The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My oven setup (fan-only oven)

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

My oven setup (fan-only oven)

I have got a very simple fan-only oven (BEKO), and it took me a while figure out how to put it to its best use - with lots of inspiration from TFL.

This is how I bake my bread:

Usually use an oven stone and a metal baking sheet.

You can see the backplate of the oven cavity in the picture below - the shelf positions and the hot air outlets are highlighted:

I noticed that airflow changes a lot when loading the oven in different ways - it is not always the bit nearest to an outlet that gets burnt first!

I am now using 2 basic setups that work well. In both scenarios I have a small pan on the oven floor into which I pour boiling water (about 1/4 cup) once the oven has been loaded. The oven keeps moisture very well, and using more water cools it down too much.

Scenario 1: For a batch of 4 X 500g boules or 2X 800g boules or up to 6X 500g tins:

The baking stone receives a lot of heat from below and stays hot during the bake. The side of the boules facing the backplate gets more heat.

Therefore after 10 minutes I shuffle the breads around: turning them 180 deg. and sqapping the loaves on the stone with the loaves on the baking sheet. Usually I turn down the temperature at this point and bake for another 20 minutes. The bottoms of the loaves that started on the baking sheet might still be3 weak after that, so I usually turn those loaves over and bake them for 5 more minutes.

Scenario 2: For a batch of 1 X 100g or 2 X 500g

I place the loaf (loaves) on the baking stone, and rotate them after 10 minutes.

The baking sheet helps distributing the hot air and helps getting a more consistent bake.

 

I hope this might be helpful,

Juergen

 

Comments

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Juergen,

Thanks for this and the photos showing exactly where you position your stone and baking sheet.  I am doing something similar but my Cadco has steaming capabilities so I use it's steam function BUT I have been turning the oven completely off when I add steam otherwise all the steam it makes goes out the vent almost as quickly as I pump it into the oven.  How is it that your steam doesn't vent out right away?  Do you cover it up? 

Despite my turning my oven off I still get good oven spring and, after 10 minutes when I turn the heat back on, they sometimes continue to spring.  I pre-heat at 450° to get things really hot before loading my breads and then drop the heat to 350° or 325° once I start it back up again.

I hadn't thought of adding a baking sheet to help distribute the hot air more evenly. I have been hesitant to add to many 'bulky' items in my oven for fear of them blocking the flow of air but my oven is designed to be loaded to the 'hilt' so an empty baking sheet does make sense.

I usually use my baking stone in the same position you place yours and I had figured that it provided enough mass to keep things even just as it did in my conventional oven.  I will have to play around with baking sheet now and see what happens.

I think I will try leaving my oven 'on' next bake and see what happens - despite the steam I see billowing out of the vent.  Who knows, maybe enough stays in but I won't know until I try.  One thing I do hate is turning the heat off for those 10 minutes because things do cool down quickly....actually the temp. drops down the the 350° that I finish the bake off on.

Thanks for taking the time to describe how you run your 'fan' only oven.  The pictures help tremendously!

Take Care,

Janet

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

With respect to the steam - my oven is a sealed box. Nothing escapes.

My parents have a nice Miele. But theirs vents, and my first trials on that oven drove me crazy ...

At The Lighthouse Bakery, where I went for a course, they don't use steam, but make still wonderful bread. No baguettes, though.

On an Italian blog I found an alternative baking profile to get a nice crust (without steam, worked for my Pugliese):

Preheat to max, then load oven and immediately turn down to 210C to 220C, and bake for 1/3 longer than usual. Worth a try.

Getting another stone to provide thermal mass above the bread (a hot ceiling) might be another thing to try (I haven't yet).

Happy Experimenting,

Juergen

 

 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

I am surprised that your oven has no vents.  I just assumed they were 'standard' on all types of ovens.

When I was looking to replace my free standing oven I looked at a Miele but the only one they had with steam was really small and not intended for bread baking - mostly for veggies and meat dishes

My oven isn't big enough to fit two stones.  It is a 'counter top' oven but very roomy compared to a traditional toaster-oven sold here in the States.  It will fit 3   1/2 sheet pans on it's 3 shelves.  My baking stones cut into that height too much.

Today I toyed around with pre-heating and then dropping the heat as you described above and giving the loaves steam at 5 minute intervals for the first 10 minutes.  It worked okay but tied me to my timer and I can't go too far away from the oven....

I am still going to have to play around with this.   Other thing that complicates is that I bake rolls, mini pan loaves, pullman loaves and boules.  Some enriched doughs and some lean doughs so the temps. vary with each type of dough or pan used....It would help if I stuck with one thing and perfected it but that just isn't my style - I like variety despite the challenges it brings with it :-).

But you have given me a new tool to try out and it did work today despite the fact that I had to stick close to the oven for those first 10 minutes.

Take Care,

Janet