Setting ovens right
April 18, 2016
by Dan Malovany
Perhaps the most direct approach to baking involves long-run
operations, which — once the process is set correctly — can often result in
yields in the low- to mid-90th percentile on a good shift. Getting to that
point, however, requires careful planning and precision tuning, suggested Scott
McCally, product manager, thermal group, for Stewart Systems and Baker Thermal
Starting out on the right foot is always a good first step on a
high-volume line running a select number of items.
“If the product [being baked] is commissioned properly, the
careful iterative testing measures taken to develop the default baking
parameters for each recipe should only require change in special circumstances,
such as formulation, equipment and/or process issues upstream of the oven,” Mr.
McCally noted. “Under normal conditions, the oven should inherently produce the
ideal product characteristics without any adjustment necessary.”
In today’s increasingly diverse market, however, the new normal is
not 200 loaves a minute or 1,000 doz buns an hour. More often than not, even
larger conventional sliced sandwich bread bakers find themselves competing
against a gamut of premium, ethnic, wholesome and gluten-free options — and
that’s only in the bread aisle.
Such a moving target is especially challenging when it comes to
foodservice, where developing signature products for multiple customers
provides the port of entry to that market. At the oven, where “set it and
forget it” is the model for a consistent bake, multiple changeovers to achieve flexibility
can wreak havoc on efficiency during a given shift. To adapt to these new
realities, bakers are employing “smart scheduling” by combining the latest in
From a programmable perspective, recipe management at the
operators’ fingertips provides one tool for success. That’s especially true if such
menu-driven system controls can provide quick adjustments inside the oven to
control oven temperature in between product runs, according to Shawn Moye, vice-president of sales, Americas, Reading Bakery Systems.
“As soon as the last product enters the oven, we have an automatic
system throttle back the oven, reducing the overall baking profile,” he said.
“This helps the oven equilibrate before the next product enters it. By doing
this, we reduce product waste and get the oven back to its ideal product
profile as quickly as possible. The operators have access to all recipes at the
operator interface terminal so that with a touch of a button, they can set the
required number of burners, damper positions, oven exhaust, bake times, blowers
speeds and anything else directly related to the baking profile.”
determining factor requires pre-establishing optimal oven settings such as bake
time and airflow — especially in indirect-fired or cyclothermic ovens for each
product. “The oven will automatically adjust once the new recipe is selected to
minimize the changeover time in the oven,” said Charles Foran, chairman, Babbco Inc.