People have asked whether our recipes can be made in convection ovens. They can, and the only reason we didn’t mention convection ovens in our first book is that most people don’t have them.
But convection ovens do a great job with bread– the bread browns easier and rises higher when the convection fan is blowing. After ten years of living with a broken convection fan, we finally had a mechanic look at it who knew how to fix it. So I’ve been re-testing everything with convection. First, lower the heat by 25 degrees F. Make sure that the convection fan isn’t fooling your thermostat (use an oven thermometer).
For a loaf-pan bread made from Italian Peasant Bread dough (page 46 of ABin5), the loaf baked faster than usual (about 25 to 30 minutes), rose higher, browned more deeply, and was more attractive. The pan was placed directly on the stone near the center of the oven and baked with steam (page 30). The loaf was heavenly when cooled and cut. Perfect custard crumb (dough was a week old) and richly carmelized crust.
In many convection ovens, you will need to be more attentive to turning the loaf around, at least once at the midpoint of baking or beyond. Otherwise you’ll get uneven browning.
But be aware that many newer convection ovens automatically make an adjustment, so consult the owners manual that came with your oven before deciding what to do about the set temperature.
More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books.