Convection oven works great

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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.

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148 thoughts on “Convection oven works great

  1. Good work you two! When my daughter gave me her copy of AB5 I was delighted. I started out changing the recipes to my specs. I like whole grain and net protein utilization recipes. Here is how I changed the basic recipe. 3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 3 cups of unbleached white flour, 4 to 6 tbsp vital gluten, 1-2 tbsp soy grits, 1 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup raisins, 1-1/2 tbsp salt, 1-1/2 tbsp yeast, 1-2 tbsp molasses, and 3 cups warm green tea.
    I bake in a dual oven on convection mode. I don’t worry about getting a real dark crust I just like a great crumb. I like to bake all my bread at once on the first day to conserve electricity. I have done it in batches but my partner says that’s not very “green”. Two loaves in loaf pans at 380 for 35 minutes.

    • Hi Warren,

      I love the idea of using green tea, what an amazing flavor that must impart!

      In the first book we had you mix the water with the yeast and salt in the bucket and then add the flour. Because of the vital wheat gluten we had to switch the order a bit. It is just easier to mix the yeast and salt with the dry ingredients, it saves an extra step.

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. Why have you incorporated the yeast and salt into the dry ingredients instead of dissolving it in the water?

  3. I have seen a couple of comments on other websites that it is possible to bake no-knead bread in a FlavorwaveNuwave type oven which is a combination of halogen/convection in a countertop glass bowl type oven. The comments were sketchy and I gather it is kind of like baking in a dutch oven. Has anyone tried this? Baking time adjustments? How to keep dough from sticking? Any brands of this type of oven work better than other brands? Are these ovens durable? Do they really keep one’s kitchen from heating up and do they really save on power bills which are two reasons why I might get one. One comment said the extension ring was a must with baking bread like this. Is this true? Other instructions, hints, etc.?

    • Hi Brenda,

      I have never baked in such an oven, but it sounds very intriguing. If you try it, please let us know how it goes. Perhaps some of our readers have worked with them and will give you some advice?

      Thanks, Zoë

  4. hi – in ABin5 book page 28, you suggest a boule size of 1 lb; can i make a bigger loaf (2lb), in which case baking time time wil be around an hour as opposed to 30mins? Thanks. p.s. love the bread!!

  5. I have a solar oven and would like to try baking the master boule recipe from ABin5 in it. It gets up to about 350 degrees and I won’t be able to use steam. Any thoughts on how it will turn out?

    • Hi Amy,

      It will lack the crackling crust, but I think the taste will still be wonderful. You will have to adjust the time you bake the bread because it is at a lower temperature. Try an additional 20 minutes.

      Thanks, Zoë

  6. Hi, just baked my first loaf from HB in 5 (actually my first loaf ever). It was delicious. My question is about proofing the refrigerated dough.

    The recipes that I see myself doing all need about 90 minutes to proof at room temperature before baking. If I try to bake after coming home from work, even with a shorter baking bread like the wholewheat olive oil, (plus I have a convection oven), I will be lucky to have a finished bread before 8 or 9 at night. Is it safe to pull the refrigerated dough out in the morning and let it proof (covered)on the counter for 8 hours so that all I need to do is preheat the oven when I get home? (instead of having to proof for an hour before I start preheating)

    Thank you for the wonderful recipes.

    • Heidi: See page 48 in the book– item #5 answers your question. Other option is to stick with flatbreads mid-week, which don’t need the rest. Jeff

  7. I am interested in using whey (left over from making ricotta) in the bread dough. Mainly the master recipes for the 5 min and the healthy bread in 5. Any ideas regarding ratio or if this would even work? Thanks! Love the books :)

    • Hi Jen,

      I remember that a reader had tried this a while back and reported that it worked well. I’m sorry to say I can’t remember if they replaced all or just some of the water in the recipe. I might start with 50% whey/50% water and see what you think.

      Thanks, Zoë

  8. I have a “bread proof” option on my oven. Can i put the formed dough in the oven on “proof” instead of letting it rise on the counter? When do i slash the crust if using the oven proof method? Should I make any other adjustments? Is is okay to use a pan of water while proofing the bread in the oven?

    • Cheryl: Sure, sounds perfect, though I haven’t tried it. Slash just B4 goes into oven, same as usual. May need less proofing time because of the warmth; pan of water will be great.

  9. I would like to serve soup in individual bread bowls made out of your bread. Do I use the master recipe: boule on page 26? Can you give me some guidelines?

    • The soup-bread bowls with our dough should work well, but you may need to use more flour to keep it from sticking. The Master recipe is a good start– see what you think.

      Have to admit, we haven’t done this…

  10. Hi! I’d like to make the gluten-free crusty boule bread. Don’t have a dutch oven. Can I just make it in our gas oven? If so, what are the adjustments?

    Also, I normally mix yeast with warm water before mixing in. Will active dry yeast suffice for this recipe (which your directions say to mix in with dry ingredients vs. wet)?

    Thanks!

