The Fresh Loaf

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Any luck getting a good, crispy crust with a convection oven??

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PastryKid's picture
PastryKid

Any luck getting a good, crispy crust with a convection oven??

Hi all, I've been baking bread in a commercial convection oven (Hobart) without steam.  When we opened the shop it was a good choice because the price was right.  And in the original business plan we were not going to do breads.  However, with many requests, we've started making bread and have gained a small following.

Re: the bread.  The crust is fine, technically, but I'm unable to get a nice crispy crust that you'd normally have in a nice bread oven.

I don't mind moving to a convection oven with steam if that'd do the trick.  Anyone have luck with this or will I need to move to a deck oven with steam. 

I should also note this is in a Pastry Shop so I also make cakes, danish, cookies, etc in that oven so it can't be too strictly a bread oven.

Thanks in advance,

 

mcs's picture
mcs

I've only got convection ovens and I do both pastries and breads in them.  I didn't have enough room for deck and convection (plus deck ovens tend to give off a lot more heat- not good for making pastries) so I opted for only convection.  I reasoned that it was easier to adapt my breads to a new oven type than have to deal with pastries in a deck oven while I was sweating it out in my bakery.

Anyway, as long as you bake them thoroughly and steam them adequately, no one will be able to tell the difference.  When most people see the color and crust I get on my breads, they assume I'm using a wood fired oven.  I have a rack on the lowest level of the (Blodgett) oven with a cast iron griddle on it.  After I load the bread, I dump 1 soup can's worth of water on it and that provides the initial steam.  Disclaimer: Of course this is dangerous and probably voids every warrantee, so do so at your own risk.

Anyway, if you have any questions about specifics let me know.

-Mark
http://TheBackHomeBakery.com

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Do you turn the convection(or the oven itself) off at any time during the bake?

mcs's picture
mcs

I can't turn the fan off without turning the oven off.  I tried jacking up the 'preheat' temperature, shutting off the oven, loading the bread, steaming, then turning the oven on after 2-5 minutes, but I wasn't happy with the results and it killed my ovenspring.  My gas convection ovens have a low and high fan speed, but that also doesn't make much of a difference. 
I think if I were doing it in a non-commercial setting (by that I mean lower stress/pressure), I'd use the 'magic bowl' method to eliminate the effects of the wind.  Unfortunately it's not practical as far as the weight of the pans, speed it needs to be done, and timing of everything.

-Mark

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/28283/artisanal-bread-rational-combination-oven

The link takes you to a discussion that is relevant.

PastryKid's picture
PastryKid

Thanks everyone...  I'm pretty much in the same boat with Mark.  I've tried putting water on a pan after the bread goes in but it wasn't so successful...  and a pain in the tucass....  

The Combi oven sounds interesting but didn't see a clear link for a USA version and with gas. 

I heard they make convection ovens with steam but haven't nailed one down just yet.

If anyone's interested in pastry, here's some of my work:

http://www.flickr.com//photos/52713318@N08/sets/72157625818510441/show/

Thanks,

 

rolls's picture
rolls

oh wow, your pastries look amazing :) i have a few questions but  maybe i should start a thread so i don't take over yours. all the best. and your bread looks fine to me :)

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

amazing - love the cakes too.  If you can do for bread wbat you did for your other products  they will be a big winner too.

PastryKid's picture
PastryKid

Thanks guys and gals..   I tried the water thing in the dutch oven lid and I got some spring but not a crispy crust.. 

 

Mark, what temperature are you baking at.........?? 

 

Here's a pic of my bread..

First in line...

http://www.flickr.com//photos/52713318@N08/sets/72157625818510441/show/

mcs's picture
mcs

I bake my loaves at (convection temps) 405 for 36 minutes, baguettes at 420 for 22 minutes.   #1 and #3 on your slideshow above (I think they're the same bread) look to me like they are a little bit underbaked which would account for the crust not being crispy.   They look like they would be 'sturdy' when you first pull them out of the oven and then soften up after an hour or so as the water from inside escapes.  The one with the caraway seeds looks really nice and I'm guessing the crust was a bit thicker.  I take my loaves off of their pans 18 minutes (halfway) into the bake, put them back in the oven with a peel, and they bake the last 18 minutes just on the rack.  This helps the bottom get crispy and evens out the bake.  Also, opening the oven lets a ton of steam escape (watch out), allows me to rotate everything, and helps to dry out the oven which is what you want to crisp up the crust (once the ovenspring is done).

-Mark

PastryKid's picture
PastryKid

Hey Mark, when you say 405 degrees convection oven temp...  does that mean it's set at 355 which comes to 405 convection oven temp?  I usually bake mine at 350 convection oven dial..  which should equal 400 convection oven temp... is this correct?

 

Thanks for the further insights..

 

Thank you,

 

Bill

 

mcs's picture
mcs

... so it would make sense.  It's 405 on the dial.  Just to give you a reference, since you do pastries also:  These are dial temps:

croissants 375 - 9 minutes
pain au chocolat 375 - 9 minutes
palmiers 405 - 10 minutes
(puff) turnovers 405 - 18 minutes
1.5 pound loaves 405 - 36 minutes
soft loaves 1.5 pounds(enriched) 325 - 36 minutes
soft rolls 3 ounce (enriched) 325 - 14 minutes

Since my puff and loaves bake at the same temp, if I have an empty oven space with my loaves, I can put a tray of palmiers or whatever and conserve space/oven time and they bake simultaneously.

Obviously these are based on my own ovens, but my loaves bake 30 degrees hotter than my croissant dough.

-Mark

PastryKid's picture
PastryKid

Hey Mark, tried the water thing today which actually made my crust softer for some reason..  also, raised the heat ..  anyway, the first picture is what I came up with.

 

http://www.flickr.com//photos/52713318@N08/sets/72157625818510441/show/

 

Thanks,

 

Bill