Convection oven works great

Return to FAQs page

People have asked whether our recipes can be made in convection ovens. They can, and the only reason we didn’t mention convection ovens in our first book is that most people don’t have them.

But convection ovens do a great job with bread– the bread browns easier and rises higher when the convection fan is blowing. After ten years of living with a broken convection fan, we finally had a mechanic look at it who knew how to fix it. So I’ve been re-testing everything with convection.  First, lower the heat by 25 degrees F. Make sure that the convection fan isn’t fooling your thermostat (use an oven thermometer).

For a loaf-pan bread made from Italian Peasant Bread dough (page 46 of ABin5), the loaf baked faster than usual (about 25 to 30 minutes), rose higher, browned more deeply, and was more attractive. The pan was placed directly on the stone near the center of the oven and baked with steam (page 30). The loaf was heavenly when cooled and cut. Perfect custard crumb (dough was a week old) and richly carmelized crust.

In many convection ovens, you will need to be more attentive to turning the loaf around, at least once at the midpoint of baking or beyond. Otherwise you’ll get uneven browning.

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.

Return to FAQs page

Pin It

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

148 thoughts on “Convection oven works great

  1. Thanks for the great book! I’m having one problem: we have a commercial restaurant stove with two ovens: one small and one large. I’ve only used the smaller oven to bake bread. I’ve found that I need to bake the bread much longer than your recipes call for, and even so the crust does not brown much. I tried raising the temperature and got slightly better results, but the crusts are still quite pale. What could be wrong?

  2. Hi Susan,

    There are a couple of things you can check. First make sure you are using an oven thermometer, if your oven is running cool it will have a big effect. If this isn’t it…what shelf are you baking the bread on? Unfortunately there was a typo in the first edition of the book which tells you to bake the bread on the bottom rack. It should really be in the middle. Having the baking stone higher in the oven will help with the color.
    Let me know if any of this sounds like it might be the problem. If not, give me more details and we will work this out!
    Thanks, Zoe

  3. Susan:
    If the problem isn’t oven temperature, and you’re using a full cup of water in the broiler tray to create steam, you can try the method we detail on page 21 of the book. Do about two-thirds of the baking on a low shelf right on the stone. For the last third, transfer the loaf to a top shelf (with nothing under it). In some ovens, that really helps. What loaves have you tried? Pure white is the most difficult to brown; even a little rye or whole wheat makes it a bit easier. Jeff

  4. Thanks to both of you! With a little experimenting with the oven thermometer, I learned that my oven takes much longer to preheat than I thought, so I was putting the bread in when the oven was too cold. Fixing that, plus moving the shelf up to the middle of the oven, made for perfectly browned loaves (and they rise higher in the oven too.) My family likes your European Peasant Bread recipe the bread (and the sticky caramel rolls) the best. Thanks again for the great book!

  5. Your welcome, and thanks for hanging in there with our approach. Occasionally, in some ovens, it takes a bit of tweaking. Jeff

  6. Thanks for the book! Im wondering if you have any comments or thoughts on baking in a le creuset cast iron. I have a just under 3 qt which seems nice for a loaf? I havent yet purchased a baking stone and pizza peel.

  7. Candye:
    Our non-enriched doughs work beautifully in Creuset or other brands of cast-iron pans. Much has been written lately about covered cast-iron pans, which prevent water from evaporating. This makes both the stone and the water in the broiler pan unnecessary. You need to pre-heat the Creuset for a half-hour, and then nudge a rested free-form loaf into the hot pan without burning yourself, but it works very nicely.
    Jeff

  8. Greetings. I have a question regarding the temperature of the dough. Here’s the background:

    I put up a batch of the master recipe using King Arthur All Purpose flour and put it in my new fridge at 38 degrees back on New Year’s Day. Yesterday (6 Jan) I made a large loaf using all I had of minus one previously baked loaf.

    I shaped it (never my strong point) and put it on the peel. It seem to keep spreading so, for the first time ever, I kept pushing it back into a tighter ball, using flour on my hands to avoid stickyness.

    I let the dough rest a good 90 minutes before putting it into the oven (the thermometer inside confirmed the temperature 450)with the convection fan on.

