Best oven functions for different bakes


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Hi all,

I have a De Dietrich oven at home that has different functions and I almost always use the fan oven function for cooking and baking as is pretty standard in the UK. But it has other functions too:

- Fan is heat from the back of the oven
- Combined heat - still with fan, I think, but with heat coming from back, top and bottom of oven - think this is good for browning chicken, etc. due to grill/top element being on
- Conventional heat
- Bottom heat with fan

My oven heats to 250C, in theory! Which is about 480F. Is fan cooking the best function for baking? (I always reduce temp accordingly and fan oven temps are either standard in cookbooks over here or conversions are given) Or would other functions better serve different bakes? I've baked bread once with bottom heat but free-form rather than tin and the crust was a bit harder than usual. Don't know if I might need to adjust temp/cooking time.
 
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What is most important is alway using an oven thermometer. I have two in my oven; one in the center, and one in the back. I monitor the temperature throughout the bake.

Before I got serious about baking, I spent $3500 on a Viking convection oven. I was very much into cooking, but not into baking at the time. Shortly after I bought the oven I started baking. Everything I baked on convection, which is a fan function, was over baked. When I did some research I learned convection was never intended for home use. And the function on a home oven doesn’t even function like a true convection oven. The oven industry decided to attach a fan and call it convection as a marketing gimmick to make money. It it ruined everything I never used the fan function again. It was a waste of money.

Everything I bake is a just a conventional oven. I prefer gas to electric, but I have owned both over the years. My current oven is a gas range. My last home had double electric built in wall ovens. The home before that had double built in wall gas ovens.

In a commercial bakery, a dozen tray will be baked at once. In that case, fan circulated heat is required to ensure even heat distribution in the oven chamber.

But in a home oven when only one or two item(s) is baked on a single rack, blasting all that heat on one rack just over bakes and dries out the baked goods.

Commercial ovens also have steam functions and vents. Home ovens do not. So the fan blasting all that hot dry heat causes a hard crust to form on baked goods.

A lot of commercial ovens also have rotating racks, so the trays are in constant motion. This prevents baked goods from siting in a hot spot in the oven. If you have the fan blasting, it just makes your hot spot hotter and drier, so whatever is baking in the hot spot just gets dry roasted.
 
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What is most important is alway using an oven thermometer. I have two in my oven; one in the center, and one in the back. I monitor the temperature throughout the bake.

Before I got serious about baking, I spent $3500 on a Viking convection oven. I was very much into cooking, but not into baking at the time. Shortly after I bought the oven I started baking. Everything I baked on convection, which is a fan function, was over baked. When I did some research I learned convection was never intended for home use. And the function on a home oven doesn’t even function like a true convection oven. The oven industry decided to attach a fan and call it convection as a marketing gimmick to make money. It it ruined everything I never used the fan function again. It was a waste of money.

Everything I bake is a just a conventional oven. I prefer gas to electric, but I have owned both over the years. My current oven is a gas range. My last home had double electric built in wall ovens. The home before that had double built in wall gas ovens.

In a commercial bakery, a dozen tray will be baked at once. In that case, fan circulated heat is required to ensure even heat distribution in the oven chamber.

But in a home oven when only one or two item(s) is baked on a single rack, blasting all that heat on one rack just over bakes and dries out the baked goods.

Commercial ovens also have steam functions and vents. Home ovens do not. So the fan blasting all that hot dry heat causes a hard crust to form on baked goods.

A lot of commercial ovens also have rotating racks, so the trays are in constant motion. This prevents baked goods from siting in a hot spot in the oven. If you have the fan blasting, it just makes your hot spot hotter and drier, so whatever is baking in the hot spot just gets dry roasted.
Hmm, thanks Norcal. I think I had heard this. But I've never cooked/baked in anything but a fan oven. I'm not sure anyone under 40 in the UK has unless they've inherited a really old oven. There's not an option in most ovens - it's fan as standard. But with this oven I actually have the option (though fan is set as default) so it's maybe time to try something new - and this is COMPLETELY new territory to me! I do have an oven thermometer but it shows my oven isn't as hot as it says and my cooking bears that out. Had a repair guy come out and test the temp and he said it's fine. :rolleyes:

Interestingly, most ovens in the UK are electric with a separate gas hob. The hob is usually located in the work surface above the oven but doesn't have to be. We don't tend to have the all-in-one oven and stove like the US any more, and we tend to have narrower ovens than I've seen in the US. Of course, the places I've rented might have just had old ovens! Gas ovens don't tend to have temperature gauges over here - not sure if that's the same in the US - they just have 'gas marks', so gas mark 4 is 180C. At home we have a halogen hob and two separate ovens at eye level, which is becoming more popular. I find the differences fascinating and I'm sure some culinary tech historian (if such a thing exists) could explain why the US and UK have evolved such different approaches.
 
