The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Macarons in a powerful commercial oven

BakersRoom's picture
BakersRoom

Macarons in a powerful commercial oven

Hello all,

I've been working at a cafe that wants to make its own macarons. No problem, right?

Well, the oven is a commercial powerhouse with a big fan.  When I use the appropriate temp/time, which is 325 for 12 min, the macarons are browning, discoloring.  If I reduce the temp, and increase the time, I get either undone macarons, or dried out husks.  The discolored macarons I cook at the correct time/temp are fine, taste good, good texture.  But they look bad. 

I think the fan is the culprit, drying out the outer shell before the inside can cook, causing a discolored shell, but a perfectly done macaron inside.  Has anyone had experience with this situation before? 

I'm thinking of putting aluminum foil over the fan or something.  Block the air, see if that helps.  Good idea?  Bad idea?

Thanks in advance!

BreadLee's picture
BreadLee

Could you try the italian method?  20-22 mins @ 260f. Check them a bit before.  If you can lift them from the pan and they don't stick,  they're done.  

BakersRoom's picture
BakersRoom

Italian style did work a lot better, but the fan really ruins things.  Do you rest your italians or no rest?

ds99303's picture
ds99303

See, that is why I don't like convection or forced air ovens.  They cook too fast and some things you just can't rush.  I remember the first time I tried baking cake layers in a convection oven.  They browned and crusted over before the batter had a chance to fully rise.  Lowering the temperature didn't help.  The blowing air simply caused things to brown too quickly.   After several tries, I learned if I turned the fan off for the first 10 to 15 minutes, the cakes would rise more.  Any longer than that and the temperature would drop too much.  On this particular type of oven the heat only comes on if the fan is on.  You turn the fan off and the heat doesn't come on.  So my answer is to turn the fan off if you can or find some way to deflect the airflow so it doesn't blow directly on the macarons.

BakersRoom's picture
BakersRoom

Yeah, I feel your pain.  The owner of this business wanted to do delicate things like cakes and macarons, and bought this bestial fan oven.  I tried to block the airflow, but only got humidity problems (cracking, warping).  I'm not sure how to redirect the airflow, the fan is huge.  Thanks for your input though.  I think the oven is simply incompatible with baking delicate things. 

ds99303's picture
ds99303

Just let that be a lesson to you.  If you're going to open up a bakery or restaurant or something along those lines, make sure you know what type of oven you're getting.  From my own experience, I don't know of any bakery item that does better in a forced air oven vs. a conventional oven.  Forced air ovens might be good for cooking roasts but not for breads and pastries.  They do a terrible job with custard pies.  You have to lower the temperature so much to keep the filling from burning on top that the crust doesn't get done.

BakersRoom's picture
BakersRoom

Trust me, I would never have bought this oven to bake with.  At least not to bake pastries.  For high heat things like hearth bread or bagels its perfect.  Its just a little too hot for choux pastry and croissants, but it will make them.  Cakes? Macarons? Forget it.  

The owner of the shop said she asked around about what type of oven to get, and everyone told her a forced air convection oven.  I think there are those that might be okay, but not this one.  I've given up on macarons in this oven for now.  I can only get mediocre ones, and I'm not about that. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is it possible to cover with an inverted sheet pan?  Rim to rim?  To make a protective baking chamber?

BakersRoom's picture
BakersRoom

Thanks, I did try it, but the humidity ruined them.  I simply don't like this oven. 

Jsty1028's picture
Jsty1028

Maybe try covering it with a perforated pan? Btw, what brand of oven is it?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Maybe it is missing, can be replaced or mounted in front of the fan.  Check out the instruction book for parts and see what comes up with a search.    oven fan diffuser

I wouldn't block the fan with foil as that may be a heat source. May damage the oven. Look at your oven specifications.