The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Multifunction oven??

Bazza123's picture

Multifunction oven??

I have a new modern style "multi-function" oven - which can be operated in many ways. It has elements on the bottom, the top, the rear of the oven and these can all be operated either individually or in conjunction with one another. It also has an internal fan which can be run or not. It also has a Grill element at the top.


I am wondering which mode the oven should be operated in when baking bread. The traditional "baking" setting runs the bottom and top elements . The fan assisted mode supposedly stops "hotspots" from forming inside- but I could see perhaps that it may dry out a dough surface.


Any thoughts please??





Chuck's picture

Wow, you have a lot more control than many folks. For baking bread, you have more than one good option; it's probably worth experimenting to find what works best for you.

The "traditional baking" setting (probably bottom element on full, top element on half) will work just fine for bread.

Adding the third element and the fan (and at least reducing the bottom to half and perhaps even both top and bottom to a quarter or clear off) makes it what's called a "convection oven" (that's the term it's known by, even though the term is probably not quite accurate). Hopefully there's a pre-set for "convection oven" just like there is for "traditional baking". Such ovens tend to be smaller, use less power, arguably a little faster, and bake more evenly. They can also be used to bake bread. Depending on how yours works, you may need to turn down the temperature 25F or so from the setting you'd use otherwise.

The most common problems with using convection ovens for bread are a) they clear steam out of the oven cavity too fast and b) over-drying loaves is an issue for the first ten or fifteen minutes. There are quite a variety of possible solutions, including steaming just the bread rather than the whole oven; find one that works well for you. Drying is something you do want to do for most of the bake, as it's easier to produce crackly, singing crusts; you just don't want to over-dry during the first ten or fifteen minutes of the bake.

One common possibility is to combine the two types of oven baking: use the traditional baking setting for the first ten or fifteen minutes (until you're done steaming and the crust is set), then switch to convection for the rest of the bake.


pjaj's picture

You don't say what make it is and I'm not familiar with the models available in Australia. I have a similar sounding European oven (Neff, probably made in Germany) which has fan assist and multiple elements. This has specific bread baking and proofing settings. Whilst other settings are capable of temperatures up to 250C the bread baking only allows 200 to 220C and uses the fan assist. You'd have thought it was perfect, particularly as Neff were one of the pioneers of fan assist (they call it "Cyclotherm") but there is a definite hot spot in front of the fan, so food closest to the fan cooks / browns / (burns!) faster than that nearest the door. I usually bake 4 loaves at a time (2 up, 2 down) , rotate them through 180 degrees and swap them top to bottom half way through the baking time. Since I don't use steam the fan is not a problem for me in this respect, but there are settings that don't run the fan, and I'm sure that the instruction manual will tell you which ones you can use.

It's probably worth pointing out to those who are not a lucky as us that these ovens do not give you separate control over each individual element, rather offer a number of combinations that are deemed the most useful.

nicodvb's picture


many microwave ovens sold nowadays are called "combination microwave" because they also have powerful grills and a convection mode. Using the rotating dish (possibly with the browning dish under the bread) eliminates hot spots. I preheat the browning dish for 5 minutes with the micro+grill function and the dish comes out *very hot* (imagine a light pizza stone ready in 5 minutes), then I immediately bake at the highest possible temperature. Generally they don't permit to combine convection and grill, but I know of at least a couple of models that can (one Panasonic and one LG).

Unfortunately I don't mind oven producers and I always verify the temperatures during baking. Well, even when setting 250°C I never pass the 170°-180°C!

I recommend to use a reliable oven thermometer and accept only an oven that really reaches the temperature desired.