The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

new oven new question

benjamin163's picture
benjamin163

new oven new question

Hello,

I have just acquired a new oven full of useless tech.

One of the things it has is pre-set programmes for things like bread.

For this programme it suggests I put the bread in a cold oven and bake for 50-60 mins.

My question is, do you think it's wise to put bread in a cold oven? 

I believe the pre set programme adds some steam (I don't know how much). But I'm wondering if it's counter productive putting my loaf in a cold oven, especially if I'm using a baking stone which will be cold.

I did try this setting with some loaf tin bread and I must say the crust came out lovely although I hadn't done a great job at the proving stage and didn't get much tension into my surface.

So, hot or cold oven, or are there benefits to each?

Any help gratefully received.

Thanks

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

It depends what the formula author intended.  

When a baker designs and tests their formula for baking a certain way, and then you make changes to that baker's formula (ingredients + procedures), then all bets are off. You are blazing a new trail.  Your changes might make no difference, or might improve things, or might be detrimental.

For yeasted or sourdough, starting from a cold oven extends the time of the final proof, and adds a higher temp to part of that extra proof.  Ovens don't go from room temp to 140 F instantaneously. So there will be at least a few minutes where the warmth will accelerate fermentation, before the temp finally gets high enough to kill the yeast. Then remember that the inner core of the dough comes up to temp even slower.

How much additional  proofing-time and proofing-temp  it adds depends on how fast your cold oven heats up, and how your baking vessel, stone, or stone + cover heats up and transfers heat to what's inside it.

The effect on the crust may be observable, or maybe not. A preheated oven would set/harden the crust sooner and at a faster speed, the cold oven sets it later, and at a slower speed.

It looks to me like your baking changes will need to be experimented with in a trial and error fashion... try it, observe, analyze, adjust, repeat.

Sounds like fun.

Bon appétit, amigo.

benjamin163's picture
benjamin163

What a fantastically interesting reply.

I'm going to go and do some experimenting!

When you say "starting from a cold oven extends the time of the final proof, and adds a higher temp to part of that extra proof." do you mean that I'm supposed to extend the final proof time a little longer than usual before baking and then make the target oven temp a little higher? For all its complications, I must say the oven heats up pretty quickly and to the precise temp I set. If the target temp is 200c it gets there in about 5 or 6 mins.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

"When you say "starting from a cold oven extends the time of the final proof, and adds a higher temp to part of that extra proof." do you mean that...."

No. What I meant to point out is that for those minutes where the dough has not reached the temp where yeast die off (call it 140 F), the yeast are still alive and the dough is therefore fermenting/proofing.

Regular, non-convection, ovens take 30 to 45 minutes to pre-heat. Therefore, if you start in a cold oven, the dough will spend more time in the oven, sitting there, at a temperature where the yeast are alive and working.

If the oven is pre-heated, ie. well past 140 F, then little fermenting/proofing is going on.

--

"the oven heats up pretty quickly and to the precise temp I set. If the target temp is 200c it gets there in about 5 or 6 mins."

Sounds like a convection oven.  If that is so, then it is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish.  Most convection-oven bakers enclose the dough in a dutch oven, or cover it with an upturned pot on the baking stone... so that the movng hot air does not prematurely set/harden the crust and dry it out.

Again, if the formula author designed and tested their formula for a specific type of oven, such as a non-fan oven, with an electric heating element at the bottom, and then you bake it in a fan (convection) oven, with the heating element at the top, or along the back wall, or hidden, then you have some exploring / experimenting / adjusting to do.

If a modern formula author doesn't specify exactly which type of oven they used, you can generally assume a conventional electric oven, no fan, with the electrical heating element at the bottom.

A good portion of the problems/questions that newcomers bring to TFL concern convection ovens, and other ovens with "top heat."

benjamin163's picture
benjamin163

Again, thank you.

I'm in the lucky position to have an oven which allows steam to be introduced. two in fact.

I can have that steam introduced with convection or without.

It sounds to me like I should experiment with a normal top/bottom heat and some steam. That might create the 'dutch oven' effect maybe? I'm thinking I'll get the oven up to temperature, then introduce the loaves with some steam. I'm hoping that will create a nice, risen loaf.

I shall also try a loaf in a cold oven which will introduce steam as it warms. That, I believe, is the pre-set programme they have done for 'bread' for that oven.

I've read that steam is only needed for the first 10 minutes of baking. Do you see any advantage of having steam for the whole of the baking time?

Also, in my second oven (which can also introduce steam) there are three steam settings. Low, medium and high. I notice when they give instructions for baking bread that they suggest medium steam. Would you concur? Is loads of steam better than a little steam? What are the rules there? Again, it doesn't suggest introducing steam only at the beginning. Is steam throughout better than steam only at the beginning I wonder.

I guess getting a proper understanding of what steam actually achieves would help. My understanding is that steam prevents the crust from forming hard early, therefore encouraging more 'spring' in the loaf. Is that right? If that's the case then I guess steam throughout the baking time can't harm matters. I'm also thinking after reading your thoughts that cooking from a cold oven must help the spring as, again, you're giving the loaf time to rise before the crust sets.

