The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

deck oven issues with sourdough

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

deck oven issues with sourdough

hi there.

been using a larghe old tom chandley deck oven for the last 3 months and it has alot of hot/cool spots which is fine. It has a broken steam injection which i havent been able to afford to get fixed yet however i spray on preload and after load and colour is fine and yeasted breads rise perfectly. I bake straight on the stone and generally i have good spring however my sourdoughs can be inconsistent in their rise so im looking for advice.

I currently bake at 440-450F and have top element at 4 and bottom at 1. I open damper after 20 minutes and finish bake.

When I started with this oven I had bottom element at 2 but then thought id play it safe instead of burning bottom of loaf. These days I sometimes get flatish sourdough loaves. 

So my question is this:

should i increase bottom element 

should i increase temperature and then move breads to a cooler spot in oven after 10/15 minutes?

if i increase temperature to maximise oven spring when can i open deck to move breads (i.e. can i open deck after 10 minutes and move breads to cooler spot without compromising rise)

has anyone any advice?

many thanks

    

 

newchapter's picture
newchapter

Hi,

My only advice, is to tell you what I have chosen to do, to even out my own temperature issues.  I don’t move my bread around, although, I have thought about it.  I just haven’t experimented with that.  What I have done, is purchase a set of thick baking stones, for better heat retention, recovery, and even-ness.  I just leave them in my oven, at all times, and that’s just where they live, now.  The other thing I do, is I heat my oven to 500*.  Once it has come to temperature, I set a timer for an hour.  This gives the stones time to fully come to that 500*, which will help greatly with temperature recovery, when you do have to open & close the oven door.  I time my shaped & proofed loaf timing, to go with my 1 hour wait time.  When the timer goes off, I dock my loaves, pop them into the oven, set my bake timer, and reduce the oven temperature to 450*.  When I have more than one batch to bake, I don’t raise the oven temp, back up to 500*.  I just add a few more minutes to the next batch.  I tried raiding the temp back up, a few times, it just wasn’t worth the extra wait time.  I still get good oven-spring, regardless.

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

Thanks for that info - my deck oven is pretty big (got s second hand one online) so basically I have 6 large stones on each deck- there are hot spots all over it - and it can fit up to 30 loaves on each deck. It had a broken steam injection (so I use spritzer) but because of size and bottom and top elements I’ve been erring on side of caution with temperature. I’ve been heating chamber to 450-460 then loading 10 x 950g loaves and baking. There is a spring but I think there should be more and think it may be due to fact that that dough absorbs too much heat and temperature drops even though stones are great at retaining heat. I’m also manually loading off peel so opening and closing up to 10x before spritzing and baking. So in short perhaps I should increase initial temperature and bottom element - load and then move loaves to cooler part of oven after 15-20 minutes

newchapter's picture
newchapter

Sounds like a good idea.  Let me know how it works.  I would love to find a reasonably priced, used deck oven.  That would be AWESOME!  

I think the spaced out oven stones may be contributing to your hotspots.  Consider purchasing a small set of oven stones each month, or so, until your decks are covered.  I’m not sure that my picture format will work here (I’m a breadie, not a techie) but I’ll try to include one.

#JealousOfYourDeckOven

#OvenEnvy