The Fresh Loaf

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My Rofco experience

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bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

My Rofco experience

Just got the new Rofco 10 on sale from pleasanthillgrain.com and wanted to share my experience and get some input.

The thing was very well packed and shipped without damage.  Got the new plug installed and ran it through a couple heating cycles, then tried some pizzas, and a couple tartine loaves (hydration for the total formula around 82%).  The first run was a pretty good one, I steamed using a Solo hand sprayer (nice--and can't justify taking up space with their steaming pans, at least not yet).

A couple observations:  First, the instructions tell you to let it warm for a couple hours, then put your loaves in and then turn the temp all the way down, using the stored heat in the stones after about 10 minutes, opening the vent in the door at the end.  This seemed to work pretty well, but I need to dial in that process and could use input from others on what they are doing (for the loaves below, I did 10 minutes at initial heat setting, 10 minutes turned down and another 10 minutes with the vent open).

I periodically tried to check the temp retention after turning the thermostat down and when I finished the bake, it would cycle on at a reading of about 360F...but when I used my IR thermometer on the stone, it was reading 430-450F.  I also ended up with burnt bottoms on my otherwise nicely baked loaves (starting with the thermostat set around 520F), so the thermostat seems to have some accuracy issues.  Dialing in the temps and baking process is what I need to work on.  I will start at a lower temp next time, and will do some checking of temps during the entire cycle to get a better idea of how this thing works.

Overall I'm pretty psyched.

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

here is the machine:

 

golgi70's picture
golgi70

How many loaves fit in yours at once?

josh

ps looks nice. I get your psyched

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

These two batards take up most of a stone each--thus two of these total, but I'm planning on being able to do 4 boules at a time, and will do 4 short baguettes at a time--but it is pretty tight (just under 12"x19" for each stone).  I would have loved to have gotten the B40, but then I'd need to get a bigger mixer, bake bigger batches to justify firing the thing up, and of course, spend a bunch more money on the oven.  This one fits my current baking pretty well, but it would be nice to have a few inches in each dimension.

To help make the most of the space, I did make my own peels out of some spare plywood I had - to fit the size of the stones.  Work well so far.

Again...love some advice on how best to get deeply colored loaves without burning the bottoms, venting, etc.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

For the bit of feedback.

I can assume the 40 would fit 10-12 loaves then which would be ideal fo rmyself.  I'd go from 4 waves of baking plus preheating time between to just 1 bake or maybe 2 with a much shorter reheat time between.  It's a bit of an investment but I'm gonna have to really consider this.  I also looked at the Haussler Ovens but haven't gotten seen any feedback on them yet.  

As for advice.  Well quite obviously I don't own the oven and it would take a bit of tweaking but I don't think I'd listen to the advice to shut the oven down and use retained heat.  There is no way that oven has enough retained heat for the type of bake we seek.  Might be a great way for baking Pumpernickel though.  I myself would utilize the steam tray or come up with a smaller version that took up less space but still I'd want steam in the oven. I'd load the loaves turn the oven down to 460 or so depending on the type of loaf and bake.  I'd check the bottoms when you are releasing the steam.  If it looks like they are gonna burn put them on a pan for the rest of bake to help protect.  Then the next bake I might decrease the preheat temp to 480 and try again.  Then just some tinkering should get you where you want to be.  If the oven is falling to 350 through the bake though the stone isn't and you were waiting for crust color which wasn't gonna happen quickly without higher temps and the bottom in turn got too dark because the stone stayed much hotter than the rest of the oven naturally.  

I look forward to more results/reviews as I am very interested.  

Hope my advice is helpful

Josh

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Thanks for the helpful thoughts - I do need to get baking sheets, in part to serve as a scorch preventer as you suggest. Foil might have to do in the meantime...

I think a full oven with a decent spray at the beginning might be sufficient steam. It isn't vented at all.  I ran across some discussions about alternatives, including spraying through the vent in the door, and piping in steam from tubing cut into the side.  The comments I've seen were generally positive on their steam trays, and they were back-ordered at pleasanthillgrain.com, so they are getting some use.

I will also have to take the temp of more spots in the oven with the IR gun throughout to get things dialed in - I'll report back on what I find, but in general I think we are on the same page - start with the oven and stones not quite so hot, but keep the oven set on desired back temp longer (or all the way through the bake).

I did take temps on the outside of the oven, and the top gets only slightly warm to the touch.  The left/right sides were around 120F

Apparently the B40 is rather popular, but those Haussler's look might nice too. Nice to have some options on this front...

