The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How to adjust upper heat and lower heat in gas oven?

  • Pin It
fay's picture
fay

How to adjust upper heat and lower heat in gas oven?

Hi Everyone


I just finished baking a Light Whole Wheat loaf from "Artizan bread in 5 minutes" and the result was not so good :-(


I have an automatic gas oven (gas oven controlled by electrical censor that will turn off the gas automatically once desired temperature is reached)


I have the oven lined with baking stone and i preheat the oven at 230'C (450'F) for 40 minutes before I put the loaf in.


I adjust BOTH the upper heat (flame) and lower heat at 230'C while preheating, and i also put a small oven thermometer inside the oven to double check the temperature. After around 20 mins of preheating and the small oven thermometer registered only 200'C, the censor turns off the gas.... I then assume that the censor is not accurate and then manually increase the oven temperature setting to 270'C. The censor then turned the gas back on and continue heating the oven until it reached the desirable 230'C as shown on a small oven thermometer.


I steamed the oven and put the bread in WITHOUT decreasing the temperature setting of both upper and lower flame. (now set at 270'C although the oven thermometer still registered only 230'C) I baked the loaf for 35 minutes until the internal temperature of the loaf is 200'F then take it out of the oven to find that the top of the loaf was burned!


My questions are...


1. Should I trust the built-in censors or the small oven thermometer that i put inside???


2. Was the upper heat (flame) was too high during baking?


3. Do you usually have to turn on the upper heat during baking, or it is only needed in pre-heating??? And if I turn the upper heat off during baking, can I achieve a beautiful colour crust?


4. I feel that the loaf was a bit doughy...although the internal temp is 200'C! What could I have done wrong???


Thank you everyone!


Fay


 


 

Ford's picture
Ford

Let me recap my understanding of your conditions.


You have an oven lined with baking stone.  I presume that means that the stone completely surrounds the the space in which you will be baking.  You adjust the gas heaters (outside of the baking space) to 230°C (446°F). and the interior of the baking space comes to 200°C (392°F) after 20 minutes of heating.  You then reset the gas heaters to 270°C (518°F).  You then immediately steamed the oven and put in the bread with the baking space reading 230°C while leaving the gas heating space set for 270°C.


Do you know what temperature the baking space eventially reached?  If not, I would guess it reached a temperature considerably higher that the 230°C.  Temperature settings on ovens can be off by a considerable amount, but I would guess not that much, maybe 10-15°C.  I suspect you did not let the baking space come to equilibrium with the heating space.  The baking stones would have a very poor heat conductivity and thus would take maybe an hour to come to equilibrium with the gas heated space.


Try again, and check the time it takes the baking space to come to equilibrium.  Graphing the temperature against the time will be helpful in understanding what is going on.  It might be useful to check the oven settings against the thermometer without the stone lining


Ford

alabubba's picture
alabubba

I would also add to make sure your thermometer is accurate, The "Round" or dial type are junk.


Get a decent bulb type (or 2) and try them. This is the model that I use and is the recommended by cooks illustrated.


Taylor Classic at Amazon

fay's picture
fay

This is how my oven thermometer look like...


I have used it to test my other electrical oven and it was quite reliable...


I'm not sure if my gas oven is too large for this thermometer to detect heat accurately...


IMG_4182.jpg

fay's picture
fay

"Do you know what temperature the baking space eventially reached?"


 I put the bread in when the small oven thermometer reads 230'C (it takes 40 mins pre-heating) and I keep checking the thermometer during baking time to make sure it remained 230'C and it did!


That's why I don't understand why the bread is burned...


And I just couldn't remove the baking stones as it comes in many pieces and was fitted at the bottom of my oven by the oven factory...


