Author Topic: convection ovens  (Read 8307 times)

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Offline ctimmer

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convection ovens
« on: August 10, 2008, 02:22:39 PM »
We just got a new electrolux convection oven. I searched the forum for some tips on using convection ovens but I am still having trouble browning the bottom of my larger pizza's. Otherwise, the pizzas (cracker dough and sauce from this site) coming out great. Ideas or links? Should I just go back to the regular oven?

Thanks,
Curt


Online Pete-zza

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2008, 02:48:12 PM »
Curt,

I don't have a convection oven but can you tell me 1) which cracker-style dough recipe you are using, 2) what type and brand of flour you are using, 3)whether you are using a cutter pan (as appears to be the case from the photo), and 4) are you pre-baking the crust before dressing and finishing the bake?

Peter

Offline BTB

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2008, 10:01:50 AM »
I have a GE Profile electric range with the convection oven feature.  I love the feature, BUT I have learned that if you want a crispy pizza to NOT -- repeat NOT -- use the convection feature (except for a short time at the end of the baking period).  Using the convection feature, the outside and top areas of the pizza will brown up much faster than the bottom of the crust, hence causing you to take out the pizza before the bottom of the crust crisps up. 

What I do with many of my pizzas -- generally with the deep dish styles, but occasionally with my cracker crusts -- is to bake the pizzas on the bottom rack (or near bottom rack) and turn on the convection oven feature (which is just a fan) for the last 6 or 10 minutes to brown up the top of the pizza if it had not browned enough. 

I think most of the commercial conveyor ovens are convection ovens, but the crust is riding up on the conveyor and gets the hot air effect underneath the conveyor grid.  But it still does not come close IMO to the superior affect of the deck ovens.  For my thin crust pizzas, I generally use a cutter pan, pre-bake the cracker crusts for a few minutes, and found it's affect to be similar to baking in a deck oven.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2008, 08:40:49 AM by BTB »

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2008, 10:40:41 AM »
I don't have a convection oven, but for sure I would be baking on a quality pizza stone that is up to temp. Baking in a cold pan does not give the bottom crust a chance to catch up to the top in time.

PNW

Offline BTB

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2008, 01:35:05 PM »
I have a couple of pizza stones and have had "mixed results" with their use.  Sometimes they do a good job, but my recent experience with using the bottom oven rack with a cutter or deep dish pan has --for my styles of pizza, at least -- worked exceptionally well.  I think with some styles -- like the thicker bread crust styles of some NY or eastern style pizzas (as well as some other styles), the pizza stone does a better job.  But for me, the pizza stones have been collecting dust for a number of months.  The pans I use are not "cold" but room temperature and are made to go up to a hot temperature very fast.

Offline ctimmer

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2008, 05:23:19 PM »
Curt,

I don't have a convection oven but can you tell me 1) which cracker-style dough recipe you are using, 2) what type and brand of flour you are using, 3)whether you are using a cutter pan (as appears to be the case from the photo), and 4) are you pre-baking the crust before dressing and finishing the bake?

Peter

1) Thin Cracker-Crust Pizza under recipes - using 1 cup water instead of 3/4.
2) Wal-mart multipurpose (I know this is wrong)
3) yes - a cutter pan.
4) no pre-bake.

I am going to try starting the pizza cooking with the regular oven and then switch to convection. The convection does such a good job of even cooking with a nice distribution of ingredients, lightly browned cheese, and sauce bubbling through the cheese.

Thanks all for the feedback!

Curt

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2008, 05:59:03 PM »
Curt,

Thank you for the additional information.

My experience has been the same as BTB's. I use a nonperforated cutter pan (a dark anodized one from pizzatools.com) and I pre-bake the crusts. As BTB noted, when using the cutter pan to pre-bake a skin without anything else on it, the cutter pan gets up to temperature pretty fast. The same will not be as true if you dress the unbaked skin with the sauce, cheese and toppings and then bake it. The result is that the crust may not be as crispy or cracker-like. I believe that is the point that PNW was trying to make.