30 Chickens's picture
30 Chickens

Would love to hear what you figure out as you use it more.

SCChris's picture
SCChris

It's an oven that I have interest in, it looks like it would fit into a small, dedicated baking studio.

Thank you

Sincerely

 

Chris

 

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Here are my notes from today's bake (a Tartine WW with ~ 95% hydration total, retarded final proof overnight):

-       set at 250C/482F, after about 1.75hrs pre-heat light went off; after over 2hrs stones were at 564F !!!

-       left door open and turned down to 200C/392F and let it settle for some time, when the thermostat finally cycled the heat on and then back off, checked stone temp: 500F (perfect)

-       sprayed before and after loading and turned thermostat down to 180C and it didn’t cycle back on until about 16 minutes into bake

-       2 loaves of tartine ww had been retarded in fridge overnight and went in after about 5 minutes on the counter – they continued to spring for over 15 minutes. I think they were a tad underproofed (only had 30 minutes after shaping before they went into fridge)

-       Opened vent at 17 minutes and a decent amount of steam was visible coming out and continued for over 10 minutes

-       Opened door to let out the rest of steam and check temp at 30 minutes and stone read around 450F (again, set at 180C/356F)

-       Took loaves out at 40 minutes and readings were a bit wacky – around 375F on top stone and 430F on bottom stone

-       Loaf on top stone looked great, no burned bottom

-       Loaf on bottom stone a bit darker with a tiny bit of scorching on bottom

Great texture and flavor on these loaves - crumb is from the butt end of the loaf on the bottom deck that got a bit less spring (pictured below on the right)...

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Nice looking loaves,  thanks for the update.  Surprised the stones got so far above the temp setting on the oven.

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

I'm assuming that is just the thermostat being off (quite a bit), and just needing to compensate.  But I'm certainly glad that the actual temp is well above what the thermostat setting is at, rather than the other way around - with an oven that won't get up to temp.  This things as heat in spades, I just need to know exactly how to compensate.

But then again, yes, unfortunate that it isn't accurate (according to my IR gun, which seems to be confirmed by my small baking data set).

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

I've been keeping up the baking, mostly doing Tartine WW at 92-95% hydration, along with some pizzas.

Thanks to the IR gun and practice, the temp control is getting worked out (200C setting ends up with stones at about 460F after 2hrs pre-heat).

I'm now mostly working on steaming and venting for the best spring, bloom, and crust.

I've been using a small Solo plant sprayer just before and after loading, and while the results are pretty good, I'm really not sure whether it could benefit from more (or less). Signs of too much steam?

After watching steam come out of the vent for over ten minutes when I opened it on one bake, I now just open the door briefly (a decent wave of steam comes out) and then close the door and open the vent for the last 10-15 minutes.  Because the crusts weren't always as crisp as I would like, I have also left to door open a crack for 5 minutes with the oven off at the end.

Any insights from others would certainly be appreciated...

leandro_fresh's picture
leandro_fresh

Hello! Thanks for the tips. My name is leandro, i am from spain. I am having lots of trouble with my oven rofco b5. And i would appreciate a little help from you guys rofco owners. Did you noticed temperature difference beetween left and right side of the oven/stone? My oven is a lot hotter in the left side, and i end up with half burned loaves... Would you please be able to mesure the temperature on the left, center and right of your stone and please tell me if you notice difference? Thank you very much...

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

I have not noticed a difference in the stone temps from side to side.  My loaves are quite evenly cooked on the bottom, and while there are some variations when I use my infrared gun to see how hot each deck is, those differences aren't that great.  I think you should contact the company or the vendor.

leandro_fresh's picture
leandro_fresh

thank you very much for the quick response! have you checked the difference from side to side with the ir gun too? I already contacted the company, but they are giving me a hard time... They don't believe that my oven is not working properly... they think it's my fault, but i don't think so, because the ir gun doesn't lie. And the results speak for themselves too. Look at the pictures, the triangle shape of the loaf, the right side rises more than the left side because of the extra heat on the left side de maillard reaction happens sooner... It's not a one time thing, its a pattern, the bottom it's shaded. I've been experiencing burnt stains on the left sides too...

 

 

bottom 

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Unfortunately, I can't use my IR gun on your oven, and my oven heats evenly.

