The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fan oven or no fan oven

Martyn's picture
Martyn

Fan oven or no fan oven

When I first started making bread a month ago I almost burnt the crust on my bread, the loaves seemed to cook far quicker than the recipes suggested. I have now realised that we have a very modern fan assisted oven so this would account for the rapid bake times. I have reduced the temparatures to compensate for the fan assistance, but have now discovered that I can turn off the fan (instruction books are wonderful things).

My question is this; is there any benefit to be had for baking bread in a fan assisted against a none fan assisted oven?

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What you have is a convection oven.  ' Lucky you'.  They are wonderful and also more expensive than a regular oven.  Be sure and read your directions and practice using your convection setting often for baking and roasting..it's easy and you'll soon adjust to baking.  You can bake items on 3 shelves and they all bake and brown nicely.  All convection oven brands usually work and give different results.  Learn to use it and you will see how evenly it browns and does cook things faster.  It's usually about 15 degrees hotter than when your oven is set on no fan or convection off.  I use mine for almost all baking though I have double ovens the top being the convection with the choice of non-convection cooking 'the fan will be off'.  The bottom oven is a regular oven and comes in handy if doing a big load of baking. 

Sylvia

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

My experience might be different from yours because I'm in UK.

The instructions I got with my oven said that I should bake (or cook) at 10 C less than the recipe said. That could be about 15 F, for some temperatures.. 

The point is that such ovens do get hotter than  other ovens and we must be aware of that and make allowances.

I bake bread at 10 C less than the recipes and it's fine.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I bake pan bread, boules, and batards with my oven's convection mode on with no problem.

However, when I baked baguettes I was having a problem that I couldn't diagnose.

I bake three baguettes at a time, arranged with their long axis parallel to the back of the oven, i.e. the longest oven dimension. The rearmost baguette always was a little mishapen. It might be slightly curled upward on both ends, or slightly thinner in the center of the loaf. When I was baking baguettes with 65-67% hydration I shrugged my shoulders and blamed the curl, or thinning on my shaping and slashing skills (or lack thereof).

Recently, I've been making 72% hydration baguettes whose dough is very extensible due to long (18 to 21 hours) retarded bulk fermentation ala Anis Bouabsa. The slight curl and slight thinning is gone, replaced by extraordinary oven spring beneath the end slashes, and practically no oven spring in the center of the rearmost baguette. Huh?

A light came on! The 8" convection fan in my seven-year-old oven is in the center of the oven's back wall, and blows directly onto my baking stone. The fan is blowing all the steam away from the center of the rearmost baguette, and drying out the loaf's skin in its center. Ergo, candidates for the ugliest loaf contest.

I baked a second group of three from the same dough batch with the oven's convection mode off. A hat trick: three nearly identical, reasonably shaped and sprung loaves.

I don't think the fan is effecting my sourdough loaves, but to be certain my next SD bake will be in the conventional oven mode.

David G.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

that I do like making bread in my fan assisted oven because I can load it with lots of loaves of any size and there are very few hot spots, they all bake evenly with no problems, I don't have to change their positions every tend minutes!

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Yes as stated above it is best to learn how your oven operates.  My oven switches modes and heating elements automatically depending on which mode is selected.  Baking, broil hi-low, convection baking, convection roasting, probe, proof, ect..there are coils below covered, above and there is a coil behind the fan.

Mary is right about your fan heating coil burning out faster if your fan is in the off position and the coil is still heating.

Sylvia