The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Fundamentally Dumb Question

old baker's picture
old baker

Fundamentally Dumb Question

Been baking regularly for a year or so.  My basic question regards oven baking mode.  When baking basic bread (FWSY), should I use the convection mode on the oven or simple bake?  Convection moves the air around for an even temperature and I use it for baking when using containers with a lid like a Dutch Oven.  But I usually switch to the Bake mode when baking on pans w/o a cover.  Will the convection mode dry the bread too much?  Which is preferred when following a recipe that just says "bake at xxx F for so many minutes?  I like crusty bread, FWIW.

trailrunner's picture

i had Miele top of the line convection ovens from 2007-2017. I have been  baking bread since 1975 . Used every oven imaginable in that time. A closed pot makes no difference what setting you use. The only difference between convection and regular mode in ALL the bakes I did from 2007-2017 was the oven heated WAY faster on convection and maitained the heat. Your mileage may vary but otherwise when you do a search you will find there is no other discernible difference with convection vs regular 

tgrayson's picture

I only switch convection on once the bread has started to turn brown; turning it on too early will keep the bread from expanding to its maximum volume.

texasbakerdad's picture

Convection delivers the heat to the product much quicker, but, it also dries out the product.

For me, I know from a lot of testing that my pizzas do tremendously better with convection. My pizza need as much heat delivered as fast as possible and convection makes a big difference.

As for artisan doughs, i haven't done enough testing outside of a baking vessel to know what is better. I think, if I am remembering correctly, that I have had better oven bloom with convection turned off. I will be watching this thread to see what others think.

Danni3ll3's picture

I find that the heat is more even and the bottoms of my loaves don’t burn.

With just regular bake mode, most of the heat is from the bottom and I have burned a few loaves that way. With convection, the elements seems to heat up for shorter periods and rotate quickly from top, back and bottom. None of them stay on for any length of time. 

old baker's picture
old baker

From what I'm reading here, the opinions are mixed and it really doesn't matter.  More comments, please.

dabrownman's picture

till you take the lid off and then you want convection.  If you are baking in a stone with no cover using some kind of oven steaming method then while under steam you want the convection turned off and then once the steam comes out you want to turn on the convection.  Convection gas ovens are the worst for bread and you really need to use a DO for them.  They are the best for bread after the lid comes off though.

Moving air makes for better and higher evaporation rate and you do not want evaporation under steam because you want to the moisture to stay on the bread so the developing crust gelatinizes and stays moist so it can expand under steam,  Bread will not brown or caramelize in the presence of water.  So you want the air blowing around, evaporating the water faster after the steam comes out so that it can brown properly..

It is just science at work again!