When it comes to operating efficiency, bakers are taking a second look at their ovens, especially older systems that don’t have all the latest thermal options that have dramatically enhanced product uniformity over the past few years.

Controlling the heat source and delivery system is integral to improving oven bake consistency. 

Scott McCally, president of Auto-Bake Serpentine and Hinds-Bock, both Middleby Bakery companies, said a large turndown ratio, defined as the power output range between high and low fire, can respond more precisely to varying oven loads.

Likewise, an optimized fuel/air mix ratio minimizes wasted fuel and hazardous unburned gases while increasing burner transition speed and improving flame geometry between firing rates.

He added a high turndown ratio and a rapid air exchange heat delivery system within the oven chamber also allow the Auto-Bake Serpentine oven to bake a single pan of product or an entire oven load with the same settings.

“These systems perform equally regardless of demand capacity,” Mr. McCally said. “This means a consistent quality product with predictable operating cost impacts throughout production.”

For cookies, crackers and other baked goods, Thermatec panels provide uniform radiant heating distribution, ensuring a consistent bake throughout the process, noted Shawn Moye, vice president of sales, Reading Bakery Systems (RBS).

At this year’s interpack and iba shows in Germany, he said, RBS will feature its new High Energy Emithermic Cracker Oven. Based on the company’s original Emithermic Cookie Oven, the new oven uses Thermatec high-radiant heat panels to deliver indirect heat to products.

He noted it also relies on electric burners that apply the higher radiant heat required by crackers without the significant air current that would create a skin on the product and prevent proper moisture extraction, flavor and texture development. This oven is available with gas or all-electric heat options.

Xavier Gotti, ovens product manager, Mecatherm, pointed out that a quality bake requires managing the oven’s airflow, radiation and atmosphere conditions.

Along with these more precise controls, he added, Mecatherm ovens come with modulating burners that minimize transitory baking effects during production changes, which enables baking homogeneity.

This article is an excerpt from the February 2023 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Ovens, click here.