 


Thank you very much Ford for your help, if you have further suggestion I'll appreciate it :-)


Fay



Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Fay - I would trust a good oven thermometer rather than the censors on your oven. I have just been reading Andrew Whitley's Bread Matters (p.64) on this subject. Apparently the heat controls on most domestic ovens have a wide margin built in and can drop by as much as 30C before they reset themselves. For breadmaking this means that the temperature can yoyo during the bake. Heating a stone can help to redistribute and retain the heat but it is likely to take more than 40 minutes to accomplish that,


alabubba - thanks for the lead on the thermometer. The round ones are junk as you observed. I'm just about to chuck mine and get a new one.


Kind regards,  Daisy_A

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A,


If you are serious about oven temp, then buy one of those magnificent guismos with the infra-red beam.   They measure spots in your oven with pinpoint accuracy.


A bit to shell out, but you get what you pay for!   Totally invaluable on the Melmerby oven which was a single chamber holding 35 standard baking sheets!!!


Best wishes


Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Do you know that was my very next question to myself - whether to go for infrared, so thanks for the advice. I am sooo sick of my dial thermometer smoking over and then falling out of the oven. I would also like to test different areas in my oven as my guess is they differ quite a lot.


Liked the look of this one on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Silverline-633726-Infrared-Thermometer/dp/B000LFTEC4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=diy&qid=1275416123&sr=8-1


Single chamber with 35 sheets? That must have been some oven!


Best wishes,  Daisy_A

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Daisy_A,


5 baking trays deep @ 762mm = nearly 4 metres


7 baking trays wide @ 457mm = 3.2m wide.


Can you get your head round a peel with a 4m + handle on it?   We had to set all our bread like so.


Mind your backs [and butts] those bakers beavering on the bench!!!


What a beast!


Andy

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Sounds immense! I can't really get my head round it to be honest although it sounds spectacular.  Longing for a bit more space at the moment. It's stretching my oven to get one tray of croissants in - silpat was nearly in the gas flame :-C although it cooked them very evenly. I have to say the oven is fine for everything else we do. Am thinking a wood fired oven would be bigger, but that's a slippery slope...


Best wishes,   Daisy_A

fay's picture
fay

resizable required">


I got one of an infrared thermometer myself. But to be honest I don't really trust its accuracy... I used it to measure the internal temp. of my finished baked products and caramel in a pot but most of the time it only detect the temp of the SURFACE not the temp in the centre, which can differ vastly! 


I actually used a normal digital thermometer to insert inside the cake/ caramel pot to measure the centre temperature to compare with what I got from the infrared one and it's totally different...sometimes up to 20'C margin!


Also the distance between the infrared thermometer and the object affect the accuracy. I tried shooting the infrared ray at the caramel pot while standing 1 meter away, then shoot again while holding the pot 15 cm. away and the result is totally different...


 

ananda's picture
ananda

Can you go the other way round, Fay?


IE pre-heat your oven using predominantly bottom heat.   Then exercise greater control of the top heat when actually baking.


Remember that the stored heat in your oven stone, and any other masory you pack in will come from the bottom heat most effectively.....since the premise is "heat rises"


I'm writing in a bit of ignorance, as I don't bake in a domestic gas oven.   So I'm sorry if my advice isn't helpful to your particular circumstances.   I am familiar with the excess top heat however.   I'm trying to think of an effective way for you to build up retained heat for baking, and at the same time avoid excessive top heat which just burns your bread!


Best wishes


Andy

fay's picture
fay

Just to give you a clear idea of the type of my oven.


It's a 4 tray automatic gas oven with separate control on upper and lower heat.


 


IMG_4179.jpg


This is where I place a small oven thermometer to measure the heat inside the baking chamber.


IMG_4183.jpg


The bottom of oven is lined with baking stone completely. (no access to the lower fire from baking chamber)


IMG_4180.jpg


The upper fire however is exposed to the bread inside the chamber...And that's why I believe is the cause of burned loaf from the top.


IMG_4181.jpg


I am not sure I understand the function of top heat that well... Do we supposed to use it while baking or it's just for pre-heating? And if next time I turn it off during baking to avoid burning my bread, what do you think would happen? Would my bread still have a nice colour crust?


One more question I have, this oven does not come with a heat-ditributing fan so how can I make sure that the heat in different spots are even?