Apologies for the bombardment! Fascinating stuff.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Now that I know you have a combination convection/steam oven, I'll step aside and let those experts help.   

I'm only vaguely familiar with those kinds of  ovens, and only via reading TFL. I  haven't actually used one. 

For those following along, here are two links for the two ovens that you mention below:

https://www.aeg.co.uk/kitchen/cooking/ovens/steam-oven/bse792320m/

https://www.siemens-home.bsh-group.com/ae/inspiration/innovation/highlights/iq700#/Togglebox=5340439-5343689-1/

 I'm glad barryvabeach joined in. He's a long term TFL member.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Is there a formula or recipe to follow?

cold oven?  Yes, I've done it.  It can work.

benjamin163's picture
benjamin163

Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately as with so many of these new fangled contraptions, they have different advice for different breads but with no explanation whatsoever as to why.

For instance they suggest cooking a 900g loaf in convection mode at between 180-200c with no steam for 20-30 mins.

But right underneath, they suggest exactly the same quantity in a convection oven, this time with medium steam added and at 190-200 for 30-40 mins. 

So it seems like they are saying adding steam means adding time and also a little temperature. But they don't say what the different results should be or why. Most annoying. I guess I'll just have to bake loads of bread and see for myself!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

 

deleted 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Benjamin,  tell us what ovens you have, many have looked for ovens with steam injection.

You asked 

I guess getting a proper understanding of what steam actually achieves would help. My understanding is that steam prevents the crust from forming hard early, therefore encouraging more 'spring' in the loaf. Is that right? If that's the case then I guess steam throughout the baking time can't harm matters. I'm also thinking after reading your thoughts that cooking from a cold oven must help the spring as, again, you're giving the loaf time to rise before the crust sets.

While not everyone agrees, most believe that steam in the early part of the bake does exactly what you say.  Steam throughout the entire bake can hurt if you want a brown or crispy crust.  Most stop introducing steam ( or if cooking in a dutch oven - remove the lid ) part way through the cooking to get the crust to brown.  While there are a wide variety of times suggested,  I suggest you start at steam for the first third and no steam, and oven vented to allow any moisture that is generated from cooking the bread ,  for the remaining two thirds.  If you find the crust is too dark and crunchy, increase the steam timing, if the crust is too pale and moist, decrease.

 As to the cold oven, the results are mixed.  Some suggest that the initial burst of heat when the loaf hits a preheated stone helps with oven spring,  others have tested loaves loaded into preheated dutch ovens v. cold dutch ovens and found no difference.

BTW, when you say steam, does the oven actually have a boiler than injects steam, or does it just inject water and the heat of the oven turns it to steam?  On my combi oven you can hear the boiler making steam, and it actually has a steam only mode, so it is not just water being added. 

If it has its own boiler, then generally, adding steam means the food would cook quicker not slower.  If it is just adding water, it takes a lot of energy to convert that to steam, and that could be why they suggest a longer time when baking with steam, though that is just a guess.

As to level of steam, I would go high steam at first, assuming that would maximize oven spring, though again, you will want to play with timing of when you stop steaming

 

benjamin163's picture
benjamin163

For sure,

I have an AEG bse792320m and an siemens IQ700.

Both offer steam injection.

The AEG is slightly more versatile and offers a full steam function.

The IQ700 is slightly less versatile but offers three levels of steam when you use the conventional oven or the convection.

I have had good results so far and it's a joy not to be pouring boiling water from a kettle into a pan at the base of the oven and hoping for the best!

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Benjamin,  if you are on facebook, there is a group on using combi ovens  https://www.facebook.com/groups/combisteamcooking/?multi_permalinks=2501507026661654  and occasionally there are posts about bread,  

benjamin163's picture
benjamin163

Very helpful reply, thank you for taking the time.

Yes the ovens do inject actual steam which is nice. I can vent or block the vent in one of them too so that's something to experiment with for sure.

It's funny how there is no real definite answer on hot or cold oven isn't it. I've done both but frankly there are so many inconsistencies factoring into the final result it's all something of a guessing game.

The good thing is that the process is enjoyable so I'll keep tinkering and putting up results. Thanks again for your reply.

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Benjamin,  there are only a few people who use combi ovens, and the modes are often described differently  ( Gaggeneau's setting of " 30% steam " is actually no steam, but vents closed , others use different terms for that )  so do some experimenting and post your results. 

barryvabeach's picture
barryvabeach

Benjamin,  there are only a few people who use combi ovens, and the modes are often described differently  ( Gaggeneau's setting of " 30% steam " is actually no steam, but vents closed , others use different terms for that )  so do some experimenting and post your results. 

Lately,  I have been getting pretty good results with a countertop non convection non combi oven, but using Sylvia's steaming towels https://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20162/oven-steaming-my-new-favorite-way#:~:text=Placed%202%20water%20soaked%20towels,loaf%20pan%20from%20the%20oven.   When I open the door at the end of the first third, tons of visible steam comes out.