The Fresh Loaf

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uneven oven rise

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ebc's picture
ebc

uneven oven rise

I bake a very large round challah bread with a braid on top, like a crown. The appearance is always marred by an uneven oven rise, halfway through the baking time. I have Thermador convection ovens and there is only one way the bread fits in the oven. I start the baking at 400 degrees and after 10 minutes, I lower the temp to 375. I rotate the pan  after 10 minutes but it doesn't help. I let the bread rise until it is double but it still rises extra on only one side in the oven. Can anyone help?

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I doubt that I can help, but I'm intrigured.  It sounds like the weight of the crown on top is evenly distributed.  If it were me, I'd look to my shaping technique.  During shaping do you go to pains to be sure that the dough is evenly distributed through folding, rolling etc.? Not just shoving it around into the right shape, with uneven underlying densities.

This would be a good one for a photo, too.  

:-Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I would turn off the convection or cover/tent the dough for the first 10 minutes. Magic bowl?

I distictly remember a warning in the convection oven instuctions for the oven at camp (1977).  We had to turn off the oven (fan) for the first 5-10 minutes or we would have lop sided muffins. The first batch, we forgot, and the first tray looked like they were being blown toward the door, high on the door side.  

Mini O

ebc's picture
ebc

I think it has something to do with the convection fan and you are probably right. I never had trouble with my old non-convection oven. Will look into turning off the fan, if possible. I do shape the bread carefully, rolling, folding and stretching it under to form a tight round shape not just a blob of dough. All  the breads I bake do this, no matter what the shape or type. Maybe tenting it would help. Thanks for answering and the help.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Please keep posting your results.  It's very intriguing.

:-Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I don't know your oven exactly but is it possible a baffle is missing in front of the fan, not replaced after cleaning? Would it be possible to add one? This would have to be cross checked with the manufacturer.

Mini O

ebc's picture
ebc

The baffle is there. Maybe i can block the fan with a vertically placed cookie sheet.and shield the breadthat way. As a last resort, I will bake the bread in my new Weber genesis barbecue. It has even heat from natural gas. If I put 2 bricks on the grill and place the cookie sheet on the bricks, the bread will be high enough above the flame and should do as well as in an oven. Will let you know the results

keesmees's picture
keesmees

which side is bad rising?

1 at the side of the fan?

 after 10 minutes the crust is beginning to form. fan evaporates extra moist from the dough at the side of the fan and cannot expand anymore in less than 10 minutes.

2 bad rising at the door side, left or right side? and are there colour differences?

 some of the top heating elements is defect. the other one(s) are working very hard to make the termoststats temperature and will burn your dough so it can't expand anymore.

3 non of the mentioned above?

 the challa is too big for the oven and produces inequal heating just by its volume

 

but pablo's remark is the most probable cause. the strands must be exactly the same and unnoticed traction on the strands during the braiding avoided. the slightest difference  produces a dent after the ovenrise as you can see here on one third from the top:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/9191909@N07/2519788909/

 

 

ebc's picture
ebc

Thank you all for your suggestions. I am going to try them all-- rolling folding and shaping extra carefully, making 2 small breads instead of one double size, and shielding from the fan. It is the side away from the fan that rises but I do rotate the bread switching sides. It happens later on in the baking. The bread always tastes good and has perfect texture so I have to think of it as  a "homemade look"