Just because the baking process is often referred to as a kill step doesn’t mean that bakers don’t take the sanitation of their ovens seriously

Bakers most often ask about the cleanability of ovens, said Charles Foran, chairman of C.H. Babb Co., Raynham, MA. Because of allergen recalls and increased inspections, bakers want ovens that can be thoroughly and easily sanitized, he added. C.H. Babb offers a clean-in-place system for its tunnel ovens, which feature fully welded, slanted floors.

Today, he estimated, up to 98% of the ovens the company builds are all-stainless-steel inside. “Ten years ago, this was unheard of,” Mr. Foran said. However, stainless steel’s washdown capabilities as well as the fact it reduces flash heat make it a preferred material for oven interiors.

Auto-Bake Pty., Hornsby, Australia, designs its Serpentine ovens to require only regular sanitation and routine preventive maintenance to ensure decades of continuous production, noted Amanda Hicks, co-CEO of the company, whose ovens are represented by Dunbar Systems, Lemont, IL, in the US.

The Kaak Group makes a washdown-interior oven. The main reason for this design feature, according to Ken Hagedorn, vice-president and partner at Naegele, Inc. Bakery Systems, Alsip, IL, which represents The Netherlands-based manufacturer in the US, is not so much food safety as it is the ability to reduce carbon build-up. “That will affect the heat profile of the oven,” he said. “You need to clean up the oven so you don’t have hot spots from carbon that has built up and may eventually catch on fire.”