How about taking pictures of the bottoms of your loaves and send them to the company.  Or get or borrow an IR gun.

leandro_fresh's picture
leandro_fresh

Already did. I have a lot of proof, the ir gun says there is a difference of 20-30o celsius 250 on the left side and 230 more or lees on the other side.... The problem is that they wont listen. They keep ignoring me and telling me nonsense stuff...

leandro_fresh's picture
leandro_fresh

hello guys! My oven is going back to belgium tomorrow. Let me show you more pictures of my problems with the oven. Let me know what do you guys think. I think the pictures speak from themselves. Flying butt, shaded crust butt, and too much heat on the left and the deep. 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Leandro, hopefully they can get it straightened out.  I don't have a Rofco, but have read about them.  Is there a bottom element in addition to the upper element.  I think there is only one temperature control, and if there is a bottom element as well, it is controlled by the same thermostat.  My guess is that you are having some problem with uneven heating from the upper element.  I would guess that the bottom stone is so thick, that even if you had an uneven heat source below it, the stone would even it out.  

leandro_fresh's picture
leandro_fresh

Thanks for your answer barryvabeach. I've been thinking about the matter lately. Maybe what's happening its not an excess of heating, maybe it is a matter of heat loss. Maybe what's happening is not about the heating elements, it could be a sealing problem. It is very possible, the oven has a steam vent on the right side... I think it could be a possibility... The oven will be in Rofco HQ on thursday... I'll keep you posted... My guess is the same thing that you told me...

MJ Sourdough's picture
MJ Sourdough

I am very interested in the Rofco b40. However, I am worried the plug/power adaptor. Where did you buy yours? did you change the plug? where do you plug it in? Sorry for all the questions, but I am in Canada and I do know anyone who has one.

30 Chickens's picture
30 Chickens

I have a Rofco B40 in the US. The plug is the same kind of plug that would be on a US electric dryer or range. Electricians are very familiar with installing them. You just need to make sure you get enough amps designated to that plug. The company I got the oven from sent a picture of the plug that I then gave to my electrician. Who are you going to get it from?

MJ Sourdough's picture
MJ Sourdough

I am thinking of buying one from the Pleasant Hill Grain (http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com). Where did you by yours from? If you don't mind me asking house much did it set you back in total with shipping and plug change? I think i need to ensure right AMPS like you said. How many AMPS is your outlet? Or is your entire house on higher AMPS? as you can tell I am not to versed which is making the decision much slower

 

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

MJ Sourdough, electricity is measured in Volts and Amps   most of the outlets in your house are 120 volts.  If you look in your panel box where the circuit breakers are you will see a bunch of levers that are labeled for the number of Amps  ( usually 15 amps or 20 Amps) and you will see a some that are paired together with a metal strip -  the paired ones are 240 volts circuit breakers  ( usually for an electric dryer, AC, and electric stove).   You will need a 240 volt line to use your Rofco B40 that is rated at least 15 Amps.  There is nothing wrong with using an outlet with higher Amps, your dryer outlet, if you have an electric dryer, will have enough amps.  If you don't have a spare 240 outlet, and it is extremely unlikely that you have a spare 240 outlet, you will need an electrician to run a new line for you, and he will match the outlet to the plug on the oven..  

TvE's picture
TvE

I recently purchased a Rofco B10 (two shelf model) and while I'm very happy with it in many ways the temperature controls seem to be deeply flawed. When I bake large boules they come out seemingly randomly from underbaked to almost completely black, even though the dough is the same and the temperature setting is the same. After a few disasters I put a thermocouple with a datalogger into the oven and attached the tip to the oven's temperature probe. The result was fine: the oven cycles in a 20F temperature band in a period of approx 10 minutes. But then I laid the thermocouple onto the stone and noticed that while I can see the same temperature cycling period on the stone, the stone's temperature increases by a few degrees with every cycle! I had set the temperature to 210C/410F and after an hour the stone was above 450F and looked like it was going to continue creeping up. So it appears that the oven is not at all stable and depending on how long I pre-heat I get an underbaked or black bread!? Has anyone else observed this too?

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

Both the thread and I believe the instructions advise giving it a couple hours to preheat (it will likely take close to an hour to for the the oven air temp up, then perhaps another to get the stones fully heated).

Heat stability (given time) is one of the virtues of this oven, in my experience, especially when compared to a conventional oven.

But the controls on mine are way off on their readings, but consistently so, so I've used a IR temp gun to map out those temps and chart them, so I know what to set it at, and how long it takes to get up to temp.

Keep at it and give it more time and you might have more luck.

30 Chickens's picture
30 Chickens

Hi everyone,

I am writing to find out how long it took the smell from your new oven to burn off? After following the directions did your oven still have a smell, or was it odorless?

