It is difficult to imagine kitchen without a
stove. The stove top is known as the range. The oven is usually below the
range. There are a number of different variations on this standard
arrangement, however, just as there are a number of different range tops
and ovens available today.
Gas or electric ranges are available in many sizes
with various combinations of open burners, flat-tops (not to be confused
with griddle units), and ring-tops. Open burners and ring-tops supply
direct heat, which is easy to change and control. Small units known as
candy stoves or stockpot ranges have rings of gas jets that allow for
excellent heat control. Flat-tops provide indirect heat, which is more
even and less intense than direct heat. Foods that require long, slow
cooking, such as stocks, are more effectively cooked on a flat-top.
This is an individual grate-style burner that allows
for easy adjustment of heat.
This consists of a thick plate of cast-iron or steel
set over the heat source. Flat-tops give relatively even and consistent
heat but do not allow for quick adjustments of temperature.
This is a flat-top with concentric rings or plates
that can be removed to widen or close the opening, supplying more or
less direct heat.
Ovens cook foods by surrounding them with hot air, a
gentler and more even source of heat than the direct heat of a burner.
Many types of roasted and baked food are prepared in ovens. Delicate foods
such as custards are also cooked in an oven usually in a hot water bath
(bain-marie). Different ovens are available to suit a variety of needs,
and both the establishment's menu and its available space should be
evaluated before determining what type and size of oven to install.
Hot air is forced through fans to circulate around
the food, cooking it evenly and quickly. Some convection ovens have the
capacity to introduce moisture. They are available in gas or electric
models, in a range of sizes, with stainless steel interiors and exteriors,
and glass doors. Special features may include infrared and a
Conventional / Deck Ovens
The heat source is located on the bottom, underneath
the deck, or floor, of the oven. Heat is conducted through the deck to the
cavity. Conventional ovens can be located below a range top or as
individual shelves arranged one above another. The latter are known as
deck ovens, and the food is placed directly on the deck, instead of on a
wire rack. Deck ovens normally consist of two to four decks, though
single-deck models are available. Some deck ovens have a ceramic or
firebrick base. Deck ovens usually are gas or electric, although charcoal
and wood-burning units are also available. The basic deck oven is most
often used only for roasting, but several variations are available for
other purposes. Additional styles of ovens include pizza ovens, rotary
ovens for spit roasting, conveyor ovens, and rotating deck ovens.
Slow Cookers / Combi Stoves.
These stoves have been used extensively in Europe
and are becoming more common in this region. The stove cooks at low
temperatures and may also steam foods. It can be used for both cooking
foods and holding them at the correct service temperature, making them
desirable in a number of different instances (catering, banquets, large
scale operations, and so forth). Some versions of these stoves are capable
of smoking foods as well.
A true smoker will treat foods with smoke (after
they have been properly brined and cured, if necessary) and can be
operated at either cool smoking or hot smoking temperatures. Racks or
hooks are generally installed, allowing foods to hang so that the smoke
circulates evenly around the item.
Small home-style smokers can be used in some
operations if you will only be preparing a small volume of specialty
items, such as smoked trout or cheese.
Griddles and Grills
Two other oven / range features, the griddle and the
grill, are part of the traditional commercial food service setup.
Similar to a flat-top range top, a griddle has a
heat source located beneath a thick plate of metal, generally cast-iron or
steel. The food is cooked directly on this surface. A griddle may be gas
Grill / Broiler / Salamander
In a grill, the heat source is located below the
rack; in a broiler or salamander, the heat source is above. Some units
have adjustable racks, which allow the food to be raised or lowered to
control cooking speed. Most units are gas, although electric units with
ceramic "rocks" create a bed of coals, producing the effect of a charcoal
grill. Salamanders are small broilers, used primarily to finish or glaze