust moulds, pots and pans and other tools to make the pie fillings.

      I hope this information will help you to kickstart your dessert pie business.

      Good luck!

  9. Tub Chair Says:

    kitchen appliances should be always cleaned after use to prevent the growth of microbes *-;

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