I found that the General Mills Harvest King flour works very well for the DKM cracker-style crust. I also oil my cutter pan to help with the bottom crust browning. One time, I used a house brand (Kroger) all-purpose flour and pre-baked the skin on my pizza stone (rather than using my cutter pan), and the bottom of the crust was quite a bit lighter, as shown in the last photo in Reply 138 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5762.msg53443.html#msg53443. I couldn't oil the bottom of the skin before pre-baking on the stone, so that might also have had an effect on the degree of bottom crust browning. So, if you are not pre-oiling your cutter pan, you might give that a try.

I hope you will keep us informed about your progress.

Peter

EDIT: Changed "perforated" to "nonperforated" in the second paragraph.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2008, 12:18:54 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline ctimmer

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2008, 02:34:06 PM »
Last weekend I baked a couple of pies just using the conventional oven. The bottom of the pies browned nicely but the top didn't quite have that level of doneness I experienced using the convection cooking option. I will be experimenting with a combination of conventional/convection baking this weekend.

BTW - My pizza included puff ball mushrooms (see picture) from my lawn. This mushroom does a great job of absorbing the flavors of the pizza. Although the presentation suffers if you run over them with your lawnmower.

Offline BTB

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2008, 06:01:23 PM »
As Peter and others suggested on other threads, if one wants more of a browning or increased doneness on the top of the pizza, move the pizza to an oven rack at the top or near top of the oven for the last 5 or 10 minutes of the baking period.  Matter of fact, I think that does as good a job as the expensive convection oven feature of my oven.  The only advantage of my convection feature is that I don't have to move the pizza to the higher rack at the end of the cooking cycle. You can also use the oven's broiler feature, but you then must watch the pizza very carefully as it may then brown way too quickly.

Since our home ovens can never duplicate the way the big commercial ovens bake their pizzas, we have to try other things in order to get a well baked pizza that comes out closer to the way they turn out in commercial ovens.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2008, 06:08:58 PM by BTB »

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2008, 06:55:26 PM »
BTB,

When I move the pizza to a higher oven position, it is usually for only a minute or two. I will sometimes start the bake at a higher oven position and after several minutes move it to a lower position, usually to go onto a preheated pizza stone or on a rack position close to the lower coil to get bottom crust browning. You can also bake the entire pizza at a higher oven position, which can take several minutes, but then you will usually not get enough bottom crust browning.

Peter


Offline BTB

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2008, 10:46:34 AM »
Yes, Peter, you're right.  Cracker crust and other thin crusts do brown up much more quicker, maybe a minute or two. I was mistakenly thinking of my Chicago style pan pizzas which often have taken more time than that to brown up the top when you move them to the higher rack.  I'm doing 2 pan pizzas tomorrow in a non-convection oven, so I'll time the browning on the higher rack.  As you know, you have to watch the pizzas carefully at this stage as they can over-brown very quickly.

Offline ctimmer

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2008, 06:23:01 PM »
My wife was out of town last weekend so I did what every guy dreams of in this situation - eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  >:D

The browning problem I had originally was probably due more to my lack of experience with my new oven. The old oven (24 year old gas) just was not capable of delivering BTU's to the pizza like the new one (electric).

For testing I used the thin-crust dough/sauce recipe found here (http://www.pizzamaking.com/thincrust.php) with a cutter pan.
The most useful suggestion, start with conventional baking and switch to convection, worked quite well. This eliminated the need to move the pie to a higher rack or rotate it for even baking. I switched to convection when the crust rim just started to brown lightly.

One idea that worked TOO good with the conventional setting was to bake the pie directly (no cutter pan) on a preheated Quick-Disk (http://www.pizzatools.com/SearchByCategory.aspx?CategoryCode=056000). The crust was already well done in about half the time needed for the top of the pie to cook.

Thanks for all of the suggestions,
Curt

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2008, 10:08:26 PM »
"My wife was out of town last weekend so I did what every guy dreams of in this situation - eat pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! "



No comment!


LOL


PNW

Offline BTB

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2008, 11:30:05 AM »
Peter, I just remembered a question that I had to your reply #6 above.  You mentioned that you used a perforated cutter pan (dark anodized one from pizzatools.com).  You previously reported, however, using a non-perforated dark anodized cutter pan (from pizzatools.com) and I thereafter got, used and absolutely love my 14" non-perforated cutter pan.  But a perforated cutter pan would seem problematic.  I imagine it's for better crispiness, but the holes  -- depending on the size, I guess -- would seem to easily clog up with crust particles, cheese, etc. making clean up difficult to impossible.  I just wonder what your thinking is in this regard.  When I do it right, I don't seem to have a problem making a crispy cracker crust or other thin crust pizza with the non-perforated cutter pan.   

