The Fresh Loaf

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What oven should I get? Rofco - Moffat Turbofan etc... help?

Random's picture
Random

What oven should I get? Rofco - Moffat Turbofan etc... help?

Hello,

I will keep this as short as possible. My old oven needs to be thrown in the bin and I need a new oven.

I want to bake artisan type sourdough bread, those nice crunchy Italian style sourdough loaves that some bakeries produce, with that golden/brown crust with a soft springy inside.

I been doing as much reading as I can but all the blogs I manage to find don't seem to come from actual people baking but sales pitches and random copy/paste information (just seems like a marketing thing not honest, first hand experience information).

I am trying to decide whether to buy a fan forced convection oven or a regular conventional oven.

I have seen some bakers over in the UK that only have a fan-forced oven (no option to turn the fan off) and claim they wouldn't be interested in buying one without a fan either. The fan-forced oven (true convection oven that has a heating element behind the fan) is supposed to heat the oven up evenly on all shelves. So if you cook 1 thing or multiple things, it doesn't matter where you put your stuff it will cook nice and even.

The other style is a conventional oven with a fan or also known as fan-assisted oven not true convection as the above. Essentially it is an oven that has a heating element on top and bottom of the oven with a fan behind to blow the heat the elements in the oven produce unlike the true-convection oven which has a heating element behind the fan itself. With this option however, the fan can be turned off and you can cook with just the top element, bottom element, both elements, you can cook with top element + fan, bottom element + fan, both elements + fan, etc.

So my concern due to lack of experience is what type of oven would give the best results in principle for bread?

They say that the true-convection (fan on with heating element behind fan) will heat the oven cavity up the most even, it will make the bread rise the fastest etc. To keep moisture in the oven they insert a roasting tray on the floor of the oven and put 3-5cm of boiled water in it, close the door and let the bread bake with all that steam inside which allows the bread to rise, get that crunchy like crust etc. You get the benefit of using less energy (temperature) due to turning the heat down, it cooks more evenly around the oven, can be awesome for roasted vegetables/potatoes and the like and just seems ideal. To eliminate the dry air problem you add the steam inside the oven and now you have the even heating + moisture + the ability to cook more than one thing on multiple shelves evenly and it seems to be the ideal oven that can do it all.

However - other readings suggest that even though the airflow creates an even heat environment that the fan blowing from behind is blowing the steam away from the bread so you end up with the very middle part where the fan is blowing onto the bread end up hardening before the rest of the bread that still has steam on it, this causes the bread to end up curled, have weird shapes and other problems.

So... whats the story? Is this a problem with the regular ovens that have a convection feature, (heating element top bottom and fan behind) or is this the problem even with a true-convection that has a heating element behind the fan? (or a 3rd heating element - however its described in the country)?

Just trying to work out what sort of oven to buy. Everyone says get used to the oven you have, they can all do stuff... sure, but I don't have an oven, so I may as well just buy the right thing to get used to rather than something that is not suitable ideally. Short of the wood fire ovens artisan bakers prize... whats my next best option... 

1: True convection with heating element behind fan - this oven I looked at has 3 settings only. Fan (with heating element behind it), Fan and top element/grill, or top element/grill with no fan.

2: Conventional oven with top and bottom elements with a fan behind that just blows heat around the elements in oven generate.

3: Conventional oven with no fan (if fan is bad for bread baking).

Thanks

Ambimom's picture
Ambimom

Look, the fastest way to get artisan bread at home is Jim Lahey's No-Knead recipe.  You'll need a dutch oven (or a heavy pot with a lid works too), some parchment paper, and an oven.  My oven sucks too...but the method is foolproof. You don't even need an oven, you can bake the bread in a barbecue grill.  Any air fryer is a convection oven.  You can bake a fine loaf in a $40 air fryer too.  For the past five years, I've been using a Breville toaster oven to make two loaves every couple of weeks. I gave up yeast about 10 years ago and just keep a starter for leavening.  There's no great mystery to making great crusty loaves.  You may have a few failures when you start, but you'll get a routine and recipe that works for you and you'll never look back.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

My suggestion is a convectional oven with heating elements top and bottom, and if you can fine one with a fan that switches on, that would be a plus. I have baked in several true convection ovens  ( fan is always on, and the element is not in the oven chamber ).  While it may be great for cookies, IMO ,  it causes the skin to harden quicker, so it is not good for oven spring.  

