Author Topic: Convection baking - good or bad?  (Read 47879 times)

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Offline pythonic

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Convection baking - good or bad?
« on: February 21, 2012, 02:07:04 PM »
Can someone please explain the pros and cons and should it be used at all?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 07:36:12 PM by pythonic »
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Offline randyjohnsonhve

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 02:38:02 PM »
I am wondering the effect too...Thanks for starting this topic...RJelli :chef:
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Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 02:45:24 PM »
Neither good nor bad, per se. If you bake on a stone, the transfer of heat from the stone is far greater than that from the air that surrounds the pizza. Moving air from the fans of the convection oven transfer heat to the pizza better than stationery air. If the bottom of your pizza is done before the top, one solution is to switch your oven to convection mode if it has one.  

buceriasdon

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 05:00:49 PM »
One this subject I feel very strongly that it depends ::) All kidding aside I have a counter top anemic oven and it wasn't until I tried baking on a screen on a rack in convection mode I obtained a even bake although to me it seems to take longer to bake. My best advice is to try convection mode in your oven and see if you prefer it. I should mention that I make a thin and crispy style in the counter top so I'm not concerned about the edge getting dry.

Don
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 05:07:49 PM by buceriasdon »

scott123

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 05:06:14 PM »
In the past, I've usually dissuaded others from using the convection mode for NY style pizza because it clashed with commercial deck ovens that lacked this feature- convection tended to produce an extremely evenly browned rim, that, imo, lacked character. If pizzerias weren't using convection, then neither should we- was my sentiment.

And then I had the opportunity to use a gas convection oven.  Using my soapstone slab, I was able, in 5 minutes,  at 550 on the dial (but only about a 515 stone), to bake up some of the best pizzas I've ever made.  They were very evenly brown, but... the oven spring was better than what I get without convection and I achieved more microblisters than I've ever achieved.  Now that could be from the wetter environment of a gas oven or it could be from the convection feature.  I won't know until I've had a chance to use a drier electric convection oven.

For me, personally, puffy, soft and relatively pale/with a few darker spots is classic NY style pizza, while GBD (golden brown delicious) with a little crispiness is more of a modern phenomenon.  Thanks to the impact from chains, though, I think a lot of people tend to gravitate towards GBD. I'm working, right now, to have both sub-styles in my 'arsenal,' although, as I said, without gas convection, it's seems almost impossible to do the perfect GBD pie.  In a home oven, of course.  Chau does some magnificent GBD pies in his WFO.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 05:26:56 PM by scott123 »

Offline Pizzamaster

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2012, 05:08:31 PM »
If you've had just about any commercial pizza then you've had a convection baked product. Not really any pros or cons to it. Question is do you like your pizza charred or evenly baked. When I had one it was set to convection all the time.

Offline pythonic

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 05:12:39 PM »
Its hard to fully melt fresh mozzarella also when using convection in my experiences.  I baked up a pie today and the bottom was burnt at 550 after just 4:30 mins.  Next time i will preheat stone at 500 to see if that helps.


As you can see the cheese melted good on the right side but I had to pull it out before the left side could start bubbling on top.  

I used JerryMacs one day recipe:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5851.0.html

And I used a container vs a bag to ferment.  I was very happy with the spring results but it was a little bit dry though due to overbaking it a little.




« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 05:54:33 PM by pythonic »
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Offline Don K

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 05:31:23 PM »
I have tried my home oven with and without convection and I prefer it without. The convection seemed to dry out the top and overcook the cheese before the rest of the pie was done (this is on a stone). Maybe if I were to play with it for a while and find just the right temperature it might have worked better but I decided to stick with what has worked for me in the past without convection.

One thing that I have done with convection that worked fairly well was make a bunch of pizzas at once. I had a very large gathering that I made 7 14-inch pizzas for. I only have two stones and I didn't want to spend all day making pizzas 2 at a time. I have a double convection oven and I put 4 in one and 3 in the other on screens with no stones and baked them all at once. It was a pain to get them all out at once and find somewhere to put them to cool, but they came out well and evenly baked. Without the convection they wouldn't have baked nearly as evenly.



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scott123

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 05:34:03 PM »
Pythonic, are you grating the fresh mozzarella, and, if so, how much are using on a typical pie? I, personally, don't think fresh mozzarella belongs on a NY style pizza, but if you feel compelled to use it, make sure you grate it and don't use too much of it if you want to make sure it melts.  Also keep in mind that most fresh mozz will curdle if you bubble it aggressively, so, most of the time, undermelted fresh mozz is just something that you have to accept- which is why I don't think it belongs on NY style pizza.