    • Elaine: Gas or electric oven will work well, crust won’t be quite as good. Could just cover it with an aluminum foil lasagne pan for the first two-thirds of baking, similar effect. Confused about your question on the yeast; it’s different in our two books. Which one are you working from? Jef

  11. Thanks, Jef. Re the yeast I’ve never mixed yeast in with dry ingredients – I’ve always had it sit in warm water first before mixing into anything. Thus, I wanted to make sure active dry yeast was what you work with (vs. instant or some other type).

  12. Thanks for the convection oven suggestions. My new convection oven automatically adjusts itself from the recipe recommended setting. For example, if I enter 350 it adjusts to 325. Do all of them do this? Would I still need to reduce what I enter by 25 degrees? And — my fan does not run constantly. Is that what they all do? Thank you. (And yes, I’m making a new batch of WW HBin5 this evening.)

    Merry Christmas!

  13. I’m a bit nervous about steaming the bread, namely since another website (thefreshloaf) cautions against breaking glass oven doors, and causing electrical ovens to malfunction because of the steam. Another method I’ve seen mentioned suggests covering the loaf with an aluminum foil roasting pan to hold in the natural moisture. Any thoughts/ experience with this?

  14. Hi,
    Another question about convention oven. I’ll be baking Peasant Bread tomorrow, because of the Convection, I’ll reduce temp to 400F. How long should I bake for? An earlier comment in your blog talks about pan baked bread….I intend to put the bread directly onto the stone.
    Thanks,
    Fred

    • Hi Fred,

      Usually you only need to reduce the heat by 20 to 25°F when using convection heat. You may also need to rotate the loaf after the first 25 minutes, so it browns nicely on both sides. Keep an eye on the first loaf to make sure it isn’t browning too quickly, but it should take 30 to 35 minutes to fully bake a 1-pound loaf.

      Thanks, Zoë

  15. Hi everybody,
    I was wandering if it would be possible to bake Pita Bread in convection ovens.
    I am planning to start a Pita Bread Sandwich
    restaurant and I want to be able to bake my own Pita Bread.

  16. I was wondering if you ever tried to bake bread in the crock pot. Do you think I could try it with any of your doughs?

    • Hi Lindsay,

      I have never tried it, but I know some of our readers have been experimenting with it. I think they are having some good results. Let us know if you give it a try.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Thanks Zoe. Do you think I need to let the dough rise initially for 2 hours before putting it in the crock pot or since it cooks slowly, can I through it in the crock pot right away?

      • Hi Lindsay,

        I would make small loaves and try both ways. I would think you can just throw it in right after shaping and let it go slowly. Or start it on a low temperature and then turn it up to try to get some color on it. This is all guessing!

        I will try it soon and we can compare notes! Zoë

    • Hi Lindsay,

      Yes, the toaster oven manufacturers even make a little stone for baking. I would go with small loaves or flatbreads.

      Thanks, Zoë

      • Hi Lindsay,

        Each one may run a bit differently, so it may take some experimenting to get the perfect loaf, but I would start with the same temperature.

        Thanks, Zoë

  17. Because of the success I had with your breads at home (From the 2007 edition of Artisan Bread in Five….), I am now using it in my newly opened bakery. However, I am having trouble with the shape of nearly all of the loaves that are baked on a stone. They want to “blow out” at the base, leaving the bread misshapen. I am using a convection oven and because of the need to bake multiple loaves simultaneously, I am baking them on sheet pans rather than on a stone. Any ideas as to why this is happening and what to do about it?

    • Victoria: Try a longer rest time first, then let us know how that does. 90 minutes? And deeper slashing, plus check your oven temp with thermometer, and turn down heat 25 degrees w/convection.

  18. I notice in your recipes in ABin5 some of the recipes say to let the dough rest for 40 min and some say 90 minutes. Why is this? I have a hard time getting the dough to rise very high no matter how long I let it rest. The dough is stone cold when it goes into the oven either way.

  19. Zoe,

    I recently purchased at 5 quart Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven. I read your article on Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven dated 3/11/09. My question is would I still use 1.5 lbs since it is a 5 quart of the Master Recipe in your first book. The pot used in the article was 7 1/4 and a Le Creuset pot. Thank you for help with this question.

    Thank you kindly for your help. I know how busy you must be.

    Dee

    • Hi Dee,

      You can bake the same size loaf in your pan, but it may touch the sides, which is not an issue. The only difference will be the shape. Your black cast iron pot may also brown the bread a little more, so it may need a few less minutes of baking, but only a few.

      Enjoy! Zoë

  20. I have been baking bread from your master recipe in Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day.
    I am using a pizza stone I got from King Arthur Flour. The loaf browns nicely on top and is done, but the bottom of the loaf is not browned at all. I am using the middle rack in my oven with the broiler pan for the water on the bottom rack. Any suggestions?

  21. In Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the whole idea is to make a large amount of dough to have on hand. My question is regarding the container – like many folks, I’m trying to get away from plastic as much as possible – any alternatives to the 5-gallon plastic container? Or can you assuage my fears about using one? Thanks!