Random's picture
Random

Thanks for the feedback.

I been looking through this website older posts about ovens and things and it raised a question for me.

There seems to be 2 ways I can tackle this.

1: Buy the oven/stove top that replaces the one in the house (a regular free standing electric oven with gas top burners)....

In this option there is the fan only version or the many options and functions versions... either way, point is it is a regular free standing oven/stove top.

Option 2 however is a little different.

I have read stuff about the Moffat Turbofan oven, I have also read a fair bit about the Rofco stone deck oven.

So I wonder... If I buy a regular domestic oven, I will probably want to buy a Rofco stone deck oven for making bread/dough type stuff (cakes, sweet things, wallnut rolls etc) and my regular home domestic oven for everything else (baked potatoes, wedges, roasted capsicums, eggplants, nuts, even crumbed potato slices (like potato scallops) but done in the oven to get the crumbs crunchy on the outside.

Can the Moffat Turbofan be used for all these regular baking needs?

It seems price wise I can get one of these for pretty much the same price as a cheap and nasty domestic oven. So I wondered if I am better off getting something like that which is a dedicated convection and a Rofco for bread... or do I still need the domestic oven + the Rofco for bread?

Hope that makes sense.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

So I had a little trouble following option 2,  but i think you are asking can a Moffat Turbofan handle your ordinary cooking needs and also handle bread.  I don't have a Moffat, but they do offer several models, the basic ones have just electric heating elements, as you go up the line, they offer a steam button ( i don't know if it has water injection or actually has a boiler and injects steam ).   If that is you question, then yes, I think if you get the right Moffat,  it should cover all of your oven needs.   https://www.webstaurantstore.com/moffat-use23d3-t-turbofan-single-deck-half-size-electric-convection-oven-with-digital-controls-220-240v-1-phase-3-kw/952USE23D3T.html       

Random's picture
Random

Hey and thanks.

What I was trying to say is, if I am going to buy a stone deck oven for bread (which in a way is conventional - not fan) then I could just buy a dedicated fan forced oven for everything else that is not bread (roasted things, pastry, cookies, baked things) where fan is preferred. So in short I wondered can the turbofan replace the regular oven you have in the house.

I guess the only problem is, they dont have the stove tops on them (gas) which means I need more room to have it.

On the subject, what other brands of stone deck ovens are there? Like good brands with steam injection available? I read thats the only drawback to the Rofco and the very small window to see through. Something that isn't large, I only need something as big as a Rofco B5 which is a single stone deck running on phase 1 power (a regular powerpoint like your computer), is there anything like that but WITH a larger window AND steam injection via the press of a button, not automatic stuff)

And I may as well ask, that turbofan model you posted, with steam injection... would these type of ovens bake artisan sourdough bread as good as a stone-deck oven, or would it still be preferable to have a stone-deck oven for bread even if I had that turbofan?

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Random, nearly any oven can be a stone deck oven, by just adding a stone. In fact, some ovens are offered by manufacturers either with or without a stone.  I haven't tried the Turbofan, but I think from other reviews here, that in would do better artisan sourdough bread than a standard stone deck oven.   

Yes, if you get a countertop oven, you will still need a cooktop, which would take up more room.

I don't think you need a fan forced oven for making roasted things, pastry, or cookies,  though again, if you bought the Turbofan, that would handle those items with ease.  The turbofan, and similar ovens like the Cadco are designed to be used to cook a variety of items, not just bread. 

