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Deck Oven Bake in a Conveyor OvenJune 28, 2007

A new technology for the "quality-conscious"

 It is easy to see why people love pizza cooked in a deck oven; that crispy crust is simply out of this world!  We don’t mind waiting the extra 15 minutes it takes to bake.  We like to watch the experienced hands of the pizza guy as he turns the pie every so often to get just the right amount of heat on each side.  If we ask, he’ll gladly give us a story of each and every oven burn mark on his arm or point out the hot and cold spots within each oven.

 If you are the pizza operator, the bottom line is simple: I use a deck oven because I want the quality that conveyors can’t provide and that’s what keeps the customer coming back.  The trade-offs are well documented.  Deck ovens produce a great bake, but here are just a few of the disadvantages:

  • Deck ovens require constant, skilled attention while baking
  • Deck ovens take as much as an hour and half to heat up
  • The busier the rush, the slower the deck oven will bake
  • Product quality is difficult to maintain when expanding to new stores
  • Vacations for the operator? Forget about it!

 All these problems are worth dealing with because nothing bakes as good as a deck oven.  But is that still true?  Lincoln Foodservice Products is challenging the old adage with their new award winning technology called Fastbake

 “FastBake ovens using a hearth bake disc will produce a result that is just as good as a deck oven bake,” claims Ben Gregory, Product Manager for Large Ovens at Lincoln Foodservice Products.  “Our technology was originally designed to improve the time it takes to bake pizza, but we soon discovered that it improved the quality even more than the speed.”

 FastBake technology was created after several years of analyzing the way products cook under different thermal and air patterns.  The result was a patented new air delivery system that is up to 40% more efficient than a standard conveyor oven.  This efficiency in bake transfers into a faster bake time.  “But more importantly, it means we can produce a crispier crust that is just as good as a deck oven bake,” says Chef Garamy Whitmore, National Account Manager at Lincoln.

 And critics agree.  Tom Lehmann, the Dough Doctor of the American Institute of Baking, had an opportunity to see FastBake technology first hand and was impressed (see his article).  “With this new baking profile we never once saw even a hint of a gum line,” said Lehmann, “and that seven topping pizza even had a nice dry appearance on the top rather than a “swampy” (wet) appearance that is so common when short baking times are employed.” While using the hearth bake pan created by Lloyd Industries at the Pizza and Ice Cream Show earlier this year, Lehmann stated that Lincoln had finally achieved a deck oven bake in a conveyor oven.

 “We know that many people will find it hard to believe,” says Gregory.  “So we have made it our goal to begin showing people the difference.” During the Pizza Expo show in Las Vegas, Lincoln used two Impingers, one with its standard setup and one with FastBake technology, to show the difference that FastBake makes.  “We are now expanding our program to offer demonstrations to any deck oven user that wants to see first hand whether or not we can produce a deck oven bake on a conveyor oven.  We are even giving away a free rocker knife and hearthbake pan just for seeing the demo.”  Free demonstrations can be arranged by contacting your local Lincoln representative or sending an email to Lincoln.

 “You definitely have to see it to believe it,” says Chef Whitmore.  And if FastBake™ delivers as promised, there may soon be a lot happier pizza operators with fewer burn marks.

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