    In short order I could see the loaf had “blown out” from the bottom. It probably had to do with my reshaping but I wondered, and here’s my question, is there any minimum temperature (no less than X degrees)the dough should be before it is put into the oven?

    Baking the loaf I got a beautifully browned top with a crackling crust but, to quote my son, it looked like a very large mushroom.

    I think the next time I bake I’ll let the dough rest in a basket like I’ve done before.

    Is there anything to consider regarding the temperature of the dough?

  9. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for trying the bread. You’ve brought up an interesting issue. Our dough is quite wet and will definitely spread while it rests, especially if you are baking a larger loaf. It does however have quite a bit of oven spring and will still rise nicely, despite the spread. My recommendation is to handle the dough as little as possible, even if you are tempted to reshape.

    If the dough is sticking to the peel or cutting board I will nudge the dough a bit and sprinkle additional cornmeal under it right before slashing and putting it in the oven. Especially if you are letting it sit for extended times the wet dough will absorb some of the cornmeal and may need some added to get it off the peel.

    We’ve avoided taking our dough’s temperature so as not to intimidate anyone who is not used to using thermometers for baking bread. A good rule of thumb is that the dough shouldn’t be cold to the touch when you put it in the oven. Your rise of 90 minutes would have definitely been a sufficient rise unless it is in a particularly cool spot in the house.

    The only other suggestion is to make sure you are slashing your loaf deeply enough, a 1/4″ is about right. That way it will have plenty of room to expand when it springs in the oven.

    Let me know if any of this is helpful.

    Thanks, Zoe

  10. Thanks. I’ll follow your directions when I bake this weekend. As far as sticking to the peel, that last boule was the first time I didn’t cheat with your recipe by placing a piece of parchment paper between the peel and the resting dough.

  11. Hi Dave,

    I realized after I posted my response that you hadn’t even mentioned anything about dough sticking to the peel! How did it go without the parchment? Do you find your crust is better one way or the other?

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing how it goes next time!

    Zoe

  12. I had a great deal of corn meal on the peel when I didn’t use the parchment paper and I had little trouble getting the dough onto the stone.

    That said, using parchment paper on the peel is pretty foolproof. The weight of the dough takes the loaf and the parchment paper right off the peel and onto the baking stone.

    I can’t answer about the crust as the last loaf, which was an aesthetic failure, was the first one i baked long enough to get a beautiful browned crust.

    I’ll let you know what happens this weekend.

  13. I just made this bread for the first time yesterday and I am so pleased! It is by far the best (and easiest!) bread I’ve ever made. I wonder whether I can use convection with the dough placed right on the baking stone? MANY THANKS.

  14. Hi Karen,

    Yes, the convection works not only with the loaf pan but with the dough directly on the stone as well. You need to be careful of the intensity of heat with convection and turn down the temperature. most convection ovens recommend about 20-25 degrees cooler than the recipe suggests. Keep an eye on the first loaf and make adjustments as you go. The convection makes for a lovely crust!

    Enjoy. Zoe

  15. Karen:

    I do it all the time, and it makes for a nice crust. Be sure to preheat for 20 minutes, even though some convection ovens say you don’t need to (the stone must be hot to get a nice bottom crust). Baking time may be shorter… consider checking 10-15% earlier than usual and watch the oven thermometer. My oven runs hotter on convection than conventional, so you may need to adjust the temperature.

    Jeff

  16. My Le Creuset has a phenolic knob on the lid that is rated as over-proof only to 375 deg F. as an experiment, I baked a one pound loaf in it at 375, on parchment paper, but I increased the time to 60 minutes. It was successful; the interior was nicely done and it had a well browned, even crust.

  17. I am so glad to see the question on convection ovens. I have a turbo oven, which I believe works a bit like a convection oven. If I understand correctly, to make the master recipe, I still place water in the bottom in some kind of container and the stone near the center or top, adjust the temperature down 25 degrees and check a little quicker than in the oven????