There are other ovens which put moisture into a baking chamber - such as a combi oven, though I have posted I am not in love with mine because the fan runs continuously, and IMO, that offsets the added steam.  Some have been very pleased with the Anova precision oven ( which is a countertop combi with some other features)  for baking bread, though it can do other things as well.   https://anovaculinary.com/anovafoodnerd-debra-best-bakes-the-best-bread-with-the-anova-precision-oven/

I don't know anything about this oven,https://www.webstaurantstore.com/avantco-co32-half-size-convection-oven-with-steam-injection-2-3-cu-ft-208-240v-2800w/177CO32.html though my guess is that when you push the button, it injects water from your water line, and then uses the heat inside the oven to convert that to steam.  Similar to dumping water into a pan filled with volcanic rock on metal.  Having the button avoids opening and closing the door to add water, risk of spilling water on the door glass, and seems simpler to manipulate.   A combi oven has a boiler that boils water and injects that into the cooking chamber, but at least on mine, you can't push a button to make it happen, you set it in that mode or turn that mode off.

I don't have a Rofco, but from what I have read, it is works the same as a Dutch Oven , or combo cooker.  You put the loaf in the door, when it closes it seals tightly, keeping in the moisture that comes out of the dough as it cooks  ( they also offer a separate steam tray which is similar to the pan with rocks -  just a lot of mass that you preheat and add water to)  and then when you want to add color, you open the vent to release the moisture - similar to taking the top off the DO.  The stone deck on the Rofco is not the main driver of its popularity,  IMO, it is that it is very well sealed, so it keeps the moisture in.   You can buy a similar size oven and add a large stone - corderiete, also sold as kiln shelving, is available in many sizes and thickness, but it is unlikely it will have a similar door seal, and much of the moisture will vent during cooking.  Bakers Pride, and other manufacturers offer ovens with a heating element under a stone surface, but you don't see a lot of Fresh Loafers buying them.  For example, this is a pizza oven with a 4 inch high ceiling https://www.webstaurantstore.com/avantco-dpo-18-s-single-deck-countertop-pizza-oven-1700w-120v/177DPO18S.html  though it probably does not seal as well as a Rofco, and you would also have premature drying of the crust if you left the top element on.   The same makers often offer a single 7 inch high chamber, which would probably be better for bread baking since the upper element is further from the loaf, but again, the chamber is not sealed, so it would probably not be much better than a home electric oven https://www.webstaurantstore.com/bakers-pride-p-24s-electric-countertop-bake-and-roast-oven-220-240v-1-phase-2150w/155P24SD.html

 

I have had several ovens, some with convection always on, some with a fan and switch to turn on and off, and IMO ,  that is not a particular feature that drives whether the results will be good.  You could get a convection oven that had wide temperature swings over time, or even hot spots in certain areas,  and a non convection oven could do better in those areas,   

Also consider how regularly you will be making bread v. other cooking chores.  You could probably cook nearly anything that did not need to be broiled  in a Rofco . I am sure lasagna would come out fine -  on the other hand, IIRC, they suggest a preheat time of an hour or more, so it would take  a long time to make that lasagna, so it is not a good choice for regular cooking. 

 

Finally, and take this from someone who has bought a number of used ovens ( mostly pizza ovens, but a few ovens just for making bread ) that there is a strict law of diminishing returns.  If you are making a baguette , and the sharpest thing you had in the kitchen was a balloon,  I doubt you would get good scores using a balloon.  If you had a spoon, your scores  would be dramatically better.  Once you got to sharp object, like a knife, you would see a big improvement, but as you moved up to a very sharp razor blade, you would not get as much improvement as you did going from the balloon to the spoon, or the spoon to the sharp knife.  The same is true here.  If your only oven was a gas oven so that there was no way to keep any moisture in it,  a move to an electric oven,  or using a combo cooker, dutch oven, cloche or similar would probably give a serious improvement.  However ,  going from a combo cooker to a Rofco would not give you a similar leap in improvement. 

One reason that some go to a Rofco is to be able to bake different shapes ,  which can be difficult in a combo cooker - though many are fans of the Challenger  https://challengerbreadware.com/product/challenger-bread-pan/   which looks like it could handle more than one shape.     I have gotten some of my best results from a Fourneau Bread oven - though again, it bakes a very specific shape, and the one I have, which is the original, will not handle boules.  The new one looks pretty interesting, since it combines a cloche with the ability to add water to a preheated stone, https://www.fourneauoven.com/collections/accessories/products/fourneau-grande-cordierite-baking-stone  ,   but you will be limited in the sizes and shapes unlike a Rofco.   Good luck what ever path you choose, and post back with results for the next person on the path. 