Thank you very much!


Fay


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hi Fay, your oven sounds very sophisticated, compared to mine.  What brand is it?


The only way I can get my gas oven to heat from the top is to use the broiler setting.  There's only one dial for the oven and I believe when broiling, the bottom element does not light.


I think Andy's advice is very good - preheat your oven using only the bottom element for around an hour.  You want to bake your bread, not broil it.  ;-)


If you think the temperature is off, check your manual to see if you can calibrate the oven. 

fay's picture
fay

Please see the picture of my oven in a reply to Andy above.


It's a custom-made oven from Thailand and I just got it delivered last week that's why I'm still struggling with it :-) I'm more used to an electric one at home and this is my first gas oven.


"I think Andy's advice is very good - preheat your oven using only the bottom element for around an hour.  You want to bake your bread, not broil it.  ;-)"


You mean I shouldn't use the upper heat at all while baking or even pre-heating? Is that what you do at home too?


 


 

fay's picture
fay

These are the pictures of burned loaves, at least on the top.


 


IMG_4184.jpg


Also this this the picture of an inside crumb...I'm not satisfied with it.


The air holes are not even and I find the texture of the loaf a bit doughy...:-(


Any suggestion anyone? Thank you very much!


IMG_4185.jpg

ananda's picture
ananda

Fay,


look at what Lindy says on this.   We call it grilling in the UK; I assume you call it broiling.


Surely you should be concentrating on bottom heat for your baking?


BW


Andy


ps good to see you're up and running with photos; very helpful

008cats's picture
008cats

Hiya - my oven is a piece of gas junk, but I have resolved burned crust/soggy crumb issues following this idea: Temperature affects the crust, Time affects the crumb. Once I got the right balance, both things worked out right (tho my final internal temp tends to be around 208C for sourdough)


Steaming will nurse your crust colour; and since heat constantly rises, I would heat from the bottom element and save the upper flame for broiling pizza (but then I don't have one to play with myself). You can also be ready with tents of tinfoil to suspend excess browning as you work the balance out.

fay's picture
fay

"Temperature affects the crust, Time affects the crumb"


Such a wise statement! I will remember this and try to find the balance for my oven! Thank you very much :-)

serenityhill's picture
serenityhill

Fay, you're completely right about using the top burner only to preheat.


I worked on home appliances (domestic) for a number of years.  With a gas oven at the time, only the lower burner came on to preheat.  This was because they didn't make gas ovens with upper burners.  In an electric oven, if the selector was on preheat both elements came on.  This decreased the preheat time and heated the whole space more evenly.  However, if you forgot to change the selector to bake, you were likely to get a burned top.


With the advent of gas upper oven burners, preheating with both burners improves preheating, but the upper burner should always be off to bake.  After seeing the pics of your oven, I understand that it was constructed with totally independent control of the upper burner, and I think it a good idea to preheat with both burners.  I also think that your owner manual should have done a better job of explaining all of this.  Other than preheating, the only purpose of the upper burner is for toasting or broiling.


I do know how to adjust certain oven thermostats, but in the intereat of not putting potentially dangerous information into unknown hands, I'll keep it to myself.  It's also possible that your thermo. construction is not familiar to me.


HTH


ps.  I'm currently baking my bread in the convection mode of a tabletop micro/convection oven, so I'm not trying anything artisan.  Presently, I'm just learning for future reference.


 


 

fay's picture
fay

Thank you so much for your reply!!


I really appreciate hearing from an expert in the filed :-)


From now on I will follow your advice & use the top burner only with pre-heating.


(the oven manual doesn't help me much to understand all this as it's only 2 pages long...) BTW I'm very tempted to play with the oven thermostats myself as the maximum temp my oven can go is only 250'C although I turn the temp control to 300'C for both burners...:-( 


Thanks again for your reply, it is very helpful :-)


Fay

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Serenityhill,


Thanks for your very clear explanation of how this type of gas oven works.   This makes perfect sense to me.


BW


Andy