  22. You mention using both a stone and steam when convection baking. It was my understanding that one of the benefits of convection was maintaining a consistent temperature due to the air circulation, so is a stone really needed? Does it just server to better crisp the bottom?

    Also, I read that the convection feature might remove steam from the oven … any thoughts on that?

    • Hi Eric,

      The stone acts to retain heat (keep an even heat, even when the oven door is opened and shut) and conduct the heat to the bread well. This results in a better oven spring and crust.

      The convection function shouldn’t remove the steam in most ovens. The various brands vent differently, but we have found it is more an issue with only top end, professional style, gas ovens. Wolf and Viking tend to lose steam more than others.

      Thanks, Zoë

  23. The basic recipes indicate that you can make four one pound loaves. However when my dough has been stored forms couple of,days, my dough seems to weigh only a little more,than 3 pounds. Can I be storing it incorrectly? Or?..

    • Hi Wendy,

      The Master recipe will make four loaves that are about 15 ounces, so it is just shy of 1 pound. Are you having success baking or does your dough seem particularly wet?

      Thanks, Zoë

  24. I just purchased “Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes”. You reference crock pot baking and mentioned “Check with your crock pot’s manufacturer before trying this”. I want to buy one that is approved for this type of cooking. Are you aware of a manufacturer? I’ve checked various stores and websites and can’t locate one.

    • As we say in the book, and on the web posting at http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2012/05/29/crock-pot-bread-baking-fast-bread-in-a-slow-cooker

      “… Check with your crock-pot’s manufacturer before trying this, since some model’s instructions specify that the pot has to be at least partially filled with liquid to avoid safety or durability problems. And never bake in a crock-pot unattended.”

      So none of the manufacturers want to go on record with this, and some specifically say you shouldn’t operate one of these without liquid in the cooker. So don’t run it this way unattended, and while this method is all over the Internet, we’re all at our own risk with it.

  25. I love your new book and the bread it produces! thanks for making it so easy w such variety!
    Broke my stone and wasn’t that happy anyway, figured out my oven (ancient) vents so my steam wasn’t doing what it needed to do.
    So, using cast iron pan/lid and love results. Sometimes, tho, the bottom browns a little too much, maybe almost burned. Any suggestions to prevent? At 6800ft, gas oven, use themometer. Love the rye especially! No bakery that makes it for 150 miles! Now I do, and we are happy.

  26. I just bought a countertop convection oven, with a max temp of 450, should I lower the temp by 25 degrees with this also? I think it will solve the problem of baking in the summer as I can bake outside.
    Another question, have you ever used the bread dough as a crust on a pot pie? Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks, Janelle

  27. I’m a UK customer using’Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a day’ pub. 2007. I hear UK ‘Plain flour’ is not equivalent to US ‘All Purpose’, but ‘softer’ and no good for bread.
    Please advise – should I add some strong flour to the mix?
    Thank you,
    Helen Stradling,
    Wales
    U

    • Hi Helen,

      When our British edition came out, the testers did use plain flour.

      Here are the metric weights:

      680 grams water
      10 grams yeast
      20 grams kosher salt
      910 grams flour

      Hope that helps! Zoë

      • Hi Zoe,
        Thank you so much for your prompt and helpful reply. My first batch was proving as I wrote ( having just read thi info about UK plain flour above). The loaf was in fact fantastic. When this batch is used up I might just try substituting a cup of strong flour for plain just to see if it’s even better.
        The main problem I’m now left with is how not to finish every loaf at one sitting !!!
        Thanks again,
        Helen

      • Hi Helen,

        I am so pleased that you enjoyed the bread! If you try the strong flour, please let me know how it comes out.

        Cheers, Zoë

  28. Hi there!! Love making your bread. I decided to try and use the cup method instead of weighing (was a tad lazy) and realised that the batch of dough is too wet. The initial rise is not as much as before. Is there anyway to salvage this batch? Keep thinking that it is not going to be successful in baking properly. Possible to mix in more flour at this stage? Pls help!!

    • Hi Julie,

      Sure, you can add flour at any point. Once you’ve added the flour, you’ll need to let it sit for a while to allow the flour to absorb the extra water.

      Cheers, Zoë

  29. Love your methods, given your book.

    Senior man now has leverage over wife when I cook your bread. Life is good..

    6 batches now but I never get a second rise of more than 25 percent out of fridge.

    Great bread though any ideas?

    • It’s the final result that counts– if it’s not dense, it doesn’t matter how much “proofing rise” you get. With our method, proportionally more of the rise comes from “oven spring.”

      That said, our late-batch loaves are denser than our early ones…

  30. I’m wanting to make your light whole wheat bread in loaf pans as opposed to free form. Just wondering if I would bake them at 350 on the rack instead of 450 on the stone? Also, the recipe says they make 1 lb loaves, would I need to make them a bit bigger to fill the pans?

    • Yes, bigger to fit the pans. But unless it’s sweetened or egg-enriched dough, you don’t have to decrease the temp. Type “loaf pan” or “loaf-pan” into our Search bar above for more info.

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