 

 

 

 

Melbourne Park's picture
Melbourne Park

The best form of cooking bread is radiated heat. Look for an oven that has metal that gets heated up, and radiates that heat into the food.

Fan forced ovens are IMO an abomination. They blow hot air around. Air is an insulator. it's a poor way to heat something. Outside French bread ovens heat up motor/clay/bricks typically with wood, then you scrape out the wood and put in your pizza or bread. The residual heat in the oven radiates the heat into the food (bread/pizza/whatever) and cooks it beautifully.

Which is why in older days, some gas ovens cooked much better than others - due to the amount of metal radiating out the heat. 

But metal is expensive. It also adds to transport weight, and installation weight, even to adding difficulty in moving it around a retail outlet. So manufacturers charge high prices for an oven with lots of metal. The best ones had cast iron, which radiates heat very well indeed. But it rusts. hence why some cast iron ovens are always left hot, they are on all the time.

A friend of ours bought a new large stainless oven. They used it for about 5 years. I bought another home, and it had a similar sized large oven, but one with a famous brand. i gave my friends the oven. It looked much the same as their 5 year old one. The one I gave them was over 10 years old. But they rang me - in joy. It cooked so much better. Cakes are totally different. So too roast meat.

It has more radiating metal inside it. 

 

Good luck.

 

HansB's picture
HansB

If your only goal is "to bake artisan type sourdough bread, those nice crunchy Italian style sourdough loaves that some bakeries produce, with that golden/brown crust with a soft springy inside."

That can easily be accomplished with a cloche like this. https://shop.emilehenry.com/en/202-bread-cloche.html#/36-couleur-charcoal

 

Then you can decide later if you really need/want a new oven.

pul's picture
pul

If you are looking forward to baking bread, don't get a convection oven whose fan cannot be completely switched off by option during baking. You won't be able to bake any baguettes or a bunch of dinner rolls because in my experience convection hardens the crust too fast. Other bakings can be managed using dutch oven.

Random's picture
Random

Thanks for the feedback.

"Fan forced ovens are IMO an abomination. They blow hot air around. Air is an insulator. it's a poor way to heat something."

Question 1

Does this apply even when the oven has a heating element in the top, bottom, and behind the fan and all 3 working at the same time? Everything I ever been able to read is that fan forced ovens heat all shelves evenly which conventional does not and that fan forced reduces baking time up to 25% which is significant over a conventional oven. So how does it being a poor way to heat something fit if it does the job 25% faster and even needs the temperature turned down by about 10-20 degrees C due to the fact it is 'hotter'?

When hot air blows on you, much like cold air... you feel it more. Take a winters day for example. If there is no wind, it feels  ok but as soon as wind blows you feel the cold a lot more. Or a bathtub with very hot water. Once you manage to get in it very slowly (that hot), if you just sit there, it is ok, but start moving around and it starts to burn you.

It seems that the moving heat is what makes it hotter than the stagnant heat. 

Otherwise, at the moment I am looking at a 4 burner gas top with an oven underneath (free-standing-oven).

Question 2

I wanted to be able to put bread on the stone or something, on a flat pan and done, not have it sitting inside other pots (dutch ovens) - saves on cleaning. Is there a recommendation on the oven type then for this instead of those cloches and other things which seem like something you place bread into?

Shape wise, I am not too fussed about shapes. Once it goes in your mouth, it will end up looking the same regardless so I rather save the time than mucking around with shape. Generally I have always liked what they call cobs down here, which is a round shaped bread anyway. Grandparents always had the round one I remember as a kid, so that kind of always stuck with me.

Stuff like the following:

Question 3 

If I can get these type of breads, thats good enough for me. Round or that long oval shape. The main thing I am aiming for is that crunchy thick crust these have with that soft and squishy inside that makes it a dream to eat. That is why I was wondering about a specific oven type. Would I need something like a rofco (or something else) or would a regular 4 stove burner, domestic electric oven do the job?

Question 4

Also if anyone on  this forum is in Australia - What kind of regular stove top/oven can I get that isn't a disaster?

