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Best baking results

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Thank you very much for taking the time to join us. :smile: Convection ovens are becoming more popular all the time. I myself have two :blink: .

For best baking results, in your opinion, which is better to use, convection or regular? Are there certain things that are better using convection or should never be baked with convection?



Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Thanks for the question. My true speciality is French bread, and for best results,

loaves should be baked in a hearth oven- on the floor of the oven that is- in the presence of steam during the first minutes of baking. The steam condenses on the out side of the loaves and allows them to rise more before they become prisoners of their own crust. This leads to a thinner, crispier crust, and also a warm brown color ( bread baked without steam is greyish). I'll talk more about steam in one of the following questions.

Convection ovens work well for pastries, and are terrific for puff pastry and croissants. I haven't worked with them for bread, but fear that the greater speed of convection baking would hasten crust formation, and the too-quickly formed crust would inhibit oven spring.

I have only dabbled with regular home ovens for French breads, but Jeffrey Hamelman or Susan Miller at the baking school at King Arthur Flour might have some good ideas

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's amazing how good a loaf of bread can be baked in a home oven, convection or other. Sure, mortgage the house, buy a $50,000 hearth oven, and live in the car if you want, but first try doing the best job possible in the humble home oven. Even for French bread, great results can come. There are, of course, a few rules to follow:

1. Use a baking stone and preheat your oven hot hot hot (unless your bread has lots of fat, milk, sugar in it, in which case you'll need to lower the heat or the bread will darken too quickly). Remember that you'll lose a good bit of heat in the process of steaming and loading the bread, so don't be afraid to start at 480F or so.

2. For steam, preheat a heavy cast iron pan along with the baking stone. It must be saturated with heat. Just before the bake, I bring 1 cup of water to the boil. With gloves and a long sleeved shirt, pour the water into the pan just after you've slashed and loaded the bread. You'll get copious steam. Close the door quickly and resist any urge to open it for at least 15 minutes.

3. You may need to lower the oven to finish the bake, but that initial smack of heat will help a lot toward achieving maximum loaf volume.

Baguettes may be hard to do, since baking stones are usually not more than 16" in diameter, but ovals or rounds, rolls or smaller baguettes are feasible. There's something on the market called a hearth kit, which is a pizza stone with sides and a back--it is meant to give lots more heat radiation and therefore better simulate the baker's steam oven. I have used the hearth kit with great results.

Enjoy the bake,


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