 

Thanks,

Pearl

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

it did have a smell that was stronger for the first few times...when it gets fully heated up I still notice it very faintly

 

Not much different than the baking stones I've had

TvE's picture
TvE

I did a clear run this morning to measure the temperature creep. See attached image. I set the thermostat to 210C, which is 410F, but my thermocouple shows the oven cycling between 420F and 440F (my thermocouple may be off) so the green band represents this 420F-440F range. If I attach my thermocouple to the oven's temp probe so they measure the same thing you'd see that that temperature stays in the green band. For this run I placed my thermocouple in contact with the upper stone (B10 oven with 2 shelves) and the graph shows that as the green line. You can see that the stone reaches the 420-440F range in 45 minutes! After that in keeps creeping up and up and up as the oven cycles. The last peak shown is at 488F, which is 58F above the set-point. No wonder breads come out black or some of you recommend waiting forever. Basically even though the oven has reached temperature after 45 minutes I'm supposed to wait for at least another hour (and burn lots more energy) for the flawed temperature controls to settle at an incorrect higher temperature?

bikeprof's picture
bikeprof

"Basically even though the oven has reached temperature after 45 minutes I'm supposed to wait for at least another hour (and burn lots more energy) for the flawed temperature controls to settle at an incorrect higher temperature?"

That is one way to put it, yes.  

So I typically set the thermostat at 200C, which, after 2 hours, actually settles out around 500F (which it then sustains pretty well if I want to). 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Tye, sorry,  I don't see your graph, but another option is to set your oven 50 degrees lower for the 40 minute preheat, then turn it up in the 5 minutes before the loaf goes in so the air temp will increase, but the stone temp will not increase as quickly, and bake at that point before the stone keeps going up.  Also,  I don't have that oven, but would check the gaskets, and make sure the steam vent is closed.  It sounds like the oven thinks it is cooling off, so turns on the element ( which is hotter than 500 ) for a few minutes to heat up the oven, but since the element is close to the stone, it keeps heating the stone.  The other potential issue is that the sensor is too far away from the stone and the source of heat.  My recollection from reading the instructions is that they do suggest a very long preheat, and it may be designed to work like a brick oven - it would be fired up for a while, and then cooked the bread with the stored heat, in which case it may be operating as designed. 

TvE's picture
TvE

Oops, looks like my upload didn't work, lemme try again. The problem I'm having isn't so much what happens after the bread goes in, it's what happens beforehand. Basically the temperature of the oven stone depends more on the length of the preheat than on anything else. It just keeps creeping higher and higher beyond the set-point. And clearly the stone reaches the desired temperature after less than an hour, so any preheating beyond that is technically a waste of energy and time. The sensor is badly placed in my opinion: it's attached to the sidewall about 4" above the stone, so it looses temperature much faster than the stone, hence during each cycling the stone gets hotter and hotter. As a result, if I put a baguette into the oven it comes out anywhere from undercooked to burnt based on how much time the oven has preheated. Very unsatisfactory.

BTW, the thermostat was set to 210C, which is 410F. The green band is 420F-440F, which is intended to represent the target temp (that's where it settles if I attach it to the oven's temp probe). As you can see, the stone temp keeps going up and up and up. My temp probe is laying on top of the stone (which has a heating element under it). So as far as I can tell, the stone is fully heated through in under an hour, but if I put the bread in at that point a 5 minute difference in preheat time can make a 30 degree difference in stone temperature because the temperature controls haven't settled.

 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Tve,  I suggest you contact the manufacturer and ask for their assistance.  It is possible that the thermostat is not working properly, ( taking too long to cycle off once it hits target temp ) or you are missing some insulation, or have an air leak which is allowing the oven cavity to cool off too much, or something else.  If you are regularly getting undercooked or burnt products, there is something wrong.  If the manufacturer can't help, or it is out of warranty, the only suggestion I have is to see if you can relocate the sensor for the thermostat.  I have done it on a few ovens that were well out of warranty, and it can be pretty easy, or extremely difficult, depending on the oven.  If it is the classic capillary thermostat with sensor    you have to be very careful not to break the wire , but there is often slack in the wire that will let you change the location slightly.  

baliw2's picture
baliw2

is very expensive! You could put a stone in a small cadco for a few hundred bucks. Or maybe even a steel plate.

Your breads look nice but I'm not sure they taste any better than a much cheaper oven. This thing looks like an expensive toy. Plus you have the hassles you are dealing with. Don't want to rain on your parade but if it was me I would return this lemon and get something reliable. Unless, you like the project aspect more than baking bread. My 2 cents