A New Year, a New Life

Over the New Year holidays, I moved to the San Juan Islands. It has been a two year journey for me from an abusive situation, a divorce and now starting over.It is the reason my store was closed down and I have not been as available as I once was. Throughout my journey, I found that there are many resources and people who reach out a helping hand to those in need, I am very grateful to those that were supportive and encouraging.

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I have some new challenges in my present location. One being a defective convection oven that took two hours to reach 350F!! Convection ovens do not seem to have a bottom element. How do those of you with a convection oven bake decent bread? You need good bottom heat for bread. I baked up some sourdough biscuits and the tops were nicely browned but the bottoms stayed white no matter what I did.

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The solution that I have come up with so far,  is to put the baking stone on the very top rack of the oven, right next to the element and put “convection broil” on for an hour, that not only turns on the fan to distribute the heat around the stone, but turns on both elements which are at the top of the oven.

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I was able to super heat the stone, then move it down in the oven, place a roasting lid over the dough to protect it from the overhead element (which I had changed to “convection bake”) and I got some really nice bread:

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Autumn Porch Sourdough

Autumn Porch Sourdough

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The cut loaf was underproofed, you can tell by the direction of the holes, the tight look to the loaf and the cracked domed top. I waited an additional half hour to bake the second loaf and it came out great. The baking time was less in a convection oven, even with the roasting pan over the dough. I baked it 20 minutes with the lid and two more minutes with the lid removed. I was afraid to take the pan off sooner because the top of the bread had a chance of burning, since the element overhead was on.

Autumn Porch Sourdough closeup

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I baked up some Autumn Porch Sourdough for this experiment in baking with a defective convection oven. The outdoor temperatures here on the islands has been perfect for Autumn Porch bread because you put your preferment outside overnight in temps that are around 50F degrees. I put my dough into a covered dough folding container and placed it in the trunk of my car. If there is anything I enjoy besides baking, it is being resourceful!! The raccoons outside were dismayed at my new dough retarder.

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I have one more interesting thing to tell you. Those of you who have followed my blog for years, know that I have always wanted a brick/masonry oven to bake bread in. Looky what I found in the basement of my new home:

 

 

 

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The brick fireplace is meant to heat the whole house. There are some supports inside that allow me to fit a shelf and baking stone on. I need to set it up and test it, but you can bet I will do just that.  Any of you with knowledge of masonry oven baking , feel free to email me or comment with suggestions/hints/tips on baking in a brick bread oven.

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The inside is not domed for bread baking, but I will give it a try anyway….. stay tuned….

    northwestsourdough

    Teresa L Greenway - Sourdough bread baker, author, teacher, entrepreneur. Join my baking classes at: https://tinyurl.com/nbe3ejd

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