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Hmm, thanks Norcal. I think I had heard this. But I've never cooked/baked in anything but a fan oven. I'm not sure anyone under 40 in the UK has unless they've inherited a really old oven. There's not an option in most ovens - it's fan as standard. But with this oven I actually have the option (though fan is set as default) so it's maybe time to try something new - and this is COMPLETELY new territory to me! I do have an oven thermometer but it shows my oven isn't as hot as it says and my cooking bears that out. Had a repair guy come out and test the temp and he said it's fine. :rolleyes:

Interestingly, most ovens in the UK are electric with a separate gas hob. The hob is usually located in the work surface above the oven but doesn't have to be. We don't tend to have the all-in-one oven and stove like the US any more, and we tend to have narrower ovens than I've seen in the US. Of course, the places I've rented might have just had old ovens! Gas ovens don't tend to have temperature gauges over here - not sure if that's the same in the US - they just have 'gas marks', so gas mark 4 is 180C. At home we have a halogen hob and two separate ovens at eye level, which is becoming more popular. I find the differences fascinating and I'm sure some culinary tech historian (if such a thing exists) could explain why the US and UK have evolved such different approaches.

Most American ovens can be set in increments of 5°F with temperature ranges from 170°F - 550°F.

There are pros and cons to gas and electric.

Gas ovens heat more quickly, there is some humidity in the oven chamber. And I think that is part of the reason they perform better in baking. Everything rises better. Baked goods are not dried out.

Electric ovens are slower to heat; have more even heating, but it is dry air. I don’t think they bake as well. Definitely lower rise with dry heat. One thing with electric ovens is if you need to make something really crispy the dry heat is good for that.

A lot of commercial ovens are electric these days, but they have steam and venting features. So the baker can inject steam as needed, then vent it out to create a dry chamber.

Commercial produced bread is usually baked on a deck oven rather than convection oven with racks. Even these have a steam and vent capability.

When it comes to the cooktops (hob), gas is king. Gas temperature can be adjusted immediately, where an electric element is very slow to respond. Also electric cannot put out the amount of heat gas is capable of generating. You won’t find electric burners in a commercial kitchen with the exception of an portable induction burner or portable electric burner.


Trust the temperature reading on your oven thermometer when it comes to baking. Always preheat your oven to full temperature before you begin to bake.


I would experiment without the fan. It will change the baking times. But conventional baking is less intense. And if you have an electric oven, which is very dry heat, you might get better results.
 
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I just baked rhubarb crumble on conventional. Turned it up from 200C to 220C as oven thermometer was only reading 180C when the oven was set at 200C. I think my thermometer is actually wrong as it cooked too quickly and burned a little! :oops: I think I might get another oven thermometer just to check now. The crumble is for my father-in-law so fortunately he won't care!

tempImageIm1dUz.jpg
 
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I just baked rhubarb crumble on conventional. Turned it up from 200C to 220C as oven thermometer was only reading 180C when the oven was set at 200C. I think my thermometer is actually wrong as it cooked too quickly and burned a little! :oops: I think I might get another oven thermometer just to check now. The crumble is for my father-in-law so fortunately he won't care!

View attachment 3605

Make sure your oven thermometer is in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. For the reading to be that off, it sounds like it a Fahrenheit thermometer.
 
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Make sure your oven thermometer is in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. For the reading to be that off, it sounds like it a Fahrenheit thermometer.
Definitely not Fahrenheit - you can't get Fahrenheit thermometers in the UK. It might even be illegal! It's definitely illegal to sell things in imperial weights, except beer, gold, and milk. Weird, I know. You can put imperial measurements alongside but not in place of metric, so you could get a thermometer that also has a Fahrenheit scale but it can't be more prominent than the Celsius markings. And I've definitely only got a Celsius scale on there. It seems about 20C out so will try a different make. It's not an expensive one - just from a grocery store - but I was assured they didn't need to be flashy. Never mind - I think I'll order one before I do any more baking though. I have some leftover rhubarb syrup from today and was going to make a rhubarb and custard cake. :)
 
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Definitely not Fahrenheit - you can't get Fahrenheit thermometers in the UK. It might even be illegal! It's definitely illegal to sell things in imperial weights, except beer, gold, and milk. Weird, I know. You can put imperial measurements alongside but not in place of metric, so you could get a thermometer that also has a Fahrenheit scale but it can't be more prominent than the Celsius markings. And I've definitely only got a Celsius scale on there. It seems about 20C out so will try a different make. It's not an expensive one - just from a grocery store - but I was assured they didn't need to be flashy. Never mind - I think I'll order one before I do any more baking though. I have some leftover rhubarb syrup from today and was going to make a rhubarb and custard cake. :)