  18. Hi Sharon, welcome to the site! Yes, basically. I’d keep the stone near the center of the oven, though we’ve been experimenting lately with the top third of the oven, often with good results. Wait until the oven’s pre-heated until you throw water into a broiler pan (don’t use a glass container to catch water). And yes, turn down the oven by 25 degrees, but as always, check your oven’s temp with an oven thermometer. In my convection oven, using convection further exaggerates the error in the thermostat (mine runs hot). Jeff

  19. Hi,
    I just looked up the post on convection because I just got a new oven (not hooked up yet) I used to have quarry tiles just permanently in my old gas oven which was not convection and baked bread and pizza on them all the time. Will this mess with the air flow on the new convection oven? Do I need to leave a certain amount of space on the sides, in my old oven I just put as many as I could possibly fit so I could make baguettes etc. . .

  20. Teresa: I use a stone with convection and it works great. I don’t worry about air flow at the sides and have never had a problem, but this can be oven dependent.

    Watch out that your temperature doesn’t start creeping up. My convection “fools” the thermostat, so use a thermometer.

  21. I believe I ordered your book within 15 minutes of reading about it! I made my first boule batch this morning, and baked 1 loaf this evening… I need a little help :p

    I do not have a regular oven, I have a convection/toaster oven: http://www.blackanddeckerappliances.com/product-269.html
    My issues:
    – no place to pour water
    – new oven thermometer read 350 degrees, when oven stated 450 degrees (no issues with other baking)
    – used the Pampered Chef Stone Square Baker
    – bread browned VERY quickly and burned on top
    – rest of crust look nice, though bottom was a little light and soft
    – inside was dense and damp

    Due to the burnt crust, I did take the bread out 7 minutes early… the burnt smell was wafting through my home.

    Any suggestions? I’m not sure what adjustments should be made. Thank you, very much for your time and attention!

    Hugs,
    Wendy

  22. Wendy: The outside’s getting done too fast. Convection tends to brown the crust very nicely, but maybe here it’s over-doing it. Can this oven be used without convection?

    My guess is that this setup is not great for bread, but I think you’ll get better results with smaller, flatter loaves. Then the inside will get done at around the same side as the outside is getting to where it needs to be.

    Other possibilities: just try turning down the heat, 25 degrees at a time and see what happens.

    You won’t be able to do water. Consider covering the bread with an aluminum foil roasting pan as in http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=510

    • Tony: Steam in the oven is an old idea, and people have been doing it for years. But… can’t make any promises about what it might do to oven surfaces over the long run. My oven is on long-term warrantee given how hard I work it. Jeff

  23. I find your dough so wet that it’s hard to shape, especially if the dough’s been in the refrigerator for more than a day or two. Can I reduce the water a bit and still have a successful loaf or should I just live with the stickiness?

  24. I just got your book today and am eager to start experimenting. I like the idea of having dough ready to go rather than waiting on the bread machine–which I have come to use only for mixing and kneading.

    I was interested in knowing your thoughts on convection. I have a new (<1 year) Whirlpool stove with convection and "Accubake." The manual gives little advice about adjusting recipes, but I've found my breads may be done 5-10 minutes sooner with convection than non-convecction recipes call for, so I always check. The manual insists that the oven temperature is accurate even if you get different results from a previous one. I've found no reason so suspect a temperature difference between convection and no convection.

    • Hi Anna,

      I love convection heat and think that it makes a gorgeous crust on our breads. You do need to be careful that you aren’t baking the crust too rapidly, while the inside is still undone, which can happen with convection heat. The heat in a convection oven is circulated by a fan and is more intense than that of a standard oven. This can result in the crust browning too rapidly. It is generally taken care of by reducing the temperature by 20-25 degrees.

