The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Countertop oven for bread making

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

Countertop oven for bread making

Does anybody have experience with baking bread in a countertop/ toaster oven?


We have to choose a smaller oven for my mum (she would replace her old Whirpool countertop oven - with microwave and convection), but I have no idea what is the minimal inside volume, so she can use it for baking bread. There are models from 26 - 40 litres (0.9-1.4 Cuft). Would it be possible to make a loaf from 500g flour or only smaller? What is the minimal inside hight so that the loaf has enough space to expand? And when baking in such a small oven with lower + upper heating is it still necessary to steam? How?


I am looking for a European mark (maybe German) but will be grateful for any hint!


Thanks


zdenka

Rodger's picture
Rodger

I covet the Rofco countertop bread oven , but they don't seem to be available in North America.  I know that Stan Ginsberg of NY Bakers was going to look into importing them, but I guess the obstacles were insurmountable.  Any news, Stan?

Chuck's picture
Chuck

I routinely make one very small loaf with 300 grams (or even sometimes only 250 grams) flour, and bake it on a typical baking stone in my typical big oven.


The only possible problem I've found is that with these small quantities, even a fairly small scale "margin of error" (for example plus or minus 10 grams) can lead to the dough hydration level wandering all over the place; recipes essentially become unrepeatable. So for such small quantities a good digital scale is mandatory.


If I were to use a smaller oven, for a torpedo shaped loaf I'd need at least 15" long x 6" across x 3" high (very roughly 40x15x10 centimeters). I've not yet made a boule shape, so I don't know what size that would turn out. As I would be scared of having a loaf blow out the top and stick to the heating element once in a while, I'd look for at least 5" (very roughly 15 entimeters) vertically from the top of the baking stone to the top of the oven for the torpedo shape (boule shape would of course require more vertical space).


Unfortunately I don't know how to convert these measurements to inside volume. My guess is 26-40 liters would do fine for one or two small loaves like this or even one more normal sized loaf  ...but the dimensions of the cavity might dictate loaf shape.


My guess is the oven itself would capture enough moisture to steam itself if you can temporarily turn the convection off. Vented convection will push the steam out of the oven cavity as fast as it's generated.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And it works like a charm.  Still have to spray the loaf for steam or pour a little on the bottom which is not a problem as the bottom has no seams and is contained over the coils.  It is not a microwave but combinations are out there for a price.


I just recently bought my 5th mini oven and it has everything I desire!  A dark bottom (improves even lower heating) enough room for a 1 kg loaf (if I want to) and comes with a baking tray (10 x 10,) a rack, and timer (1 hr) and switch are one so if you forget or fall asleep, the oven shuts off when the timer goes off.  The upper coils are exposed and wide apart.  The convection is gentle and can be turned on or off, upper heat (grill), lower heat, both upper & lower.  Preheats fast, 10 minutes maximum so I don't bother.  no inside light.


It is called a Silver Crest Grill und Backautomat SGB 1380 A1  Made in Germany.  I paid €30.  It is well insulated, double glass door, temp is 100°C to 230°C.  Volume is 15 litres.  European current 220-240 V~/ 50 Hz  1380 W


Also have a lot of experience baking in a variety of these little ovens.  I have one in Korea that is a steam convection (can also come with microwave) that does a great job with the exception that lower heat doesn't exist,  which I found improves with the addition of an empty black baking tray lying inverted on the bottom of the oven.  The light is a problem with high loaves hitting it and burning.


Mini oven

Koyae's picture
Koyae

You could also consider using a bread-machine.



I own a cheaper smallish one from Red Star, in which I've had some successes with sourdough french, wheat, and rye breads.



To avoid the hideous shape that the machine's vertical bread-pan imbues all types of bread with, I usually just remove the dough-paddle, and place a coffee-cup or tall mug upside-down in the bottom over the paddle's pin. Then, on top of the cup, I place an oiled or greased bowl and use that to bake. There's simply a "bake" setting available, but even without one, you'd have to just wait for the knead and rise -phases to (uselessly) finish before the baking action actually started.
My machine can generate enough heat to get internal bread-temp into the required 190°F-range.



The kneading ability works to keep your hands clean for some recipes, although I wouldn't recommend it for rye, or brandnew recipes/ratios that you're trying.
A bit back, I had an ideal round baguette come out. It's still on the agenda to make a post about.



If your city's anything like mine, there are tons of bread-machines floating around out there on craigslist and the like. Hopefully you can get ahold of one.

rhomp2002's picture
rhomp2002

I don't even have a regular oven at all.  I have 2 countertop ovens, a Hamilton Beach with rotisserie and a Breville Smart Oven.  They both have an oven rack size of about 12" x 12".  The Hamilton Beach has a height that will take a LaCloche and works very well.  has a top temperature of about 500F.  The Breville has a top temp of about 450F.  Both have a convection setting.  I got a baking stone that was just shy of 12" x 12" and it works just great.  


 


There is a problem with getting accesories.  All too many pans are either 8X10" or else some lenght x 13" or just too long to fit.  Rather maddening.   All the toaster oven pans seem to be 8" in one dimension and that is not enough for a lot of what I want to make.


In any case I have made all sorts of breads in these ovens.  Sometimes I will use both ovens to bake the breads at the same time and sometimes I will bake them consecutively.  Just depends on how I want to work it out.  My latest baking has been the Tartine Country Bread and it worked just fantastically.   I made them consecutively using the LaCloche and the bread came out with a crumb about like that which dmsnyder got when he made the Tartine bread.     The major limitation is the height of the inside of the Breville oven.  I cannot use the LaCloche in that one so when I use the Breville I tend to bake breads that I can bake on pizza stones and steam the ovens.  I do this usually by setting a pan with water in it about 15 minutes before I am ready to bake.  Then I spray the sides of the oven and start the baking.  About half way through the process I take the pan with water out.   Works wekk for me.


 


Good luck with your countertop oven.  Mine work well and I also hear the Cuisinart is also a good one.  For my taste the Hamilton Beach, which is not quite so well sealed, is the winner because of the internal height.  It is more flexible and usable than the others are.  It is also cheaper.  I have been suing mine now for almost 5 years and I got it refurbished for less than $50.  Brand new I think it runs about $80-90.   I hav ehad no problem with it at all.  The Breville is a much better built oven but does not have the height inside that would let me use my LaCloche which is why I like the Hamilton Beach better.  It is really a very well built appliance and works very well.


 

msgenie516's picture
msgenie516

Hi,


I've never used it for bread but I also have the Breville Smart Oven and I love it!  I have found "certain" 9" by 13" pans will fit in it.  It has to be a pan with straight sides, not tapered or it won't fit.  I had a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath & Beyond and got it for about $200.00.  Enjoy your ovens!  Genie

JudyAlberts's picture
JudyAlberts

I use the Smart Oven and I absolutely love it! The model I use is the Breville BOV800XL which I've found to be excellent for baking. I think I use it even more than my big oven - LOL! :)

Leolady's picture
Leolady

That work great for everyday baking and dehydrating.  But since I don't know anything about bread baking, I hesitate to recommend them for bread.