Just wanted to make sure. Our oven thermometers are in both celsius and fahrenheit. ETI (Electronica Temperature Instruments LTD). They make the Thermopen, which is the themometer every chef, baker, commercial kitchen owns. They make some of the most reliable thermometers in the world. Their oven thermometer is inexpensive. I own several types of their thermometers, two of their alarms, and a hygrometer. If you buy any of their products, make sure you buy directly from them. There thermometers are highly coveted, so there are counterfeits on Amazon. Their American partner, ThermoWorks, will not honor an warranty on any product that is purchased on Amazon or any authorized dealer.

Even though the home baking industry in the US uses volume measurements, professionals use metric. So when it comes to baking temperature, a lot think of baking temperature in celsius, especially those who received classic French training. Everything is taught in metric. I cannot think in cups and spoon or in US units. Ounces don’t make sense to me. And the systems of imperial weights cannot be used for baking since it the US and Imperial systems are different. So there is not even an international standard for the measurements.


US 1 oz = 29.57mL
UK 1 oz = 28.41mL

US N/A
UK 1 gill = 5 oz = 142.07mL

US 1 cup = 8 oz = 236mL
UK N/A

US 1 pint = 16 oz = 473.18mL
UK 1 pint = 20 oz = 568.28mL

US 1 quart = 32 oz = 946.36mL
UK 1 quart = 40 oz = 1.137L

US 1 gallon = 128 oz = 3.785L
UK 1 gallon = 160 oz = 4.546L

In the US, those who know the differences in weights, look for Canadian beer and ale brands that were actually bottled for sale in Canada instead of the US because they know they get more per serving.



 
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Just wanted to make sure. Our oven thermometers are in both celsius and fahrenheit. ETI (Electronica Temperature Instruments LTD). They make the Thermopen, which is the themometer every chef, baker, commercial kitchen owns. They make some of the most reliable thermometers in the world. Their oven thermometer is inexpensive. I own several types of their thermometers, two of their alarms, and a hygrometer. If you buy any of their products, make sure you buy directly from them. There thermometers are highly coveted, so there are counterfeits on Amazon. Their American partner, ThermoWorks, will not honor an warranty on any product that is purchased on Amazon or any authorized dealer.

Even though the home baking industry in the US uses volume measurements, professionals use metric. So when it comes to baking temperature, a lot think of baking temperature in celsius, especially those who received classic French training. Everything is taught in metric. I cannot think in cups and spoon or in US units. Ounces don’t make sense to me. And the systems of imperial weights cannot be used for baking since it the US and Imperial systems are different. So there is not even an international standard for the measurements.


US 1 oz = 29.57mL
UK 1 oz = 28.41mL

US N/A
UK 1 gill = 5 oz = 142.07mL

US 1 cup = 8 oz = 236mL
UK N/A

US 1 pint = 16 oz = 473.18mL
UK 1 pint = 20 oz = 568.28mL

US 1 quart = 32 oz = 946.36mL
UK 1 quart = 40 oz = 1.137L

US 1 gallon = 128 oz = 3.785L
UK 1 gallon = 160 oz = 4.546L

In the US, those who know the differences in weights, look for Canadian beer and ale brands that were actually bottled for sale in Canada instead of the US because they know they get more per serving.



Haha, that's clever! My husband once got me a measuring jug from Amazon and I was like, 'this is NEVER a pint', then realised it was in US measurements. :D

Thanks for the thermometer recommendation, I'll check it out.
 
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Haha, that's clever! My husband once got me a measuring jug from Amazon and I was like, 'this is NEVER a pint', then realised it was in US measurements. :D

Thanks for the thermometer recommendation, I'll check it out.

lol. This is why the American home baking industry is a curse and a pox to the baking industry. Our use of this crazy measurement system is not only inaccurate, but it is the idiotic oddball system that only Americans use. If a baker in a country that uses the Imperial systems tries to use an american recipe written in US units, all the weight measurements are wrong.

The Americans are the only ones with this stupid system that only we use :rolleyes:. The crazy thing is every professional field in the US from medical, engineering, scientists, architecture, agriculture, culinary, and manufacturing requires the use of metric. No one can graduate from high school without learning metrics. And every college major requires algebra and at least one class in statistics or calculus; biology and chemistry. And no one gets through these classes without knowing metrics. The majority of us were taught metrics and use it. So why the government doesn’t switch us to the metric system is baffling.
 
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lol. This is why the American home baking industry is a curse and a pox to the baking industry. Our use of this crazy measurement system is not only inaccurate, but it is the idiotic oddball system that only Americans use. If a baker in a country that uses the Imperial systems tries to use an american recipe written in US units, all the weight measurements are wrong.

