We’ve reached a point where I think we need to switch from deck ovens to conveyor ovens. Our wait times on busy nights for pizza is about an hour. I’ve used deck ovens for 17 years so I am a bit nervous about switching but I feel it’s the best way to grow our business. So I was wondering, for those of you that have made the switch, are there any pitfalls I should be looking out for? I’ve never used conveyor ovens in the 26 years ive been making pizza. I know I’ll have to adjust our dough recipe, but other than that what should i be thinking about? Any help is appreciated
You will need to consider the baking platform you will need to use (pan, disk, or screen) if a disk is in your future you will also need to consider the airflow properties of the disk (all disks are NOT the same). Depending upon your product mix you might want to consider a split conveyor on one or more of the ovens. Anticipated production needs as well as the size of your pizzas will play a determining role in selecting the conveyor width and length. The height of your products may influence the entry/exit opening height. With any of the new generation air impingement ovens there is a high probability that you will not need to change your dough formula when changing from a deck oven. Depending upon your product mix some of your “other” products might need to be protected from the top airflow, if this is a problem it is easy to address by protecting the product with a sheet of heavy duty foil or in some extreme cased a lidded pan made specifically for these applications. If you like to see a little char on the bottom of the crust set the temperature to 500F or more, use a Hearth Bake Disk (made specifically for this application), eliminate sugar from the dough formula, and set the conveyor speed at 5-minutes to start with and adjust as needed from there. I would highly encourage you to schedule a visit to a manufacturer (there is one not too terribly far from you) to see these ovens in operation, maybe even make a few pizzas by your dough/dough formulation, and learn how to clean and maintain them (sadly, this is one aspect not addressed by some of the manufacturers…like, “Here’s your new oven, have a nice day”). Contact the different manufacturers, unless you already have one in mind, to discuss your specific needs and then go with the one that you feel most comfortable with. I’m on record as saying if you put all of the new generation air impingement ovens into a bag and shook it up I would be happy with the first one to fall out.
I wrote an article on this new generation of air impingement ovens some time back, if you search the PMQ archives under In Lehmann’s Terms you might be able to find it.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
“eliminate sugar from the dough” By Tom,
just curious Tom can you expand on reasons ?
Thanks as always for your expertise …
Sure, at those high temps you will need to eliminate sugar, milk or eggs from the dough formulation to prevent the crust from developing too much color. The design of the HBD is such that it will prevent the development of a “pizza bone” but still allow the intense heat to give a little char to the bottom where the larger size holes allow for full air impingement right onto the dough surface.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Tom said it all.
We have been converting operators from decks to conveyors from their first introduction.
We are dealers for Edge ovens. You will possibly need to make some ventilation changes to accommodate conveyor ovens.We can help you and provide drawings for the adjustments required.