Simply put, Daub makes ovens. The company pioneered thermal oil ovens which, according to research, save 30% on energy costs while producing quality end-products. At its Hamburg headquarters, which employs 85 people, the ovens are built before being exported to Britain and all over the world.

Around 12 large multi-deck and tunnel ovens are built per year, as well as smaller Thermo-Roll ovens as used by craft bakers such as Birds of Derby, a purely retail craft bakery with 39 shops in the East Midlands.

Daub’s mantra is "premium ovens for premium products". The company’s manager Jos Eijsink tells British Baker that he adds "built-to-last and trouble-free". But what are the advantages of thermal oil which is heated by gas or electricity to bring it to the required temperature? Eijsink explains: "The way of heating is by means of radiation. It is a soft heat, especially compared to convection ovens. Products do not dry out; instead, they have a high moisture content, which means the freshness of the product lasts longer. They are very good at crust-forming too it is thicker and crispier."

So what are the cost implications? Eijsink says that the ovens cost up to 25% more to buy, but they compensate for that figure as "the amount of heat stored in the oil is a lot more than can be stored in air". So while the initial cost is higher, Eijsink says, the energy cost per kilo is lower than for convection or other radiation ovens. "Our ovens are built to perform, built to last and built to be energy-efficient," he says.

The thermal oil is circulated from a high efficiency remote heat exchanger. This heats a radiator, which runs through the oven and maintains the temperature throughout its length.

The ovens are aimed both at craft and plant bakers and come in four models. The smaller model RGTO Thermo-Roll oven is a multi-deck, which also takes racks. Suitable for breads, morning goods and pastries, it is a traditional fixed stone-plate model for oven-bottom baking. It can come with an optional special loader either manual or automatic.

Energy recovery

Energy recovery means that once the oil is heated in the heat exchanger, it can also be connected to another system, such as a crate washer or hot water tank, or used to generate steam vapour. It is also good for reducing a company’s carbon footprint so, depending on where you live, grants may be available.

Daub has also looked at how to make investment more worthwhile for the baker and can supply a Daub biomass burner, where the flame is fed by wood pellets which, in turn, can include everything from dried bread to human waste.

The Backmeister model is purely a multi-deck thermal oil oven, where multiple units can be used by larger craft bakeries. The industrial Hanseat range of thermal oil ovens is a multi-deck tunnel oven range that can be either batch or continuous. Its special loading system means that heat cannot escape when products are being loaded. And the company makes a thermal oil tunnel oven range for large bakeries that require a continuous throughput.

While initial outlay is more, figures do seem to show savings in use for the thermal oil ovens. Other attributes can be summarised as quality end-products with an even bake and very good crust. But, with even more energy tax rises almost certainly around the corner following the next election, any ovens that help reduce a baker’s carbon footprint are likely to be a step in the right direction.