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Mar 15, 2013 09:06 AM

Are convection ovens okay for baking bread?

We are contemplating buying a new house and the builders are offering as an incentive all stainless steel appliances, including a convection oven. Do I want that? I've just started baking my own bread and some sites seem to indicate that baked goods (cookies, muffins, bread) don't come out so well in a convection oven.

Don't know if this makes a difference, but at least for now most of my bread baking is in pullman pans or at least loaf pans--no artisan-type breads.

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  1. Is it just a convection oven? Most models that I am aware of are dual, regular and convection.
    I've heard the opposite, baked goods work well in convection. I have a dual oven and use convection for cookies all the time. I can put in a couple of baking sheets at a time and they cook evenly.

    2 Replies
    1. re: wyogal

      I just got the info from the sales agent and it's convection only (but looks terrific!). We do have the option of switching to something else if we like.

      Think I could do everything with convection-only? I've never paid attention even to what the difference is since I never thought I'd get one.

      1. re: Thanks4Food

        I don't like the idea of only convection. When one has stuff in the oven, not covered, with some grease, it blows that around.

    2. Convection only sounds unwise to me. Surely one must be able to turn off the fan to normalize it, no?

      1. I have a regular sized dual oven. I would not recommend convection only as some things can get dried out faster. Now they do have small convection only ovens. Are you sure they are not offering one of those in addition to a regular oven? If so, I would opt for a dual and have extra cupboard space (or a wine cooler) :-)

        6 Replies
        1. re: boyzoma

          This is the range:

          Maybe I just don't know how to read the specs. I don't understand the first thing about convection ovens.

          1. re: Thanks4Food

            T4F, going to the link you provided above, if you move your mouse cursor over the image of the range you will see that it goes into "zoom" mode. You can move the mouse around to get closeup views of all areas of the image. Zoom in on the left side of the control panel at the top, where the "Oven Controls" touch pad is. You will see that there are selections for four different cooking modes: "Convection Bake", "Convection Roast", "Broil HI/LO" and "Bake". I interpret this last one as meaning the oven is capable of functioning in traditional (non-convection) mode.

            1. re: kmcarr

              Clever of you!

              I've gotten a few more hints from the manual that talk about turning the convection bake/convection roast feature off. And they say that "Sabbath Mode" doesn't work with convection cooking or broiling. Wish they could just come out and state it clearly, though.

              So, if it's got the two options, I should be good for whatever baking I want to do?

              Another question: some say they love the warming drawer for letting dough rise, but from what I can tell, it seems the lowest setting is 140 degrees. I have used 100 degrees as the highest to go with letting bread rise. What's safe? Or would I turn it on, let it warm up, then turn off and put the loaf pans in?

              1. re: Thanks4Food

                My take on that particular model is the the bottom drawer isn't a "warming drawer" but really a second, very small oven (they call it a "Baking Drawer"). If you look around at some of the other models you will note that GE makes a distinction between "Warming Drawer" and "Baking Drawer". Given the minimum temp of the latter is 140°F I wouldn't use it for proofing bread.

                I have heard that in some cases simply leaving the oven light on in a closed oven provides enough heat for proofing bread. I can't vouch for that and I imagine it would really depend on the model of oven you have and the wattage of the bulb.

                1. re: kmcarr

                  That's actually what I've been doing and it works--except for a long pullman pan when I have to turn it halfway through so it's not risen just on one side.

                  A baking drawer isn't a bad idea for me since I have never been able to get multiple things done at one time. Even eggs, toast and bacon are hard for me. ;-)

            2. re: Thanks4Food

              I agree with kmcarr. It should be more "plain" in the description as it looks like it does both regular and convection. I have a different brand, but the controls are very similar and it does both. And it has a lower "baking drawer". The baking drawer however only goes up to 350 degrees. But when making multiple things, it has been a life saver (think thanksgiving dinner sides).

          2. Another doubter about a convection-only oven. Some oven-work needs direct heat and convection would disperse that. Also, does the oven have a broiler? That you'll certainly need, at least now and then.

            1. Since it sounds as if the dual fuel/convection only question has been addressed, I'll answer your original question.

              Yes, you certainly can bake bread and bake it very well in a convection oven. I bake on a stone and my bread comes out wonderfully. Cakes and cookies bake evenly without having to rotate sheets and pans, too. No, you won't want convection for everything but it's great for most day to day baking.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rockycat

                Thanks rockycat! Someone who reviewed this particular range did say she had to rotate the sheets and pans--think she's doing something wrong? (The manual does give directions on how you'd want to use the 3 racks for best results.)

                Is there any kind of primer on how to know when you want convection vs. traditional?

                1. re: Thanks4Food

                  The owners' manual that came with my oven had multiple pages of charts describing what you'd use each setting for and how long you would cook each item. If you Google the manual for your particular model, you may find something similar in it.