The Fresh Loaf

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Baking time vs Temperature? And the Winner is...

PaulZ's picture

Baking time vs Temperature? And the Winner is...

Hi all,

I have a new Italian convection twin-fan assisted oven with steam function. Very nice, very even bake but oh so f-a-s-t!

Problem is: If I follow recipes times and temperatures to the letter, my breads,pastries and cakes are overbaked and the recommended bake time is not yet up.

Question is:

Is it better to:

1. Retain the advised baking temperature and reduce the bake time?  Or,

2. Retain the advised bake time but reduce the temp by approx 10-15%?

3. Or a combo of both?

Any advice or previous experience of this?








thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

The following are general guidelines for converting conventional recipes for use in a convection oven.

  1. Option one: Bake at the same temperature that the conventional recipe recommends, but for less time. 
  2. Option two: Bake for the amount of time that the conventional recipe calls for, but reduce the temperature of the oven by about 25 degrees F.
  3. Option three: (Best) Bake for a little less time than the conventional recipe calls for, and also reduce the temperature of the oven.


thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

Your oven manufacturer might be an even better source of information on conventional to convection corrections.

Most ovens can be calibrated up or down, usually a range of +/- 30 F. If you choose to use the second option, set your oven to -25 F. Then you can just use the recipe's recommended temperature, knowing that a 400 F setting on the oven will only heat to 375 F.

gerhard's picture

If you bake using the same temperature you tend to get a lot of burst crust because the crust sets before the interior has a chance to warm up and expand.


Doc.Dough's picture


I too have had to do the conversion (when converting) or the development (when developing) to get the right combination of time and temperature.  On my oven I have two fan speeds (hurricane and gale), humidity control (manual and fully automatic), intermittent fan (15 sec every 2 min), and programmable temperature control, so finding the right trajectory through the bake can be as complicated as I will allow.  My rule has turned out to be: start with the suggested temperature and run until you have the right color; check the internal temperature; drop the oven temp to 300 and recheck the temperature at 5 min intervals until you get to 195°F (or if you have a probe in the oven, just plug it into the bread when you have the color you want and reset the temp to 300, then wait until the probe shows 195°F).  If the internal temperature is above 195°F the first time you check, you will need to preheat to a higher temperature and shorten the cycle. If it takes more than 5 additional minutes to get to the target 195°F, you have a couple of choices - drop the initial temp and hold it constant, or make it a multi-step cycle, bringing the temperature down so that you finish with the crust you want. I don't think I have ever taken more than three iterations to get to a satisfactory cycle - even though it may continue to evolve after that.

For me, a 750g ciabatta is done in 8 min @ 460°F/100% humidity with steam using an initial 525°F oven entry temperature.  If I make rolls (ciabattini) of 65g from the same dough, the cycle is preheat to 525°F, then bake @ 460°F/100% humidity with steam for 5 min; @450°F/50% humidity for 2 min; 440°F/20% humidity for 5 min with low fan speed.  A 960g batard of 65% hydration 20% whole wheat baked direct from a 42°F retard takes 19 min@ 400°F, high fan, 100% humidity for the first 5 min, then 50% humidity (but still high fan) for the remainder.

You will have to experiment to find the sweet spot for your products in your oven with your process, but this should get you started.

edited to fix spelling

PaulZ's picture

Thanks all for the advice.

I trained briefly in France and the boulanger I interned under always laughed and shook his head when I asked about baking times and temperature. He always held up his hands and then pointed to his eyes. He would place his hand in the oven to guage the heat and the time was assessed by browning of the bread. Maybe we have a tendency to overcomplicate things?