The Americans are the only ones with this stupid system that only we use :rolleyes:. The crazy thing is every professional field in the US from medical, engineering, scientists, architecture, agriculture, culinary, and manufacturing requires the use of metric. No one can graduate from high school without learning metrics. And every college major requires algebra and at least one class in statistics or calculus; biology and chemistry. And no one gets through these classes without knowing metrics. The majority of us were taught metrics and use it. So why the government doesn’t switch us to the metric system is baffling.
It’s quite cute really, like US has got its fingers in its ears going lalala to the rest of the world!

I must admit, I was taught in ounces, even though I was born post-decimalisation, because my mum and grandma taught me to cook and that’s what they used. Though my grandma often didn’t use scales, just her eye. She was a cook before she married and could just cut off a block of butter to within a couple of grams accuracy. I was reluctant to go over to grams but it’s so much more precise.
 
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It’s quite cute really, like US has got its fingers in its ears going lalala to the rest of the world!

I must admit, I was taught in ounces, even though I was born post-decimalisation, because my mum and grandma taught me to cook and that’s what they used. Though my grandma often didn’t use scales, just her eye. She was a cook before she married and could just cut off a block of butter to within a couple of grams accuracy. I was reluctant to go over to grams but it’s so much more precise.




Hahaha, I think all grandma’s were like that. Baking from the hip, but baking amazing cakes, cookies, breads. pies. My grandma was an amazing baker. She was like that too. She was a southerner. Everything had to be fresh from the orchard and garden. It’s interesting, southerners in the US have a lot of British baked goods in their baking traditions. My grandma baked mincemeat pie, fruitcake, and shortbread every Christmas. She started her fruitcake in late October. By Christmas, those cakes were a nice and liquored up. Of seven kids, I was the only one who loved the fruitcake and mincemeat pies. Every year, it was just my grandma, gramps, their best friends Mae and Dick, and me eating all the fruitcake and mincemeat pies. How can anyone not love mincemeat pies!!!!
 
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Hahaha, I think all grandma’s were like that. Baking from the hip, but baking amazing cakes, cookies, breads. pies. My grandma was an amazing baker. She was like that too. She was a southerner. Everything had to be fresh from the orchard and garden. It’s interesting, southerners in the US have a lot of British baked goods in their baking traditions. My grandma baked mincemeat pie, fruitcake, and shortbread every Christmas. She started her fruitcake in late October. By Christmas, those cakes were a nice and liquored up. Of seven kids, I was the only one who loved the fruitcake and mincemeat pies. Every year, it was just my grandma, gramps, their best friends Mae and Dick, and me eating all the fruitcake and mincemeat pies. How can anyone not love mincemeat pies!!!!
I LOVE mince pies! My grandma’s mince pie pastry is made with self-raising flour! I know, I know. But I’ve made it with plain flour and it doesn’t work. How on earth did she come up with her recipe, which is not quite pate brisee, nor pate sucree. I wish I had asked her but I was only a teenager when she gave me the recipe and I didn’t realise how odd it was.
 
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I LOVE mince pies! My grandma’s mince pie pastry is made with self-raising flour! I know, I know. But I’ve made it with plain flour and it doesn’t work. How on earth did she come up with her recipe, which is not quite pate brisee, nor pate sucree. I wish I had asked her but I was only a teenager when she gave me the recipe and I didn’t realise how odd it was.

The British colonist traditions really stuck with people. Certainly a few things probably changed in recipes, but the tradition of the mincemeat pie, fruitcake, and short bread persisted generation after generation. When my grandmother died there were so many recipes that died with her.

Unfortunately so many recipes were in her head. She never wrote them down. She had made them so many times over the years she had the memorized. I remember as a teenager trying to re-create some of her recipes with my oldest sister. We failed at everything:(
 
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The British colonist traditions really stuck with people. Certainly a few things probably changed in recipes, but the tradition of the mincemeat pie, fruitcake, and short bread persisted generation after generation. When my grandmother died there were so many recipes that died with her.

Unfortunately so many recipes were in her head. She never wrote them down. She had made them so many times over the years she had the memorized. I remember as a teenager trying to re-create some of her recipes with my oldest sister. We failed at everything:(
Same here. My grandma lived to 100 years old but I think why didn't I ask her for recipes all that time? I have only got them for mince pies and marmalade bread and butter pudding. Poor woman had 7 boys and no girls (I can't imagine the horror of World War 2 with a load of cheeky boys) so the recipes didn't get passed down in the same way they would have if she'd had any daughters. I'm trying to write everything down for my little girl.
 

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