What is a convection oven?
A convection uses a fan and exhaust process, unlike a conventional oven. Hot air is blown over and around food in the chamber, then pulled out through vents. In the same way that a chilly breeze makes you feel colder quicker, this hot air circulation will speed up cooking times with more even cooking than traditional cookers, which heat up more at the top.
Commercial convection ovens are suitable for any commercial catering premises, but they are best used for browning, roasting, baking pies and pastries, and toasting. The drier environment will give you crispy skin, and caramelised edges to make your dishes look as good as they’ll taste, making them a particularly popular choice for those serving carveries.
The advantages of a convection oven
Speed up the service
Thanks to their shorter cooking times (cooking around 25% faster than traditional ovens), convection ovens don’t tend to dry food out as much as conventional ovens might – and nutritional value shrinks less as a result too.
Meats in particular will have less chance to shrink and dry out, meaning that customers will not only get the portion they paid for, but chefs won’t have to ‘over-slice’ to compensate for shrinkage, and eat into your profit margins.
Enjoy a delicious helping of consistency
In conventional ovens, the heat will rise to the top of the cavity, which can lead to burning (and often undercooking the middle or the base) of foods like puddings and pastries. Using convection hot air circulation, you can be sure that everything in the chamber will be evenly cooked, reducing wastage while ensuring every resident or customer is served the same high standard of food every mealtime.
With even fan-assisted convection baking, there’ll be no more burnt biscuits on the top shelf while the bottom shelf batch stays soft and dough-y.
Chop your energy bills by up to 20% per month*
Cooking more food in a shorter time– around 25% faster than traditional ovens – will help reduce your business’s gas or electricity usage. Thanks to their optimum airflow, convection ovens require less heat than you might need in a different type of cooker too, which makes them an extremely efficient choice for the planet as well as your bottom line.
*Source: Study by the US Department of Energy – comparison with a standard oven
Slice waiting times for residents or customers
Commercial convection ovens are, by their nature, much more powerful than their domestic ‘home kitchen’ cousins – designed to cook faster and help you send more meals through your pass to maximise revenue, without compromising on quality. With shorter waiting times, this type of oven has a direct impact on customer satisfaction – as well as those all-important reviews if you’re running a hotel or restaurant kitchen.
Best for browning: because hot air passes over the top of your food, it turns roasts and bakes a toasty brown in less time than different types of oven might.
Don’t shell out for shrinkage
With shorter cooking times, convection ovens prevent drying-out – and therefore minimise shrinkage of foods that contain moisture. This also means that nutrients and flavours stay ‘locked in’ to keep the quality of your dishes high.
Meats in particular have less chance to shrink and dry-out, so you won’t have to ‘over-slice’ to compensate for shrinkage and eat into your margins. Customers get the portion they pay for, and residents get the catering service they want too.
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Commercial Convection Oven FAQs
Unlike a conventional oven, a convection oven uses a fan and exhaust process. Hot air is blown over and around food in the chamber, then pulled out through vents. This hot air circulation will speed up cooking times while delivering more even cooking than traditional cookers, which tend to get hotter at the top.
Commercial convection ovens are suitable for any professional catering premises, but they are best used for browning, roasting, baking pies and pastries, and toasting. The drier environment will give you crispy skin and caramelised edges to make your dishes look as good as they taste – making them a particularly popular choice for those serving carveries.
Yes, a commercial convection oven cooks faster thanks to a built-in fan at the back of its chamber, which circulates the hot air inside. As a result, it provides quicker, more evenly spread heating than a conventional oven would, which in turn reduces overall cooking time and produces great results at the end of each and every use.
While some baking is possible in a commercial convection oven, it isn’t always the best option. That’s because of the fast-working nature of these fan-assisted ovens, which can mean that the likes of a cake can be cooked on the outside before the inside has had a chance to warm through.
The required moisture retention of baking is hard to accomplish in a convection oven, and fan-assisted cookers can sometimes change the texture of food, leaving quick bread, cake and sponges better suited to different types of commercial ovens – particularly for businesses where consistency is needed bake after bake.
In traditional ovens, heat rises from bottom to top meaning that temperatures can vary depending on where you place your food – resulting in both burned and undercooked meals depending on shelf placement. Commercial convection ovens, on the other hand, use fans to help distribute heat evenly throughout the oven chamber, helping to cook food evenly at a consistent pace.
Yes, many professional chefs use a commercial convection oven in their kitchen, but may not necessarily use it across everything on the menu. Commercial convection ovens are particularly useful for cooking food fast and evenly, and because of this ability to cook in a shorter time – around 25% faster than traditional ovens in fact – this can be beneficial in reducing the gas or electricity consumption of a professional kitchen and speeding up service times.
Commercial convection ovens are, by their nature, far more powerful than their domestic counterparts but finding the right one for your business can be down to what you’ll be cooking, the oven capacity required, and the location you have available for its placement. Many professional chefs in busy restaurants, for example, choose a convection oven as complementary to a range oven, so choosing a compact model which can meet the demands of your output as well as being accessible to your workstation is a key consideration.
When it comes to power sources, many commercial fan ovens are powered by a simple 13A plug, making them a top choice of mobile caterers, whereas other models may require hardwiring.
When it comes to finding a professional convection oven for your commercial kitchen, there are several things you need to consider, including:
- Durability: Has the oven been manufactured to a high standard and what is your required lifespan? A quality commercial convection oven built to a good standard should last ten years or more with continuous use and regular servicing.
- Size: The size of your premises and the space you have available for a convection oven will ultimately dictate the appliance you choose.
- Choose whether you want gas or electric: Commercial convection ovens come in both gas-powered and electrical variants, so choose the appliance that best matches your requirements and kitchen infrastructure.
- Warranty and ongoing maintenance care: Look for a convection oven with a servicing package included. For example, all JLA commercial convection ovens are available with Total Care, which guarantees all servicing and maintenance for the lifespan of the equipment.