Also, a while back you referenced a pampered chef stone. Are you still using this stone? If so, it's definitely time to get an infrared thermometer because your oven is running way hotter than the dial- a pampered chef stone could never burn the bottom of a pizza in 4:30 @ 550.

Btw, one thing I have always recommended is to, regardless of whether or not you use convection for bake, always use it for the pre-heat, as it will help the heat penetrate the stone a lot faster.

Offline pythonic

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 05:40:22 PM »
Scott,

I've been doing exactly what you've said about the preheat.  I figured it would heat it faster too.  I usually set it to non convection once the stone is heated but this time I forgot.  The cook time was definitely between 4.30-5:00 mins for sure.  It is a brand new kitchen aid oven so it definitely could be running hotter.

As for the cheese I was at trader joe's over the weekend and was trying to use up the last of the fresh mozzarella I got.  Trying it for the first time too.  I usually just slice it real thin then just salt it and put in between paper towels.  Then I bread them up into little pieces when applying to the pizza but I did not this time.  It is a drier kmozz too so I will try shredding it next time.  I've just messin around with flavors lately to see what I like best.  I used about 3 ounces of mozz and dusted this one with pecorino too.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 05:55:28 PM by pythonic »
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Offline NY pizzastriver

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2016, 06:00:12 AM »
I am in Europe for a spell and have made 2 failed attempts using a bosche convection oven. There is no option of convection mode, nor any visible baking element, if there is one at all, though there is a broil element. The pizza cooks on top, and is white and uncooked on the bottom, as the stone can't get hot enough to cook the base. So basically you have a 550 degree oven and I'd guess a 200 degree stone. I think it depends on the oven, but for non convection mode older models there seems to be no way around it other than broil the stone, and pull out the rack, hope it holds when loading a pie, etc. I cooked it on the middle shelf as again there is no baking element I can see.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Cheers
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Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2016, 06:07:23 PM »
Pizzamaster;
In the oven industry a distinction is made between convection baking and air impingement baking to which you are referring. Convection baking utilizes air flow/movement throughout the oven while air impingement baking utilizes very high velocity airflow that is focused directly at the product being baked, part of the reason for doing this is to break through (sweep aside, There ovens were once referred to as "air sweep ovens") the cool area surrounding all products as they are baked. This cool area is the result of steam being released from the product during baking and it greatly slows the rate of heat transfer to the product. By "impinging" the high velocity air onto the product the cooler "corona" is displaced, allowingp for more efficient heat transfer to the product which translates to faster baking. You can see this by baking a pizza in a convection oven and then baking the same pizza in an air impingement oven at the same temperature. The air impingement oven will always give a stronger bake and higher internal temperature faster than other types of ovens. The one scenario where this is a moot issue is when baking a very thin crust pizza with a limited number/amount of toppings in a stone hearth oven at temperatures of 750F and more, in this case the air impingement oven is at a bit of a disadvantage as there is a limit to how fast you can bake using air impingement technology.
Since pizzas are correctly baked from the bottom up convection ovens do not generally do a very good job of baking pizzas but as has been mentioned by others if you add a pizza stone into the mix you have now created a platform for achieving bottom bake while the air movement does a pretty good job on the rest of the pizza, this is especially so if you have a lot of vegetable toppings on the pizza where in this case, the airflow, just like with an air impingement oven, does a respectable job of removing some of the moisture released from the vegetables resulting in a drier finished pizza.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor


Offline Satyen

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2016, 08:34:35 AM »
over the past 2 years i have struggled with the cheese cooking/burning before the bottom was fully cooked/browned. i tried a variety of stones and steels but none really solved the problem.
i even modified my oven for the bottom element to get hotter by almost 40 degrees Celcius. but even that didnt really help all that much.

And then i read somewhere on this blog about the culprit being the convection setting. so i started experimenting with various combinations of broiler and/or oven settings. and voila! i have achieved the pizza of my dreams.
i preheat the steel for an hour on the middle rack with the oven full blast on broiler mode. the infrared thermometer clocks in at 560 F on the steel.
load the pizza and switch to bake for about 3-4 min.
rotate the pizza and switch to broiler mode for another 1-2 min to help with final touches on the browning.
JOB DONE.

I also found that substituting sugar with diastatic malt (around 2%) helped a lot with the browning, without adversely effecting the taste of the dough.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2016, 09:36:33 AM »
I also found that substituting sugar with diastatic malt (around 2%) helped a lot with the browning, without adversely effecting the taste of the dough.
Satyen,

Is the malt you used a low diastatic malt and, if so, which brand did you use?

