The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking bread in a purely convection oven?

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Baking bread in a purely convection oven?

Hi,

I have a pure convection oven, meaning that there are no upper and lower coils. There's only a fan at mid height blowing hot air. At the bottom there's a rotating dish.

The thermostat is very reliable and does a very good job at maintaining the chosen temperature (verified with an external thermometer).

My main problem is that I can't get a decent crust at the bottom, that always remains tender. The secondary problem is oven spring, that seems to be a  bit lacking. In short, the same bread baked in the older oven that has upper and lower coils (the lower one under the rotating dish) springs better and makes a good crust.

Can someone recommend the best way to deal with this kind of ovens?

Thanks.

simon3030's picture
simon3030

I have an electric fan oven, and either use a pre heated baking sheet, or a stone - I use a granite worktop saver, which in the UK you can get from wilkos - it's 40cm x 30 cm, and has a polished top face. I bake on the back face, which is just as it was cut in the factory.

It's cracked over time, so I've learned that you have to bring it up to full oven temp of 240C gradually; I sprinkle semolina on it before putting on the dough from a home made peel, and also have a tray of water in the oven, put in cold when the oven is turned on. I also spray with a garden sprayer to add more steam.

After 10 mins, I turn the oven down to 180C, and bake for a further 30 minutes - I usually get good crust & crumb, and a good spring. I have pics on flickr under simon3030 if you want to have a look at todays loaf - sourdough success at last...

Simon

 

 

plevee's picture
plevee

I too have an oven where the convection cannot be turned off. I use a method recommended by SourDom, an Australian baker.

I preheat the oven and stone to 500F with a cast iron skillet on the floor, then load the bread, pour boiling water into the skillet and turn the oven off for 10 mins to prevent evacuating the steam. I turn the oven back on at 420F & check that most of the water has evaporated. I usually flip the loaves upside down for the final 10 mins to make sure the bottom is crisp & leave for 10 mins in the turned off oven to finally dry the crust.

Patsy

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Ok, so it seems there's an agreement that my cold start method that worked so well in the other oven can't  be used with a convection oven. Warm start and hot stone will be my next attempt.

Thanks everybody!

plevee's picture
plevee

sourdough.com/video/baking-dom-steam-oven-technique.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I have a fan oven too and turning the oven off for ten minutes works well.

For stone baking to create firm base crust I use a slab of cast iron which I pre-heat to smoke point on the hobs.

For steam I pre-heat a tray packed with ceramic baking beans and pour kettle water in. The steam is dramatic.

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I forgot to mention that the rotating dish is made of ceramic. Could I consider it equivalent to a baking stone heating it long enough?

I could preheat on the hobs a cast iron steak griddle, but the handle would be problematic: it's made of wood.

mwilson's picture
mwilson

I find cast Iron more resilient after having broken two baking stones in the past.

Can't see why the plate wouldn't work if heated long enough. 40-45 mins should be long enough.

plevee's picture
plevee

Baking in a dutch oven would eliminate your problems. You might even be able to do cool start.

Patsy

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

I have a cast iron pot, but should I preheat it on the hobs? and should I bake the bread with lid on?

plevee's picture
plevee

There are several threads on this site that suggest putting the dough into a cold, covered, cast iron pot produces as good a loaf as in a (scary) preheated pot. I've tried both and haven't seen any advantage to offset the risk of burns. The only reason I don't use it is that I bake 3 loaves at a time.

I have a friend who bakes professionally, producing wonderful sourdough bread in convection ovens. Her ovens have vents which can be closed to prevent the steam escaping in the first part of the bake. I haven't found this feature on mine, but the manufacturer of yours might be able to tell you how to do it. It would save you a lot of messing about!

Patsy