steam oven vs convection ovens for gluten free baking

Joined Jun 6, 2016
Hi there,

We are in the midst of opening a gluten free bakery and are trying to finalize our equipment list.  I've been told the Baxter rack ovens are top notch and used by large bakeries such as Panera and the like, and Doylon deck ovens have received some really great reviews and use steam too. However, we primarly use almond flour and coconut flours, so our recipes vary greatly from tradional baked goods, so I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience baking with almond flour and a steam oven.  I know with traditional baked goods, they provide more moisture and goods are softer, but our goods are already soft and moist.  Any input on what ovens you'd recommend would be greatly appreciated.  We are familiar with convection ovens and know we will need to rotate the sheets and try to avoid edges of pans.  Based on a few other listing on this site, we are considering Blodgett and South Bend ovens too but really need some help regarding how alternative flour based goods respond to a steam oven.  Sadly, they are just too expensive to experiment with or I would consider doing just that, not to mention the venting needs seem to be dramatically different for steam vs convection, so I have to figure this out very soon.  Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
Joined Feb 18, 2007
I don't have any personal experience with steam ovens; but if you are buying from a reputable dealer see if they can refer you to other clients who have the oven you're interested in and ask to test bake your product there to see how it works.  Or ask the manufacturer for a referral to a client.  It's unconventional to be sure, but can't hurt to ask.  If you are in an area with an incubator kitchen, see if they have the type of oven and would be willing to let you test there.
Joined May 5, 2010
I believe you are misunderstanding just what steam does to bread and baked goods.

The steam creates a crustier loaf of bread.

I understand your concerns with using non gluten products.

I would suggest you do some more research as this type of baking is fairly new, and I'm not sure if the technology is understood yet by the oven manufacturers.


Kitchen Dork
Joined Jun 15, 2006
I agree with what ChefRoss said. A steam oven's purpose is NOT to add moisture to a baked item. It's purpose is to help form a crustier loaf of bread. The steam is injected into the oven for only a very short period of time as well.....30 seconds or so. 

I haven't yet jumped on the gluten free train but I do know that of all gluten free items, bread is the hardest to do. Mostly because bread DEPENDS on gluten development for texture and structure. I have my doubts that a steam oven is even necessary for gluten free bread baking or what effect it would have on the product. It may even be a negative effect. Hopefully someone else here has been able to play around with it and can give you some advice. 

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