      Hope that helps, Zoë

  25. Wow! After 22 years of no bread making (I used to make a LOT of bread), I got the bug and tried my first shot at your Artisan bread making technique. All I can say, is WOW! Great crunchy crust, nicely browned, nice crumb, tho I prefer more holes… I’ll play with letting it rest another half hour and see what happens.
    Question: Can I bake two loaves at a time? I can’t remember, but it seems I got better results (years ago) baking one at a time. Please advise. My wife is now promising all the neighbors a loaf of my bread, so I gotta get crackin’!
    -Paul

    • Paul: Longer rest time may be more to your liking– maybe 90 min, esp with whole grains. Two loaves are fine in my experience, esp with a stone, which has a lot of thermal mass. In smaller ovens, you may have more trouble getting a nice crust, or you may need a longer baking time. Jeff

  26. Thank you so much! Actually, I went ahead and baked two larger loaves, letting them rest for a bit over 90 minutes. They were still pretty dense, but still came out beautiful. Baked them for 30 minutes, but I think they could have gone another 4 or 5. The bottoms did not brown. I’m using a 15 x 14-3/4 stone, and pulled the parchment out after about 15 minutes of baking.
    Looking forward to getting your book(s). Trial and error is fun, but it would be nice to be a bit more educated.
    Mine is a KitchenAid oven with a convection option, so I can’t wait to try it. Convection has always been kinda “spooky” to us, so it’s time to jump in and try it. Thank you again!

    • Hi Paul,

      With a stone that thick you may want to let it preheat for up to 45 minutes if you find the bottom crust is not getting crisp. Sometimes with stones that thick the results are better with a longer preheat. This may also give your breads more of an oven spring.

      Thanks, Zoë

  27. Question is, WHICH one of your books do you do you advise getting first? I can only get one for now. I really want to get into Ciabatta and baguettes, since we normally use these a lot.
    Thank you in advance.

  28. Thank you for both responses. Because of the holiday’s, I’ve now become the “bread guy”. So each time I bake, I’m learning a great deal. Trying different rest times and longer pre-heat of the stone is working nicely. I can’t wait to get the book, but right now, I have to get a bunch of bread done for our neighborhood New Year’s party.

    I kinda like the sound of that… “Paul The Bread Guy” …

    Thank you so much for the advice, tho your printed instructions and video make it pretty hard for anyone to mess up.

    Happy New Year, by the way.

  29. I LOVE this bread!!! Even my grandkids (probably weaned on Wonder bread) loved it. My problem is parchment paper sticking to the bottom crust. I’ve tried putting bread flour on the paper and then placing the dough on that to let it rest. I removed the paper midway through baking, but still have tufts of it on the loaf. Whatcha think?

    • Penny: any chance you’re using parchment labeled “Pastry Parchment?” We’ve found that this stuff just isn’t a good fit for our wet dough– it sticks. If not, what brand are you using?

      How long a rest are you doing? Jeff

  30. It doesn’t say “pastry parchment”. The brand is “Good Cook” and according to the propaganda on the box it has “many uses in the kitchen”. Well, apparently this paper hasn’t met a wet dough.

    As far as a rest, approximately an hour give or take 10 minutes. Hmmm. Thanks for your quick response!

    • Hi Penny,

      It is a mystery why some brands stick and others don’t. You may want to try using more flour or perhaps cornmeal before leaving it to rest. You can try a different brand next time. I have also had great luck with foil.

      Thanks, Zoë

  31. I checked your first book from the Library the other day and the first batch turned out so well I decided to purchase Healthy Artisan Bread for my Kindle.
    I used my regular oven and followed the instructions for steam, however I am lucky to also have a convention steam oven and would like your advice on temperature and settings. (A recipe on the manufacturers website for French Bread calls for a 390 temperature and 30% steam, plus a couple of extra steam bursts in the first 8 minutes of baking.) Any comments or experience with baking the bread in steam ovens?
    Thanks
    Bonnie

    • Bonnie: The steam should just make unneccesary the additional steam we specify in our recipes, everything else stays the same. As always, decrease the temp by 25 degrees when using convect; may need less baking time. 10% less?

      Neither of us has a steam oven, so can’t advise on exactly how to use; trust the manufacturer would be my default advice. Jeff

  32. My question is not about convection but about gas versus electric OVENS . We will be moving in a few years and my future neighbor advises a gas oven because of power outages that can occur (not a lot but some). But I have heard that gas ovens are not even in their heating and I don’t want to buy an oven that makes my bread (and my cakes and my chickens and my roasts) turn out poorly or gives undependable results. Any thoughts?