Peter

Offline Satyen

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2016, 05:44:21 AM »
hi pete

the malt i used is from breadtopia. here is the link...
http://breadtopia.com/store/organic-diastatic-barley-malt-powder/

i first read about using malt in tony gemignani's 'pizza bible', and subsequently in several other blog posts here and elsewhere.

the ottolenghi boys also seem to propogate the use of diastatic malt for pizzas and rustic italian breads.

satyen

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2016, 10:33:49 AM »
hi pete

the malt i used is from breadtopia. here is the link...
http://breadtopia.com/store/organic-diastatic-barley-malt-powder/

i first read about using malt in tony gemignani's 'pizza bible', and subsequently in several other blog posts here and elsewhere.

the ottolenghi boys also seem to propogate the use of diastatic malt for pizzas and rustic italian breads.

satyen
satyen,

The diastatic malt you are using is pure diastatic malt without any added flour or sugar (such as dextrose) and has a 210 degrees Lintner number. As such, you should be using much less than 2% (in Tony G's case, he is using a low diastatic malt--LDM--at around 20 degrees Lintner). You will note that the instructions for your diastatic malt say to use no more than 0.5% by weight of flour. I highlight the difference between the two products because a lot of people do not know that there are many versions of diastatic malt with a wide range of degrees Lintner values and cannot be used interchangeably.

Peter

Offline Satyen

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2016, 06:16:52 AM »
thats interesting - i did read the recomended 0.5% on the instructions but didnt think much of it.
What do you think is the difference between pure vs low diastatic malt? you did mention the lintner number - but what effect does that have on the bake? would be interesting to know.

do you reckon putting lower amount of pure malt have less of a browning effect than higher amount of low diastatic malt?

Getting these things shipped to dubai cost me 4 times the actual price of the product!

satyen

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2016, 10:51:10 AM »
thats interesting - i did read the recomended 0.5% on the instructions but didnt think much of it.
What do you think is the difference between pure vs low diastatic malt? you did mention the lintner number - but what effect does that have on the bake? would be interesting to know.

do you reckon putting lower amount of pure malt have less of a browning effect than higher amount of low diastatic malt?

Getting these things shipped to dubai cost me 4 times the actual price of the product!

satyen
satyen,

In the U.S. most flour millers add diastatic malt to their doughs as a source of the amylase enzyme. Usually, the source of amylase enzyme is barley malt and it is used at a rate of about 0.1-0.2%. In this regard, see Reply 23 at:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=11549.msg106388#msg106388.

However, there are some flours, usually organic flours or flours such as the 00 flour, that are not malted. When bakers have problems with browning when using such flours, it is common for them to add diastatic malt (usually barley malt). That is one of the reasons why diastatic malts exist.

The LDM that Tony G has recommended is a diluted version of the pure stuff. The dilution is by adding flour and sugar (such as dextrose) to barley malt. That lowers the strength of the LDM and its Lintner degrees value. I don't recall seeing a correlation of the LDM with full strength diastatic malt, but I suspect that in terms of performance the amount of LDM that Tony G recommends is a safe amount and may even correspond to the amount of pure barley malt (0.1-0.5%) recommended by the producers of the barley malt. 

The potential danger in using too much of the pure diastatic malt (the kind with a Lintner degrees value of around 200) is that the dough can end up being wet and sticky, sometimes to the point where the dough becomes unusable. Tom Lehmann discusses these kinds of problems in his post at Reply 1 at:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=40433.msg403121;topicseen#msg403121,

and at Reply 20 at:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=18281.msg177389#msg177389.

If you would like to learn a lot more about diastatic malt, you might take a look at the thread at:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=34845.msg346632#msg346632.

The above thread was started as a result of one of our members reading Tony G's recent book. However, I caution that reading that thread can sometimes be confusing because sometimes the information provided by producers or resellers of diastatici malt products is confusing or even incorrect.

Peter




Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2016, 01:36:43 PM »
What do you think is the difference between pure vs low diastatic malt? you did mention the lintner number - but what effect does that have on the bake? would be interesting to know.

do you reckon putting lower amount of pure malt have less of a browning effect than higher amount of low diastatic malt?

Enzyme activity is directly proportional to concentration. Generally speaking, 10X the concentration in the dough will convert 10X the starch to sugars. This may not translate to a direct relationship with browning as the yeast activity may change in response to the greater food availability.
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Offline Satyen

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Re: Convection baking - good or bad?
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2016, 06:48:51 AM »
Interesting stuff guys. gonna try reducing the malt levels next time and see...

here are photos from last attempt..
strong white bread flour (11.8% protien)
water 60%
salt 2%
Malt 2%
EVOO 2%

mixed in KA, balled immediately and 48 hr cold ferment.