Brands seem to suck in the range I am looking at and reviews all complain about something on everything.

I was looking at 60cm free-standing-ovens. 4 gas burners, electric oven. There is Westinghouse, Beko, Smegg, Beling, Ariston, Bosch, etc  etc. Every retailing outlet is saying to buy the Smegg due to 'thermoseal' technology, nearly costs $3000 but every review I ever read says how it cooks in the oven poorly, the thing breaks down after a year or 2 of use etc etc and you are just paying a luxury fee on design while the oven itself is garbage which is the total opposite of what the retailers tell you how it cooks evenly and in business last 100 years and one of the best brands available. I even read people on forums say how "smegg" is the italian word for... (well you can finish the rest, you get the idea).

If I can get those breads I posted in a regular domestic oven with a 4 top gas burner, then cool. What functions should I look for on a regular oven. If I cant and will need a dedicated bread oven, then it comes back to which type for those results remembering I am not trying to add bread into a dutch oven, but sit it on a stone/pan in the open.

Thanks

PS: I guess it is a good thing to say, I like bread made from 100% rye. 100% spelt or a mix of 50% spelt and 50% rye. I generally don't bother with wheat because spelt and rye have so much more flavor. White breads have no nutrition so I tend to seldomly eat those. Don't know if that will change your suggestions or not but at least it gives you a good idea of what I am trying to achieve (with the pictures) and what flours I tend to want to use to achieve those results. 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Question 1 -  air tends to dry out the surface of the dough - that is exactly opposite of what we want to do at the start.  Having elements at the bottom would be helpful only if you can turn the fan off .  Also,  cooking faster isn't always better, or I would bake my bread in a pizza oven at 800 F.  We want the loaf to expand, then conduct heat all the way to the center to avoid a gummy or undercooked center. 

Question 2  I understand you want to avoid placing it in something, many don't want do that for fear of burning themselves on a hot, preheated DO.  You can just buy a cordierite stone, or even a baking steel, and a peel and cook on that.  The benefit of the DO is if sized properly, you get a moist environment during the first part of baking.  Without an enclosure, you should get better results if you introduce moisture into the oven during the first part of baking.

Question 3 - we refer to the first photo and last photos are called a boule  -  basically a round ball of dough. I couldn't find the  1st photo on the Lizzy T site, though my guess is that is was a no knead loaf that was baked in a DO.  The third photo was shaped and then final proofed in a banneton.  Yes, any of  those breads can be made in a decent electric oven, though beware, most photos on the internet are not the standard outcome - instead, it is one of that person's best outcome - that is why the took photos. 

Question 4,  Never been to Australia, so can't help, nor can I help with the 100% rye, other than rye is very difficult to get to rise ,  it is usually pretty dense.  Here ,  most bread sold as rye bread are not 100% rye. 

 

 

Random's picture
Random

Thanks for that.

I cant buy 100% rye here either. Its usually a mix of 50% rye and 50% wholemeal, or spelt/rye etc. But... I wouldn't mind trying :)

I understand not every loaf will look picture perfect like that, but, thats pretty much the idea I have, thick and crunchy crust (as that is what that looks like to me) and a soft inside.

If any decent electric oven can achieve those results (crunchy crust and soft inside) such as pictured... then what on earth is even the point to worrying about stone deck ovens, this that and the other if any oven can do that? Sounds like a waste of money worrying about other stuff then.

I assume whichever regular oven/stove top I get, It needs to have the ability to turn the fan off correct? I found 1 oven we are interested in, just because we know the brand is reliable, but it has no ability to turn the fan off.

Melbourne Park's picture
Melbourne Park

"When hot air blows on you, much like cold air... you feel it more. Take a winters day for example. If there is no wind, it feels  ok but as soon as wind blows you feel the cold a lot more. Or a bathtub with very hot water. Once you manage to get in it very slowly (that hot), if you just sit there, it is ok, but start moving around and it starts to burn you.

It seems that the moving heat is what makes it hotter than the stagnant heat. "

Radiated heat is what you get near a fire. You might be put camping, its cold, and winding. But the radiated heat from the fire goes straight through the wind, and heats you.

