Author Topic: Convection - yes or no?  (Read 2963 times)

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Offline pythonic

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Convection - yes or no?
« on: October 05, 2012, 02:31:14 PM »
I know lots of people say using convection is a no no but if it gives me a nice brown crust in 4 minutes should I just stick with it?
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Offline Don K

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 03:27:25 PM »
If it works for you, then stick with it! There are no rules.

When I use convection is when I want to bake a bunch of pies at once. I use screens with no stones and just put one pie per rack. they all bake fairly evenly with convection.
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Offline Skee

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 04:32:45 PM »
Convection can inhibit the crust from rising as it dries out the surface too quickly.  Or you could wait until the crust has risen and then use convection just for browning.

scott123

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012, 07:22:42 PM »
I struggled with the concept of convection for quite some time because of it's lack of authenticity/lack of use in NY pizzerias, but then I was forced into using a 500 deg peak temp oven where I had to use the convection feature and the pies were some of my best ever.

I think, in theory, that, under certain scenarios, the hot flowing air might cause the rim to set faster, and, in turn, limit oven spring, but with my 64% hydration 13.2% protein bromated dough, this was definitely not the case.  The rim was beautifully puffy, with a little more crispiness to the exterior.

Offline Don K

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2012, 07:55:39 PM »
I never thought that convection limited oven spring. I also used 64% hydration. With a lower hydration I suppose that drying would be possible. It did over bake with convection once though and the crust exterior was a bit tough.
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Offline pythonic

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 08:58:54 PM »
Went with convection today and my pie baked in only 3:45.  Will post pics later.
If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.

Offline pythonic

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 11:27:21 AM »
pics

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Offline scott r

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2012, 11:52:46 AM »
at one time I had a few bad convection pies, but the problem was that my cheese browned too much, not that the dough didn't turn out great.    When I moved into my new home about four years ago I tried it again while I was testing out the new bosch oven.    I had great success, and I think its mostly because I had found a source for cheese that doesn't brown too much.    Bottom line is... if it gets your pie done faster, and has a few more similarities with a WFO (convection!), well.... then it can make a great pizza!  Just beware of fast browning cheese and convection should be your friend.     

Offline pythonic

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2012, 07:02:31 PM »
Scott,

I agree with the burning statement (it depends on the cheese).  I used grande for this one and it held up pretty well.

Nate
If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.


Offline slybarman

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2012, 07:21:40 PM »
Fo sho. I'd eat it.

scott123

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 02:47:29 AM »
Nate, how was the undercrust? A little on the pale side?
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 03:04:14 AM by scott123 »

Offline pythonic

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 06:34:33 PM »
Just a tad. 
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Offline Skee

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2012, 02:45:04 PM »
Finally got around to trying the convection-bake setting on my new Kitchenaide oven and as I suspected (from using commercial convection ovens for years), the crust did not rise nearly as much as usual.  In addition, the cheese cooked so fast that the bottom crust did not have enough time to fully brown, even at 550F - with convection it took 4:15, without it usually takes right at 6:00.  I only got one good picture, and the slice was tasty, just not quite up to par.  The dough was 67% hydration, KASL, 24-hr cold, 3-hr room temp, cold sauce and toppings.

Next time, I'm going to leave the convection off for two minutes to let the crust rise a little, then run it for three minutes, see if that evens it out a little (and cuts one minute off the cooking time).

scott123

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2012, 03:52:34 PM »
Britt, all things being equal, it looked like it rose pretty well.

Bottom heat is essential to oven spring.  That's what sends the crust soaring. Instead of slowing down the top bake in order to accommodate the bottom, why not just speed up the bottom with a more convective floor? A hearth that can give you a 4 minute bake on the undercrust, to match the 4 minute bake on the top, would be the best possible scenario for this style.

Offline Skee

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2012, 04:28:15 PM »
By "more convective floor" I assume you mean a steel plate?  Haven't located a local supplier yet, but I haven't exhausted all the possibilities, just busy.  The main stone I use is 5/8", don't recall the manufacturer, but it's good quality - I have a second, 1/2" stone that I keep on the top shelf for heat distribution and top-browning if needed, is there any value to stacking the stones, maybe with a layer of foil between them as a conductor?

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2012, 04:37:33 PM »
Yes, I recommend steel plate so frequently that I wanted to mix things up by being a little more cryptic this time  ;D

With convection, the top stone probably isn't contributing all that much to top browning, but it can't hurt.  Whether or not stacking a 5/8" and a 1/2" stone is worthwhile- that's a really tough call. I believe 1" cordierite stone owners get better bake times than thinner stones, so theoretically a stack might trim your time, but that much thermal mass will extend your pre-heat considerably. Is the bottom of the 5/8" stone flat? I wouldn't worry about the foil. Foil will most likely create more air pockets rather than fill them.

