Baking with convection
I'm getting ready to bake pumpkin bread. I don't do much baking and the only time I've used the convection setting on my oven for baking is when I make popovers -- with GREAT results!
Now I'm wondering if I ought to use the convection setting for baking the pumpkin bread. If so, should I use the "Convection Bake" setting or the "True Convection" setting? And should I accept the oven's auto temp adjustment (which lowers the oven temp by 25 degrees) or should I adjust the oven temp myself? Normally, I'd bake the loaf for an hour and 15 minutes at 350, and then test for doneness.
Can anyone give me some convection baking guidance? Thanks!!!
I don't use convection for something that needs to rise because it can cause an uneven rise and is drying which can inhibit the rise. I just don't feel it benefits what you are doing. You can turn on convection at the end to enhance browning though. There are people who do use it though and like it. If you use it, I would try the convection bake though. True convection is more of a benefit when the oven is full. Learning to use a convection oven is trial and error as they are all different in the way they work. What brand of oven do you have?
It's a Bosch. I never know when to use the convection settings. I know convection is supposed to be good for baking cookies, but I never bake cookies. Since it causes an uneven rise, I guess it wouldn't be good for baking yeast breads. But my popovers (not made with yeast) rise beautifully with the true convection setting.
You can't argue with success. It might be interesting to try them with convetional bake too though. There are people that use it for bread but optimum would be to use the conventional bake the first half and convection the second half. Many bread bakers even add steam the first part of the baking time. The second half, open the door and let moisture out and turn on the convection bake.
Convection ovens have different fans(size, number, speed), some come on and off and some have the third element that can be programmed in different ways.
Convection has the following effects.
Faster heat transfer- your food will cook faster so that is why the temperature is decreased. The "rule" is 25 degrees but it will vary. This faster heat transfer is good for pies, crispy cookies and pastries.
Helps even the heat out in your oven
Has a drying effect which helps makes things crispy. If you have convection roast mode, it will bring more heat from the top which is great for roasting meats and vegetables. Turkey and chicken roasted are great. I will sometimes cook something I want to brown on top like Mac and cheese at least part of the time on convection roast.
Convection bake brings more heat from the bottom which is great for pies
You can read all kinds of opinions about this but I try to think about what convection will do and if this aids in what I am doing.
I made popovers for years in a conventional oven. The first major improvement was finding the right popover pan (Chicago Metallic), but they almost always came out lopsided. Delicious, but lopsided. The convection setting takes care of that and they puff up beautifully. It's likely the "drying effect which helps make things crispy" that makes that possible.
I use convection all the time... but it takes some getting used to. Do use convection bake, otherwise the top will get too brown before the bottom is cooked. Drop the temp 25 degrees, and start checking for doneness at 1 hour. You might need to rotate the pan if one side browns faster. I like it most because it cooks faster, not because it makes the final product better!
I used a convection oven for 12 years, and I always used the convection settings. I learned to check early to see if something was done, but it became routine. I baked cornbread, biscuits, cake, occasionally cookies. I loved what it did for cornbread, which came out with a wonderful browned top.
If you have it, just use it. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
I never set the temps lower, either. But if you bake a couple of things and you think you'd like the temp set lower, you'll know to do so in future. But once I got my convection oven, I never looked back. I did have a few second thoughts early on, but overall I liked my oven very well.
I miss convection with my present oven. Lucky I don't bake that much anymore.