    • Shari: It used to be that foodies always shunned electric stoves as being the uneven heat source, but in recent years, the standard party line is that electric is more even than gas. Many people go for dual-fuel (gas cooktop, electric oven)– that’s what I have. Unfortunately, you never know until you commit, unless a friend has the model you want and you can test.

      One thing– I’m pretty sure that small ovens do a better crust and trap steam better than really large ones. And professional equipment doesn’t trap steam as well as typical home models. Jeff

  33. I live in the mountains at 8,700 feet elevation. Are there any adjustments I need to make for high altitude?

    Also, how do I gauge when my oven is hot enough? After only a 20 minute pre-heat, my bread did not brown well. You say to put the bread in to bake after a 20 minute preheat even though the oven isn’t fully up to temperature. When I made my next batch I had been baking other foods prior to turning the oven to 450 and that loaf of bread browned just as your pictures say it should. I think my stone takes a very long time to heat up. How can I know if the oven is really hot enough to start the loaf baking?

    • Hi Joan,

      Here is a post about baking at high altitudes: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=144, you should read the comments from other bakers.

      You should get an oven thermometer to check the actual temperature of your oven. The thicker the stone the longer they take to preheat, so you may need to allow it to preheat up to 45 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  34. I have tried making the boule bread 5 times now and the crust turns out great, but the inside is dense (tiny holes) and looks undone. I’ve checked the temp of my electric oven and last night used the convection oven with no change. I’ve let it rise for an hour, added 1/2 cup more water. I’m very baffled and discouraged. I’m looking for larger holes and chewier texture. Help!

    • Laura: Have you tried using the dough later in its storage life? Always produces larger holes, less density. And are you baking till it’s deep brown? That will take care of the underdone sensation.

      Also, never eat it warm– that always seems underdone. Jeff

  35. Yes I do and I pleasantly found my oven to be accurate. My oven goes to 550. I hoped the fan would improve the results with pizza. It sure helped my breads.

    Enjoying “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes”. My arthritic hands thank you and Zoe.

  36. I have a convection/microwave that my stone fits in just perfect. My regular oven broke so I’m going to try making the bread in my convection oven. Should I preheat the stone in the convection oven before I cook on it? And do you think it would work if I put a small cup of water in the center of the stone and put small round loaves around it? Or should I not use the stone and just cook in a loaf pan and try to set a cup of water on the tray with the pan? I loved this bread in my regular oven and hope I don’t have to give up on baking it using my convection oven until I can get a new gas stove. Thank you so much for all your great advice, and such a great cookbook!
    Darcy

    • Hi Darcy,

      Your convection oven should result in a wonderful, crusty loaf. You may need to turn down the temperature about 20° or the crust may burn before the inside is baked through. Keep an eye on the first loaf to see how it is baking. You want to also preheat your stone when using convection.

      Thanks, Zoë

  37. My smoke alarm goes off with a oven temp over 425. Can bread be baked at 425 and adjust the length of time for baking with a similar result to 450?

    • Hi Barbara,

      The bread will be thoroughly baked and taste wonderful if you bake at 425, but you will most likely not get the same crust on the bread. Try and see what you think!

      Thanks, Zoë

  38. Hi, I just bought the book and hope to get started on it next week. I have been doing a lot of background reading on the book and realized that my oven is in Celcius.

    Can someone please tell me what shd be right temp if in Celcius :)

    Thank you for making bread making simple and authentic(without bread maker)

  39. I have your book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day. Following your master recipe on page 29 it says 20 minutes before baking preheat the oven to 450. Then page 30 says that after the 20 minute preheat you’re ready to bake even though the oven won’t be up to the full temperature. My oven is at 450 after a 20 minute preheat. Should I make an adjustment as to what temp I put the bread in the oven?
    ALSO
    Can I bake more than one loaf at a time without affecting the finished product?

    Thankyou

    • Hi Nancy,

      Depending on how thick your baking stone is you may want to preheat the oven for a bit longer than 20 minutes. The thicker the stone the longer it will take for stone to heat up. The crust on the bread is best with a fully preheated stone, although you can get away with a slightly shorter one.

      You can bake as many loaves as will fit comfortably on your stone. Be sure to leave room for them to rise in the oven.