Same with cooking food - radiated heat affects food differently than air does. Which is why people are saying all you need is dutch oven - because that is metal, and it radiates heat. It absorbs heat from the oven, it gets hot, and then inside, it radiates heat into the food, in this case bread. 

So, others have said the most affordable way is a dutch oven ... I would advise, get a cast iron one, that is thick (therefore heavy). I was in Germany a few years ago in a department store, and I was surprised by the great value of all the pots and pans so beautifully made yet available for reasonable prices. The Silit German brand ones though (we have several which are passed down from parents) which were cast iron - cost a fortune. You get what you pay for. 

I am in Melbourne, but I haven't bought an oven for many years. I agree, it's a difficult thing to do and technology is confusing. You need to do lots of research, and take your time!!! And when you establish what you want, then focus on waiting a long time so that you can get one for a good price. June might be the best time now as the Boxing day sales are likely over. 

Melbourne Park's picture
Melbourne Park

This site talks about radiated heat - I've quoted the last paragraph. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonry_oven

 

AGA sell radiated heat ovens including in Australia, but they are expensive. Note that any glass door oven cannot be radiating much heat at all from the glass door. 

 

Quote:

 

It is possible to get some of the benefits of a masonry oven without constructing a full oven. The most common method is the stoneware pizza stone, which stores heat while the oven is preheating and transmits it directly to the bottom of the pizza. Common firebricks can be used in a similar manner to cover a shelf. Bread and meat can be cooked in a type of covered ceramic casserole dish known variously as a cloche, a Schlemmertopf (brand name), or the like. Good results can also be had by cooking the bread in a pre-heated Dutch oven with a well-fitting lid. Most expensive is a ceramic or stoneware oven liner that provides many of the benefits of a cloche without restricting the baker to one size of pan.

 

It is sometimes possible to cook bread on a grill to simulate the use of radiant heat in a masonry oven; while this is generally reserved for flatbreads and pizzas, a few recipes for loaf breads are designed to use a grill as well, with or without a masonry or ceramic heating surface.

Melbourne Park's picture
Melbourne Park

The AGAman has a reconditioned one for sale. This guy has serviced these for 50 years. he'd have to assemble it and put in the gas and the flu, so insist on installation!! The oven would be worth new $20k. They don't wear out either. While that's an expensive loaf of bread, it also cooks cakes and meat exceptionally well!! Check eBay: Brittish Green AGA These rarely come up!!

Melbourne Park's picture
Melbourne Park

An earlier post mentioned Cloches - you put them in an oven, and they absorb the heat. Here are some Amazon examples:

https://www.amazon.com.au/s?k=Romertopf+by+Reston+Lloyd+Modern+Series+Natural+Clay&ref=nb_sb_noss

German clay ones, just one brand.

Emile Henry make metal ones in France that seem tailored for a particular shape. They would last for ever, but they are not cheap. Then, French cast enamelled iron has never been cheap, but it lasts forever.

https://shop.emilehenry.com/en/202-bread-cloche.html#/36-couleur-charcoal

The companies that make flour mills often sell bread cloches along with their flour mills. Rubbish in - rubbish out as far as the milling companies go, but also, the oven is important. In between is ourselves, and there's lots of fun going on there ...

Melbourne Park's picture
Melbourne Park

As far as ovens go, a friend just ordered a Chef oven from A&S. They are made in Australia, and are very affordable, and seem to be good. Made I think in Adelaide. They evidently are both fan and conventional ovens. It seems to me get one large enough to be able to put a bread cloche or a few cloches into the oven! Good luck.

Melbourne Park's picture
Melbourne Park

Not sure how heavy this is ... IMO the more metal, the better. But caste iron radiates heat extremely well. This one seems pretty large and its cheap IMO https://www.amazon.com.au/Fresh-Australian-Kitchen-Pre-Seasoned-Casserole/dp/B07V32FG4Q/ref=pd_sbs_2?pd_rd_w=0FdTH&pf_rd_p=a6d1a7fa-be9f-400d-a02f-155... Black also would absorb heat quicker IMO. But a Euro brand might be a show peace!!