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Old 11-17-2006, 08:38 PM   #1
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Is there a different method of baking in a convection oven?

I made a loaf in a convection oven. I used the same recipe i did for my usual conventional oven loaves. However, it turned out as though the bread was grilled on top and not done at the bottom. Is there a different way of making bread in a convection oven? Does the loaf have to be shorter so it allows air to flow throughout the oven? Can a baking tray be used?

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Old 11-17-2006, 11:04 PM   #2
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generally, the main differences in cooking are that it takes less time and some things can dry out a bit. however, you do have to be careful of hot spots, and in my experience this is a quirky issue. no two ovens seem to be the same. you might expect that the area directly hit by the fan to be the hottest and fastest cooking, but i find that hot spots can develop here and there, depending on the size, shape & number of pans.

convection ovens here in japan have the fans on all the time, but professional ovens i've used in the past usually had a switch to have the fan either on or off. if you have no control over the fan, try to keep your loaves centered in the oven with as much space between the loaves themselves and the walls, top & bottom of the oven to allow for better circulation. the only other lame advice i can think of is, try to place the pans a little bit further away from the areas where you've observed the hot spots to be.

you can use a baking sheet for bagguettes, etc. but the large sheet will further reduce or at least complicate the air circulation pattern. so if you were to place a regular loaf pan on top of a baking sheet, most likely either other hot spots would develop or not enough heat would reach that area of the oven. but, there's also a chance it could work out great. the only way to find out it to experiment.

best of luck
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Old 11-18-2006, 03:23 AM   #3
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Ardor, the advice given by philso just about summarizes what can be said about the issue of convection against conventional oven. I would like to reiterate the fact that you must experiment with the convection oven so as to get your own feel as to what baking temperature may be suitable for different jobs. This is so because for any oven, when we say "baking temperature" what we really mean is "dial position." Thus if two different ovens are set to the same dial position, they will rarely produce exactly the same temperature. For this reason, experimentation will give you the experience (ie. a number of failed attempts) you need to become at home with any new oven.

The other important point raised by philso is that internal air circulation within a convection oven should not be inhibited by large baking pans or sheets, otherwise hotter areas may be created in the same manner as colder regions are created in an overstuffed refrigerator.

In my case, I have experienced no problem by switching to a professional convection oven. On the contrary, my cookies turned out more evenly baked and my roasts also turned out well. Perhaps a small household convection oven might not perform just the same. As philso mentioned, an oversized or high-speed fan could very well cause some complications during baking.
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ardor
I made a loaf in a convection oven. I used the same recipe i did for my usual conventional oven loaves. However, it turned out as though the bread was grilled on top and not done at the bottom. Is there a different way of making bread in a convection oven? Does the loaf have to be shorter so it allows air to flow throughout the oven? Can a baking tray be used?
Would you please clarify whether or nor you are using a bread pan for the bread or are the loaves formed and sitting on a flat sheet pan? In my restaurant we use a convection oven for baking bread which is formed and placed on a flat sheet pan and it turns out uniformly cooked and browned.

You will not have very good results using a baking pan to form the loaf since the top of the bread will be exposed to circulating hot air but the rest of the loaf is protected from the hot air by the pan and will take longer to cook than the top. Shiny reflective pans will give more uniform results than dark colored pans due to the greater absorbtion of heat by the darker pans. The container or pan plays a larger part in the outcome of the baked food in a convection oven than in a conventional oven.
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