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Commercial Ovens and Cooking Guide

Convection Ovens

Convection ovens force heated air, via fans located on the rear oven wall, over and around the food racks. This provides more even cooking speed, better heat efficiency, and a better product--cooked more evenly and thoroughly. Oven temperature settings can be reduced from 25% to 75%. These ovens also accept heavier work loads for greater business volume.

Selection Guide - Convection Ovens
Meals Served
50 to 1001 - ½ size convection oven
100 to 4001 - full convection oven
400 to 7501 - double convection oven
750 up1 - double convection oven, plus 1 single convection oven

From 750 meals up, consideration should be given to mobile roll-in or drive-in style ovens.

Meat roasting capacity is doubled in convection ovens; casserole capacity is more than doubled; baking capacity is doubled, tripled and in some cases five times greater than in conventional ovens.

Using convection ovens instead of conventional ovens reduces energy requirements per pound cooked and at the same time increases production capabilities. Energy savings are especially dramatic when new reduced input convection ovens are compared with conventional ovens.

Microwave Ovens / Why Buy a Commercial Microwave?

Commercial Microwave Ovens:

  • Are more durably built and easier to operate
  • Are built with heavy duty power cords, commercial quality relays and overload switches
  • They can withstand heat and humidity build-up in your kitchen
  • They are UL and NSF approved
  • County health inspectors and Fire insurance policies require commercially approved microwave ovens.

When using the microwave:

  • Do not cook eggs in the shell. Do not reheat cooked eggs unless they are scrambled or chopped. Puncture the yolk before cooking eggs.
  • Do not heat oil or fat for deep frying.
  • Pierce the "skin" before cooking potatoes, whole squash, apples or any fruit or vegetable which has a skin covering.
  • Casseroles and sauced items should be heated in straight sided containers.
  • Plastic, foam and paper plates should not be used when heating high fat or sugar foods such as barbecue as the heat from the fat and sugar may distort the plate.
  • Most foods heat better if they are covered. Covering retains the heat that has been created, reduces dehydration and helps keep the oven clean. There should be an opening for steam to escape from the food.

Convection Microwave Ovens

Combining cooking technologies, when applied appropriately, will result in high quality food products, reduced cook times and reduced steps in preparation. Convection and microwave cooking have both proven themselves as stand alone technologies. However, when both are used simultaneously, the operator produces food in a reduced time frame that has a better appearance.

Steam Cooking

How Steam Cooking Works

Steam is an extremely efficient heat transfer medium. It carries a great deal of energy which readily transfers directly to food (in steamers) or indirectly through a heat transfer surface (such as a kettle wall) and then into food. Steam is water (a liquid) that has been converted to its gaseous state by the application of heat energy. Heat energy typically is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The BTU is defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit at sea level. It takes only 180 BTUs to raise the temperature of one pound of water from 32°F (0°C) to 212°F (100°C), the point at which it starts to boil. However, to evaporate that same pound of boiling water into steam requires 970 BTUs. As a result, steam carries many times the energy of boiling water. Steam readily gives up that energy load when it condenses back into water (condensate) upon contact with the food.

Water and Steam

Always consider water treatment for steam equipment. Many service problems can be eliminated by purer water. Most steam cookers are operational on direct steam. When connected in this manner, a steam separator should be used to separate the steam from the condensed water. It is also best to install a steam pressure gauge on the incoming steam line before the final steamer connection.

Electric, Gas and Steam

Broilers15 - 20 minutes
FryersAverage 6 minutes
Grillsto 325°F 5 - 8 minutes
Tilt Fry Pan10 minutes
Steam Kettle10 - 15 minutes
Compartment Steamer10 - 15 minutes
Range20 minutes
Deck40 minutes average deck
Convection9 - 10 minutes
Hot Top50 minutes
French Top30 minutes
Open Burners5 minutes

Deck Ovens vs. Conveyor Ovens

A deck oven lends itself to a wider variety of menu items. They are simply designed and usually require less servicing. The deck oven does require a higher skill level to operate. Conveyor ovens reduce bake times and out-produce deck ovens due to the dynamic of forced air. They also offer increased consistency. Because no tending is necessary, conveyor ovens can be used by lesser skilled employees.

Pizza Ovens

The most important piece of equipment in any pizza operation is the oven. Pizza ovens deliver high heat, rapid temperature recovery and a high production environment. These "specialty" ovens range in size from countertop to large, multi-level floor models. The oven is an expensive investment, and selecting the proper one is crucial.
Some things to consider when selecting the right pizza oven for your operation:
How big a footprint is available for an oven?
What is the volume production necessary during the busiest shift?
What is the budget for equipment purchases?
Will more than one oven be needed, or is the unit stackable?
What is the skill level of the operator?
What is the available power source?
Will a ventilation system be required?

Tilting Skillets

If you are batch cooking pan fried, sautéed, or sauced products, a tilting skillet is an economical solution to your kitchen needs. If you are boiling or preparing large amounts of sauces in addition to the sautéed and pan fried products, your tilting skillet(s) could possibly replace your steam kettle or range stock pot. Tilting skillets can handle up to 40 gallons of sauces, stocks or soups.


The life of the frying oil can be indefinitely prolonged by filtering the fat twice every day (or at the end of every shift) and then adding 10% new oil which is enough to rejuvenate the original oil. If less than 10% of the oil was absorbed by the fried products, dip out enough to permit the addition of the 10% new oil. The oil removed can be used on the griddle or for other cooking needs. For example, for a 35 lb. fryer, 3.5 lbs. of fresh oil must be added. With this method, high annual savings in fat costs can be realized.

French Fries - Temp 350°F
SizeDesired ConditionFry Time
1/4 cutRaw to done5 minutes
1/4 cutBlanched2½ minutes
3/8 cutRaw to done6 minutes
3/8 cutBlanched3 minutes

Keep your oil at the proper temperature. (Around 340°F). Oil will breakdown at double the rate for every 10 degrees over 350°F. Keep your oil free of any contaminants such as:
Water--never load frozen foods over the frypot.
Soap--clean, rinse and dry the pot extremely well.
Salt--never salt your food over the oil.
Food Particles--filter in a consistent manner.
Air & Light--keep frypots covered when not in use.

If you fry breaded, watery or battered products in large quantities, you will need to filter more often. Remember to rinse well. Soap residue is the number one enemy of cooking fat as it accelerates cooking fat breakdown.

According to several master fry chefs, water is one of the major causes of rapid breakdown of cooking oil. Ideally, if a balance can be maintained between the frying of dry items (such as breaded products) and wet items (such as French fries) the life of the cooking oil can be considerably extended. When this is not possible, and most or all of the fried items are wet, several slices of dried bread can be nested between the twin baskets periodically, and "fried" to absorb the water which has been added by the wet products.