With growing consumer demand for food-to-go options across the day, oven suppliers offer suggestions on the best combinations to maximise bakery sales.

Consumers expect a lot from today’s retail bakeries, including a food-to-go offer that kicks off at 7am with bacon sarnies and runs through to an early evening pizza.

“As a nation we have become accustomed to grabbing bites to eat throughout the day,” says Steve Morris, sales director at Jestic Foodservice Equipment. “With so many food-on-the-go options on our high streets, retail bakery operations need a dawn till dusk food offering that stands out from the competition.”

Key to this is a bakery oven with flexibility and functionality to produce a range of fresh goods throughout the day and at peak service times. It is important to get the size right, advises Morris.

“Too small an oven can hamper service, restricting production and potentially resulting in missed sales opportunities. Too large will take up vital space and reduce the performance of the kitchen.”

Many suppliers suggest the best tool for such a varied job is a convection or combi oven, which combines convection and steam cooking technology.

“A convection oven can easily ‘cook’ as well as bake, so alongside morning goods and pastries it can be used for bacon and sandwich meats etc,” says Ann Wells, group marketing director at Brook Food.

Combi ovens can mimic a range of different cooking climates by balancing dry heat and steaming, explains Simon Lohse, managing director at Rational UK.

Accessories such as smokers and grill plates are adding more versatility to combi ovens, states Certa Catering Equipment, which distributes the Eloma range.

“These features reduce the need for numerous single-purpose machines,” says Certa director Dan Loria. “These accessories can add real value to a combi: they allow the operator to broaden the menu and serve dishes that offer a real point of difference.”

While convection and combi ovens are the first choice of many suppliers, Wells suggests a small deck oven can offer flexibility, but requires more skill to operate.

“Deck ovens are also versatile, although do take up a little more space and electrical consumption,” she explains. “Consider what your focuses are; if it’s bread, then go for a deck oven, but if it genuinely is an oven that can do everything well enough, then convection can do this.”

Meanwhile, Mono recommends bakers wanting flexibility opt for its Deck and Convection Oven Artisan Baking System, which consists of a deck oven with a BX Convection Oven. Many modern ovens offer a self-clean function, and Mono says its BX Eco-Wash systems provides “the perfect peace-of-mind solution” to cross-contamination of food, tastes and smells.

“Our self-wash oven has been specially designed to provide a complete baking and self-cleaning solution, which quickly and easily removes all odours and food residues from the oven chamber,” says Mono UK sales director Chris Huish.
Rational, meanwhile, has developed an advanced self-cleaning feature for its Self Cooking Center (SCC) combi ovens.

“The SCC’s Efficient CareControl cleans more effectively and hygienically than a manual clean,” says Lohse. “CareControl determines the most efficient cleaning level and will recommend the right amount of cleaning chemicals to staff – this minimises the use of chemicals, while ensuring the oven is hygienically clean.”

Such advances will help to ensure that, while there is little chance of the demands on bakers cooling off, one source of heat bakery businesses won’t have to worry about is their oven.

Jacks-of-all-trades: examples of bakery ovens suitable for food-to-go

From left to right:

Eloma Genius MT Backmaster

Supplier: Certa

This combi has a graphical user interface that overcomes language difficulties and makes it simple to operate, according to UK distributor Certa. It also features electric door opening that ensures the cooking process stops once the baking programme has finished, as well as customisable programmes suitable for operators ranging from an in-store bakery to an independent retailer. Eloma ovens have data management software that can enable the user to manage their combi steamers wirelessly.

Sveba-Dahlen Flexismart

Supplier: Jestic

Flexismart is a compact all-in-one oven and bakery station, combining a prover, deck oven and mini rack oven, making it adaptable for baking a wide variety of products, including stone-baked breads, pizza, pastries and savouries. It is available in six different combinations of rack ovens, deck ovens and provers to offer an adaptable solution for retail bakery operations. Flexismart includes Sveba-Dahlen’s patented Increased Baking Surface technology that uses alternating rotation on a predefined programme to provide a quicker, more even and energy-efficient bake.

Convotherm 4 Bake

Supplier: Welbilt

The Convotherm 4 Bake is suitable for creating popular grab-and-go toppings and fillings such as bacon rashers, roast chicken, halloumi and pulled jackfruit, according to supplier Welbilt. Operators can mix their baked products using Convotherm’s TrayView display, which shows how long individual shelves need to remain in the cooking chamber, automatically recalculating timings according to factors such as the opening of the Bake’s door. Welbilt describes the Convotherm 4 Bake as perfect for bakers looking to introduce or expand their food-to-go while maintaining excellent baking standards.

Rational Self Cooking Center XS

Supplier: Rational

The Self Cooking Center (SCC)XS combi offers the same functionality and performance as larger models, says Rational. It has a compact footprint, measuring 555mm x 655mm x 567mm, but is capable of holding six 2/3 pans. Its automated baking and cooking processes mean even unskilled staff can get perfect results every time, according to the supplier. The SCC can be set up to show as much or as little information required, explains Rational, adding that pictorial controls can be used to overcome any language barriers for all cooking processes.