6 minutes isn't bad- at all.  Are you taking IR readings of the stone prior to baking? If you're in the 600 realm, you might not need steel and could get away with a high alumina kiln shelf. Maybe.

Offline Skee

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2012, 05:09:20 PM »
Yeah, I'm pretty happy with six minutes in the new oven - the Kenmore I replaced could just barely make it to 500 which wasn't cutting it.  Hadn't tried the convection option yet, just wanted to see what it could do.  I need to take a reading of the stone, will do that next time, and maybe stack the stones (the bigger one is flat on the bottom, the thinner one is ridged) for one pizza with the fan and one without, see which comes out better.


scott123

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2012, 06:09:54 PM »
Britt, definitely give stacking a shot- with or without convection, but, if possible, could you take a reading on a single stone pre-heated (using convection) for an hour?

As far as the pre-heat for the stack... I'd suggest at least 90 minutes.

Offline Canyon

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2012, 10:01:02 PM »
If you're worried about oven spring you may want to preheat using convection, then kill it prior to dropping the pie. My junkie oven with a max temp of 500 gets over 550 when calibrated up 30 degrees along with convection turned on. I'm guessing that extra 20+ degree kick I reach is attributed to convection and a thick baking stone. I personally leave the convection feature on the entire bake and I use the convection broil as well. Cubing the cheese or setting it down before saucing helps a great deal to reduce browning too.

Offline Sqid

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2012, 10:52:16 PM »
It seems logical to me that some type of air movement is essential for fast bake times.  The hot air next to the crust needs to be refreshed with new hot air.   To rely solely on literal convection (movement of molecules) would take too long.  Whilst building an oven:
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19848.0.html
I have considered using a top flame that although fairly anemic would stir up the air, also have considered incorporating a fan into a deck oven.
Keep using the convection function on the oven. 

Offline pythonic

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2012, 10:02:45 PM »
I have a brandnew kitchen aid oven myself and I can frequently do 5:15 pies with the stone all the way at the bottom.  I preheat the stone with convection for only 30 minutes then switch it off.  I've also done the convection midbake but it takes a minute for the fan to come on.

Nate
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Offline Skee

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2012, 10:13:56 AM »
Last night I re-positioned the racks and stacked the stones, then used convection-bake set at max temp of 550F.  After an hour I started taking readings and watched it slowly rise from 575F in the center of the stone to just over 600F at about the 75 minute mark and then stay there for another 15 minutes.  I needed to shut it down and go to bed at that point, but it seemed stable.  Looking forward to doing a trial run on Sunday!

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2012, 11:07:19 AM »
Britt, first of all, just to confirm, you've got the flat sides of the stones together, not the grooved sides, right?

While a reading for 600 is highly encouraging, I think it's important to bear in mind that pizza bakes with stored heat, so in order to get the best possible results, the stone needs to be 600 all the way through, inside and out.  When you have two stones stacked, it's going to take at least 90 minutes for the heat to travel to the center of the mass.

Have you had the single stone in this lower rack position before, and have you given it 90 minutes?  If not, then I think it might be worth trying unstacked.

600 gives you more flexibility when it comes to stone shopping. As I said before, there's a good chance a high alumina kiln shelf might give you a 4 minute bake and you don't have to mess with the weight of steel.

Bake a pizza on this stacked setup with a... 100 minute convection preheat and then try a single stone with 90. Also, it won't be easy, but try, if possible to lift the fully pre-heated top stone and get a reading of the center area between the two stones. This should all be very useful data.

Offline Skee

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2012, 12:15:28 PM »
Yes, stones are stacked flat sides together (the top stone has no ridges).  I was thinking the same thing about using just the one stone - didn't realize that the convection would cause the burner to cycle more often which ought to help it recover the heat faster and brown the top at the same time.  When I tried the stone on the bottom shelf without the convection, when I first got the oven, I couldn't get it to brown correctly unless I moved it to the top stone under the broiler which isn't always kind to the cheese.

I'll take some readings with both stones and check the core temp as well as the temp recovery time before cooking a pizza, then pull one stone out, recover the heat, and cook a second, see if there's any difference.  I would prefer to have the second stone on the top rack for finishing one pizza while another goes in the bottom.

Offline Skee

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Re: Convection - yes or no?
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2012, 11:00:43 AM »
Had a couple of people drop by on Sunday, so in the interest of time I skipped the experiment with the two stacked stones and just set it up with one on the bottom and one at the top.  With convection running, measured temps as high as 630F on the bottom stone after ~50 minutes, so obviously the stacked stones take much longer to fully heat (and arenít worth the effort).  Made three 12Ē with times ranging from 3:30 (cheese) to 4:30 (spinach and olive) Ė the crust again did not rise as much as normal but it was very light and crispy.  Only got one good picture.  Next time Iíll try turning off the convection for cooking and then flipping it back on to re-heat the stone.


 

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