The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gas or Electric for baking bread?

lacoet's picture
lacoet

Gas or Electric for baking bread?

I’ve been baking all kinds of breads with outstanding results in a gas convection oven for a long time now.We’re looking to move to a different location and the one house we’d love to buy was built for electric appliances only, so I’d have to bake in an electric oven which I’ve never done before.I’d very much appreciate your opinion a to whether the same results in baking breads can be achieved in both kind of ovens or if one is better than the other. Any extra advice would be much appreciated as well.Thanks in advance.

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

I was just reading in bernard clayton's bread book that he didn't see a difference.  

 In my own experience with using both types,  I can't tell a difference either.  But it may depend on the method you use.  I'm mostly dutch oven,  but sometimes use a stone.  

Just my opinion.  And I'm certainly not an expert by any means.  I'm sure others more knowledgeable can chime in.  

 

pintolaranja's picture
pintolaranja

I think if you can reach the desired amount of heat and can consistently keep it at the desired level and evenly spread, along with some needed humidity you should be fine and see no difference.

Dutch oven is an excellent alternative as an oven inside the oven. If you pre-heat it for 30-40mins when you put the dough in and cover it it will keep humidity inside that helps creating a wonderful crust at the same time it keeps the level of heat consistent all over the pan which helps baking the dough evenly.

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Since no one seems to be rushing to point this out, I will:

Gas ovens always (?) have a fan moving air inside while in operation, to provide oxygen for the burner and to prevent any dangerous accumulation of gas or ignition byproducts.  Thus gas ovens are, in a limited sense, obligate convection ovens, albeit in a much milder implementation than an electric oven switched to "Convection".  This feature of gas ovens makes it difficult to maintain the high humidity that most bread baking needs during the first 20 minutes or so of each bake.  Hence the universal and clever solution of dutch ovens that insulate the dough from the oven's moving air and trap its humidity inside.

Electric ovens have no need for this air movement and thus, when run in non-convection mode, are limited in trapping humidity only by the integrity of their seals and the strength of the introduced humidity source.  For that reason, most home bakers prefer electric ovens and you should welcome the opportunity to bake your breads in one.

Tom

David R's picture
David R

I think electric ovens might be more convenient for the usual jobs of a home oven, and I think gas stovetop burners might be more convenient for the usual jobs of a home stovetop. But the opposites - electric-powered stovetops and gas-powered ovens - DO work, and the question IS one of mere convenience - not of working vs not working. In my experience, it's the quality of the maker and of the model that count the most: a good gas oven is better than a bad electric oven, and a good electric oven is better than a bad gas oven.

(Well, almost anything is better than having bad gas. 😁)

My current apartment has an electric oven that's obviously the cheapest, smallest, oldest thing they could find to be able to say that there's an oven here. It does a poor job of almost everything - but the smallest cheapest oldest gas oven would be no better.

If you have a good oven of either kind, you can pretty much always make it do what you need to do, somehow. I think every new oven forces you to re-learn a few habits - make something easy and reliable first if possible, when using an oven you're unfamiliar with.

 

Note that ordinary full-sized electric ovens have a permanent non-closeable air vent, and are not sealed. (But the air is not normally forced out, just allowed out.)

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Dude,  you and I must live in the same apartment complex with the same crappy oven.  Hehe..

If not for my dutch oven and pizza stone,  this thing just wouldn't work at all.  Lol. 

But I make it work.  And I'm sure you do too! 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I've been baking bread on a micro commercial scale for several years now, in a Whirlpool electric wall oven, usually on granite stones or in cast iron pots. We're selling our house and moving to a place with a gas oven, so I need to learn its quirks now. I think it's not so much whether one is better than the other, but that they are different and you need to get to know your oven. I tried baking in a very small electric oven in my daughter's flat in England and was totally frustrated, because it was so different. On the other hand, people on this site have successfully baked bread in counter-top toaster ovens, and I've baked a loaf in a cast iron pot inside our basement wood stove.