      Thanks, Zoë

  40. I’ve just started baking your way and I love it. Baked on a pizza stone at 450 everything comes out fine the bottom is crusty but not brown, any thoughts?

    My wife has baked pizza on the stone and it doesn’t brown very much so she always uses a pan. Can I use your dough on a unheated pizza pan ?

    • Sal: Have you tried 500, or 550? Whatever’s the highest setting in your oven. Try a longer preheat maybe. Which recipe are you using, from which book (page number)?

      My exp w/unheated pizza pan is as you say– pale bottom. Cast iron pizza pan can be heated just like a stone. Jeff

  41. I was introduced to your artisan bread in 5 book at my girlfriends. Fabulous! At her house did fine. At my home I have an older convection oven (it can be used regular too). Got an oven thermometer, and in order to reach 450 one time I needed to set it at 475 and one time at 460. This is convection. Also my steam water keeps evaporating. And my bread rises somewhat. Great crust, texture and flavor. How high should it rise? Any thoughts about my oven. It’s from early 1990′s. Must get next book. You’ve made me happy! Thanks

    • Iris: Most ovens are off by at least this amount. Use a thermometer like http://bit.ly/czmco2 to gauge temp, whether in convect mode or not. I’m sure your early ’90s oven is fine (mine’s a ’93).

      The steam is supposed to evaporate quickly. Crust must dry out to get crisp (for the lean doughs). The rise? Well, you need to get enough rise so the bread isn’t too dense, and you say “great texture,” so I think you’re getting enough rise. The amount of rise is too depending on loaf size and shape to give you an answer that will make sense. Jeff

  42. I need to bake many loaves for an event early in the morning and I would like to parbake them the day before. After they are cooled, what is the best way to store them if I am planning to finish baking them the very next morning? I am baking the basic boule recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

    • Kristi: I don’t don’t have access to my book at the moment– didn’t we put parbaking instructions into Artisan Bread in Five Min/Day? Check the index. Jeff

  43. Yes, you did, but my question was what to do with the bread if I didn’t want to freeze them, since I would be baking them in less than 12 hours. Is freezing the only option? Thanks!

    • Hi kristi,

      Some breads can last longer than others. Those with whole grains, some sweetener or oils, tend to last longer than those that are just flour, water and yeast. You can try putting them in a paper bag, just never wrap in plastic, unless you are freezing them.

      Thanks, Zoë

  44. Question on dough storage– With our chaotic fridge, I wonder if I could store the dough in smaller quantities such as dividing it into 1 lb. amounts and putting each into a ziplock. It would make it easier on us as large spots in the fridge are hard to sustain for even a day. In fact, after reading about leaving the dough on the countertop overnight, I think that doing that and then dividing will solve our lack of space problem in our fridge and let me do this recipe more often because I would not need to make room for the big dough bucket ever. What do you think of this idea?

    • Hi Brenda,

      You absolutely can break up the batch into smaller portions. If you use ziplock bags, just be sure there is enough room for the dough to grow slightly.

      Thanks and enjoy, Zoë

  45. I accidentally bought the Emile Henry 4.2 quart stew pot instead of the casserol pot. Will this make a difference in the way my bread bakes? Wanted to know if I should bother returning it and getting the casserol if it doesn’t make a difference.
    Thank you!

    • Alida: the larger pot will also work; the bread doesn’t have to fit closely to the pot– it can be roomy (I’m assuming the “casserole” you’re referring to is smaller). They both promote a great crust because the lid traps water vapor so you don’t need to throw steam/water into the oven.

      The advantage of a smaller closed pot is that you’ll contain sideways spread when making smaller loaves (1 to 1.5 pounds). Depends on what you want to do and what kind of dough. Which recipe (which of our books/page numbers) are you using? Jeff

  46. Jeff, actually, the casserol pot is also 4.2 quarts, it’s just seems to be a bit wider at the top. I didn’t know if the fact that one was a stew and one was a casserol pot (both the same size) if it made a difference in the bread baking process. I have no actually made any of the recipies yet, I was trying to get all my materials together before I started baking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>