Well-controlled airflow helps create a uniform baking temperature throughout the baking temperature.

The good kind of humidity

Steam and humidity are other important components in the oven that need to be addressed to ensure ­proper baking. Keeping dough pieces moist in the oven helps them retain elasticity and develop into the desired shape at the end of the baking time.

In the case of bread and rolls, humidity helps the dough pieces not only maintain shape but also form the appropriate gloss on the crust. Even in cookie and cracker ovens, humidity has a part to play. For cookies, a lack of humidity leads to inconsistent moisture levels in the finished product. Without humidity, crackers can’t rise properly and blisters will form on the product’s surface. Humidity is critical to a proper bake and requires fans and dampers to control.

The challenge here is uniformity in the humidity levels and steam being added to the system. AMF’s Bake By Humidity mode of burner control reduces exhaust flow to ensure uniform moisture control. “By controlling moisture loss, product yields are higher, and shelf life can be extended,” Mr. Kauffman said.

In Heuft thermal oil systems, the moisture distribution is consistent throughout the product, according to Mr. Bloom. This enables bakers to achieve a delicate, crust that stays crisp longer. “You have a longer shelf life, and you have a more open structure because you have greater oven spring,” he said.

Humidity often comes from the product itself as moisture is extracted during baking. The challenge here is delivering actual steam vapor into the baking chamber and not just water. “When you start a shift, the pipes are full of water so when you turn it on, the steam will want to condense in the oven,” Dr. Nikel said. The steam system on the J4 oven features an automated valve that will not allow injecting the steam until the oven comes to the correct temperature. “It’s not rocket science,” he said. “It’s a very down-to-earth piece of technology that adds value because it simply works.”

Gemini’s indirect-fired tunnel ovens include a steaming system with stainless steel steam zone and pipes. The system delivers steam uniformly to both sides of the oven, and operators can adjust the quantity and flow. “Steam is delivered directly to the product for minimal waste and optimal results,” Mr. Johnson said.

The company’s rack ovens also have a cascade steam system that features steel balls in stainless-steel housing. “Steel balls have a greater surface area to generate steam quickly,” Mr. Johnson explained. “This allows for a quick saturated high amount of steam production with fast recovery.”

With steam and humidity at their fingertips, bakers can exert more control over the dough as it transforms into a finished baked good with the desired bake characteristics.

Continue reading to see how all of these parts come together to form a perfect baking profile.