Stoves, Ranges and Ovens

Stoves, Ranges and Ovens

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.

 

Ranges

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.

 

Open-Burner Range

This is an individual grate-style burner that allows for easy adjustment of heat.

 

Flat-Top Range

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.

 

Ring-Top Range

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

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.

 

Convection Oven

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 convection-microwave combination.

 

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.

 

Smokers

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.

 

Griddle

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 or electric.

 

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 foods.

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