Rofco experience: difficulty in achieving consistent quality
Hi all, I have had a Rofco B40 for about 3 weeks and have been baking in it every day since then. I bake in terracotta cloches because I think the bread is better when it’s baked in a pot with a lid - it rises much higher and looks more impressive in my experience. And you don’t have to muck around with steaming mechanisms as the lids do that job.
However, I am having trouble getting the bottoms of the loaves to cook properly in the Rofco - they just don’t really crisp up enough and they feel soggy even after an hour in the oven. I have never had this problem in any home oven I’ve used and that’s with the same terracotta cloches. In fact, I am a bit disappointed overall with the Rofco so far as the temperature between each of the shelves is very different ; the ones on the middle shelf cook much quicker on the tops and are almost burnt after 40 minutes in the oven. So I have to do a lot of swapping the loaves around between shelves.
I preheat the oven at 240 degrees for 90 minutes before putting the loaves in the oven and then once I put them in, I have been turning it down to 150 degrees (sometimes 180) for the first 20 minutes so that the tops have a chance to rise as much as possible before a hard crust forms. And then I take the lids off and turn the oven up to 220 degrees.
However, no matter what I do, the bottoms of the loaves are heavy and soggy. - I don’t get that lovely sound when I tap them. I have taken to turning the loaves upside down to try and firm up the bottoms so I end up doing an awful lot of intervening during the bake just to try and get a reasonable quality - something I have never had a problem with in a normal run of the mill home oven. I have been baking seriously for about six years and make about 40-50 leaves per week so I have used quite a lot of different home ovens during that time.
I have tried baking free form loaves but I always come back to the pots because I like the higher loaves rather than loaves that spread out. And given that I have never had this problem using the cloches before, I don’t think they are the problem. It may be that the Rofco isn’t at its best unless you bake free form loaves in it.