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Looking for a Better Bread Rise with Convection


lizztwozee
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Greetings, bread experts! I've been baking in a commercial gas convection oven for loaves sold at a Farmer's Market, and struggling to get the same spectacular rise I used to, out of my electric oven. I've learned a few things: proofing for longer in the pans makes breads rise higher in the oven; just a little overproofed results in a higher rise in the oven, for some reason. Also using a stone makes a big dif! Even when strap pans are just placed on the stone, the breads seem to be higher. And using steam, of course. But still not nearly as good as with an electric oven, on a stone, with steam just sprayed.

I'm wondering if my first bulk rise could be cooler, and it would create more energy for the second rise, and final oven burst. Currently, I'm bulk rising in a warming oven at 100 degrees or slightly over, for about 1.5 hours. Maybe a cooler 90 degrees (or lower?), for longer would help?

I'm also wondering if turning off the fan for the first 5 minutes or so would make for a higher initial burst, when steam is applied to the sides with a sprayer (also over the tops of the loaves). I've read that gas won't give the same results as electric, and that turning off the fans results in not much.

I've also been told that using a cover, sprayed on the inside with water, over the loaves works well. I've had limited success as far as getting my loaves to look like their electric counterparts, with this technique. And it's a pain!

What's your experience/recommendation?

Lizz

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"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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Here are a couple of photos that will illustrate the sorry story; note how lovely the multiple breads are with regards to rise and color, in comparison to the flat single loaf! Gaaaaaa. Amazingly, my breads are raved about, and sell out every weekend. I think some of the people are being fooled all of the time!

http://caledonia.patch.com/blog_posts/flax-seed-whole-wheat-bread-by-the-traveling-chef#photo-6696514

Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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Hmm, I'm wondering if it's the oven, or the climate/environment of the kitchen....assuming that since you're baking in a diff oven, you're also using a fairly new workspace for the other steps. I don't think the flatter loaf is unattractive, it's just different. If the crumb & crust are good, then it's not all bad. If the loaves suffered, your customers would let you know, right?

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Interesting observation, HungryC -- I'm baking in a kitchen that's connected to a meat processing plant, so the temperature is around 62-65 degrees. That's why I need to use the warming ovens for the bulk fermentation; perhaps since the rest and second rise are out of the ovens, at that temperature, it's too cold? I always assume a slow rise is better, and I do get a decent rise the second time, before placing in the oven.

Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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Sounds like maybe you could use more steam during the initial bake. If you're only spraying the walls once, and running convection, the steam might be driven away too fast causing the crust to set up too fast. Consider adding a pan on the oven bottom and tossing in some ice or water, along with spraying.

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I turn off the fan and use bottom heat only for the first 20 minutes, and I also put in a panful of boiling water with the bread. After about 20 minutes (when the rising is complete), I remove the pan of water, and turn the fan on.

Unless I'm in a rush, I have the bread rise outside the oven, for as long as it takes; rise, texture, and flavour are significantly better.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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TheTinCook: Great suggestion. I have a beat-up small sheet pan with some broken pieces of the same stone that lines the oven racks, which I can put hot water in, and not worry about it warping; I've always felt I need more steam. Good point. Mjx: My breads take only 15-20 mins. to bake at 400 degrees convection, so I'm thinking of letting them rise without convection for the first 10 minutes. I have to think the rise would be complete by then.

I'm also thinking of carrying in water, instead of using the city water at the kitchen; I've noticed when I first turn it on, it's red with iron (probably because no one has used the faucet for a week!), but maybe that indicates that the water is very hard; we have a well that must be less mineral-infused than that.

I measured the height of a 26 oz. (weight before baking) loaf I baked at home in a 1-lb tin -- 6 inches. That's my goal!

Can't wait to try everything this Friday, will post! Thanks, all.

Lizz

---

"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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Here's another thing you might try. I used this on my old gas non convection oven.

Preheat the oven to 375 deg F or so. Put the bread in, crank the dial to 500 deg F. Leave it for a few minutes, then dial it back to your initial baking temp.

This is so you get a big rush of heat when you put the bread in. Big heat increase promotes oven spring.

The way the oven's normal cycle is, it won't fire up the gas fast enough when you open the door, even though you lose ~50 deg F. It takes a while for the heat to redistribute and the thermocouple to react.

I also used split pavers to line the bottom of my oven to bake bread on. There were approx 1" thick, so I had thermal capacity to spare.

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different oven and different result, im guessing everything else is the same and it seems elementary but have you put a thermometer in the oven to see what the actual temps are. A lot of ovens dont run at the temp you think they are at. And every kitchen ive been in, you temp a row of ovens all set to 350 and you get different temps sometimes upto 10 degree difference. When cooking not a big deal but when baking and looking for oven spring it becomes a different story

<<Edit>>

PS i know your probably not stupid but for those that are I dont mean stick your regular or candy thermometer in the oven, they make thermometers for ovens. I mention this only because I saw a culinary student do this just last semester.

Edited by brokenscale (log)
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Good observation, brokenscale! Yes, I've checked and the oven is dead on. TheTinCook, I'm trying your suggestion, it's a good one. I have to open the big "suicide" doors for at least 1-2 minutes, in order to load the oven with the multiple small loaves that go 'way in the back, with a peel. Having the stone on the rack really helps with the spring and temperature consistency, I'm convinced.

breads_kitchen.jpg

Lizz

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"you miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

-Wayne Gretzky

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