Pullman Loaf in a Temperature Challenged Oven
Hello all! I haven't been here in ages, but I've got another Pullman loaf question or two for you.
I live in Japan where most of the ovens for the home are electric and tiny. Not only that, but my particular oven is temperature challenged for some reason, so at the higher temps, it goes up to 210C and then jumps to 250C. There's no in-between. >_< I've checked the manual, and there does not seem to be a way around this, and we can't afford an expensive new oven right now, so I have to learn to live with it.
The recipe I'm following, I actually found at this site from Rose Levy Berenbaum's book. I love it, but the temp requirement is 425F (218C), so it's a bit higher than I can manage with this blasted oven.
To troubleshoot, my first loaf I tried baking at the high end of my oven's range, at 250C. The loaf was fine, though it got a bit black at the top because the top of the Pullman pan is about 3 inches from the top of the oven, I'm guessing.
The next time (last night) I went with the lower temp, 210C. I was a little worried after the first 30 minutes of baking when I removed the lid to see the loaf a bit sunken, but it didn't fall flat. It baked up fine, though again, the top was a bit blackened.
The substitutions I made in the recipe (and I"m not sure if this will even matter, but I'm throwing them in just in case it'll help anyone figure out if I messed it up) were to use what is called powdered "skim milk" in Japan. I think it's pretty much the same thing as powdered milk anywhere else, though. I also reduced the salt to just a teaspoon, since the point of my making this sandwich bread is to try to have a lower sodium alternative to store bought for health reasons. Would reducing the salt have made much of a difference? I also ran out of butter for the second loaf, so used half butter and half vegetable shortening, since it's what I had around immediately. The first loaf was all butter, though.
Do you think that tenting the loaf with foil during the interval when I've removed the lid from the loaf would be good enough in stopping the top from turning black?
Also, from your experience, which would be the lesser of the two evils? The slightly lower oven temp. or the higher one? One of the problems with Japanese ovens like these is that you lose a lot of heat the second you open the door for any reason, and it takes awhile to get back to the right temp. - so from the start the oven loses some heat due to the cold Pullman pan and loaf being put in there. Since I've got to open it to remove the lid and possibly tent the thing mid-way through, it makes me wonder if I"m losing too much heat then, too.
Please let me know where you might err, and if the reduction in the salt makes a major difference in fluffiness.