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Baking bread with convection.


CaliPoutine
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We have a brand new oven. A GE profile, dual fuel with convection. I baked some cookies with the convection feature and they came out great. I was hesitant to bake a loaf of bread using the convection feature though. I'm not sure why, I thought it might deflate it or dry it out.

What do you think? Yes or No?

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I've been baking bread in a convection oven since the earliest ones came on the market.

I reduce the temp 25 degrees F and when preparing a new type, watch to see how fast it bakes, some take significantly less time than a convectional oven.

To make sure, I use an instant read thermometer to be sure the interior temp is 190 degrees F for a regular pan loaf of white or whole wheat, 200 degrees for French, Italian or rustic "artisan" type breads baked on a stone.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I've been baking bread in a convection oven since the earliest ones came on the market. 

I reduce the temp 25 degrees F and when preparing a new type, watch to see how fast it bakes, some take significantly less time than a convectional oven.

To make sure, I use an instant read thermometer to be sure the interior temp is 190 degrees F for a regular pan loaf of white or whole wheat, 200 degrees for French, Italian or rustic "artisan" type breads baked on a stone.

My new oven automatically reduces the temp by 25F if I use the convection feature. I made a honey oat sandwich loaf( KA flour whole grain baking). I used the regular oven and it came out fine. Next time I'll try the convection.

Is there a benefit to using the convection feature?

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My new oven automatically reduces the temp by 25F if I use the convection feature.    I made a honey oat sandwich loaf( KA flour whole grain baking).  I used the regular oven and it came out fine.  Next time I'll try the convection.

Is there a benefit to using the convection feature?

A convection oven circulates the air, allowing more hot air to come into contact with the food. More contact = quicker cooking at the same temperature as a non-convection oven. It also means a nicer crust on whatever you're cooking (usually a good thing, bad for some things though).

For bread, convection is definitely nice. For cookies, again, convection rules. For say, creme brulee, you want the convection off. Roasting meats, convection is great since you get a nice searing effect on the outside of the meat.

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Convection ovens work fine for bread, but if you do not have steam injection you might want to turn the convection off for the first few minutes of the bake to let the steam gelatanise the surface to give you a better crust.

Alternatively bake inside a large heavy pre-heated casserole, like a le Crueset. Remove the lid after 10 minutes

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You only need steam in the first few minutes.

At the end of the bake you want dry heat to crisp the crust.

The dough (which is about a third water) will also release steam, and if the oven is a closed box like a casserole (most are not) will be enough.

You can put a cast iron pan to preheat, and throw a mugful of water into it to give a burst of superheated steam (care!) when you put the dough in, but the fan in a convection oven will blow it away, unless turned off.

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My experience with our new convection oven has been that it takes a little trial and error to figure out what temperature and for how long anything will bake!

With bread, the biggest trouble I was having for a while was that the tops browned too much before the loaves were baked all the way through. To be fair, the only change I was making was to decrease the temperature 25° and the baking time by roughly 30%... but when I made my "everyday bread" (which I bake in heavy commercial Pullman pans, sans the tops,) the loaves kept coming out nearly burned on top and all doughy in the middle.

After much trial and error, I found that I had to decrease the temperature by an *additional* 25°F (down to 400° from 450°F) and the loaves come out perfect in about 15-18 minutes (rather than the original 20-25.)

You probably know this (although I was ignorant of the facts before I got my oven and started doing some research,) but there are two kinds of convection ovens widely available for home use... some have the normal two elements and a fan to circulate the air already heated in the oven. Others (like mine) have a third element behind the circulating fan, so the oven is actually blowing *heated* air around. I'm not sure if this has something to do with why I have drop the temperature twice what is recommended for most ovens & converted recipes... but I'll bet someone around here could provide some insight!

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