On another matter, I'm finding it increasingly hard to find General Mills Harvest King flour.  They seem to have disappeared from the grocery shelves in favor of Better for Bread version that does not say Harvest King on the package.  Harvest King had been my preference for cracker and other thin crust pizzas that I occasionally make (but KAAP for Chicago Deep Dish).

Offline November

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2008, 12:15:27 PM »
But a perforated cutter pan would seem problematic.  I imagine it's for better crispiness, but the holes  -- depending on the size, I guess -- would seem to easily clog up with crust particles, cheese, etc. making clean up difficult to impossible.

There is nothing problematic about perforated cutter pans.  I have been using perforated, 0.5" walled pans for around 16 years and they are my favorite out of all my pizza pans.  I also haven't had to do anything more than wipe them with a paper towel after each use to clean them for all these years.  Perhaps instead of holes you were thinking of tubes, because I can't imagine food getting stuck in a hole that's only 0.0625" deep.

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2008, 12:17:16 PM »
BTB,

I stand corrected. I meant to say that I use a nonperforated cutter pan for the cracker style. Thanks for catching that. I will go back to Reply 6 and correct the error. Since I also have a perforated cutter pan, maybe sometime I will use that for a cracker-type crust to see if the types of problems you mention actually materialize.

As far as the Harvest King bread flour is concerned, I am still seeing it sold by at least one of the supermarkets near me. One of our members, Lydia, recently posted on this subject at Reply 319 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1911.msg61951.html#msg61951. There still seems to be a lot of confusion in the naming and packaging of the product. The home baker section of the General Mills website itself, at http://www.bettycrocker.com/products/gold-medal-flour/gold-medal-products.htm, shows the Better for Bread packaging. However, on the professionals side of the website, at http://www.gmiflour.com/gmflour/flour.aspx?type=Eharvestking, the Harvest King flour is still being featured but I note that the specs for that flour, which I have seen before, are no longer given. When I tried the link that I previously used to access those specs, it would not work. Go figure.

Peter

EDIT (4/15/14): For a current link to the Harvest King flour, see http://professionalbakingsolutions.com/flour/brand/general-mills-harvest-king

Offline ctimmer

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2008, 02:04:43 PM »
Quote
I imagine it's for better crispiness, but the holes  -- depending on the size, I guess -- would seem to easily clog up with crust particles

I have a couple of really old perforated aluminum pizza pans. The holes are very small and when they get clogged with baked in sauce or cheese are almost impossible to clean.

The perforated pans/screens from pizzatools.com are fairly large. In my limited experience so far I have had no problems keeping them clean. I bought a plastic bristle brush for cleaning but I haven't had to use it yet.

Curt

Offline November

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2008, 02:27:00 PM »
The holes are very small and when they get clogged with baked in sauce or cheese are almost impossible to clean.

You're not placing the pizza on the pan upside down, are you?  :D

Offline ctimmer

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2008, 03:09:28 PM »
Quote
You're not placing the pizza on the pan upside down, are you?

Ouch - tough forum!  :-D

Due to laziness or impatience, I have been know to cut a pie right out of the oven.

When trying new things, the results can be really messy. These don't get reported.

My worst disaster:
I baked a pie with the freshness pack from the pepperoni package (the one says 'do not eat') AND a paper separator from the pre-sliced cheese. Not my finest pizza baking moment.

Curt

Offline BTB

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Re: convection ovens
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2008, 03:39:16 PM »
You're not placing the pizza on the pan upside down, are you? 

November, I think its quite easy for crumbs, melted cheese, corn meal, or whatever to fall into the cracks, crevices and perforated holes of a cutter pizza pan.  I had often in the past used pizza screens (but rarely do now) as the screens would get clogged up with all kinds of crud in the baking process, especially melted cheese.  And yes, the pizzas were right-side up!  I don't know for a fact, but I would guess the holes in a perforated cutter pan are smaller than the openings in a screen.  One must be a real careful baker to avoid any affect on the cutter pans perforated holes I would think. But whatever.