Have you ever wanted to bake a new recipe and it turned out dried or undercooked? Although this can be quite frustrating, it happens to most amateur bakers. Much emphasis is placed on getting the recipe right, but little is said on understanding your bakery oven.
It is why the exact recipe can come out with different results and leave you wondering what you probably did wrong. As a quick way to help you get better baking results, here are some things you need to know about a bakery oven.
Bakery oven hot spots and temperature
If you have been using bakery ovens for a long time, you probably would have noticed that no oven operates exactly the same way. This has a lot to do with the temperature and hot spots of the oven. Yes, you read that right! Ovens have hot spots.
This is why when you bake cakes or biscuits, they don’t all come out brown evenly or some look softer than the rest. This is because some areas in the oven get more heat than others. A good way to understand your oven’s hot spots is to measure the temperature with a top-quality thermometer. You can find these at any good kitchenware or bakery shop.
Start by placing the thermometer in the middle of the oven and then preheat the oven to a regulated temperature. First, you want to make sure the oven’s temperature regulator gives the exact temperature inside the oven. For instance, set the temperature adjuster to 20°C and see if the thermometer in the middle of the oven reads the same.
If it does, move the thermometer to different areas in the oven to see if they all read the same. If it doesn’t read the same temperature, take note of the temperature difference and adjust properly when next you use the oven.
Bakery oven settings
To help combat this temperature differential in ovens, manufacturers include oven setting options. Since bakery ovens are multifunctional, they are designed to cater to different cooking methods.
This is the normal setting in a bakery oven. Heat is supplied from the top and bottom of the oven. This means when using the bakery oven, you would have to occasionally change the trays between layers to even the baking process.
As the name implies, heat distribution is done with the use of a fan. It’s easy to know if your oven has a fan-forced settings option since you see a fan installed at the back area, inside the oven. With fan-forced settings, the fan circulates heat from the element and blows it around in the oven. This ensures all areas of the oven get the same temperature. You wouldn’t need to move trays around with this setting.
Think of this as a setting between the conventional and fan-forced. The oven’s heating element is located at the top and bottom of the oven while the fan at the back circulates the heat. This is good to help cook evenly but the hot spots are still located above and below. This setting is best to use when using the oven for a short time with high temperatures.
Most of the mishaps that occur during baking is as a result of insufficient understanding of the bakery oven. Since these bakery ovens come in different designs, it’s always smart to study and understand the oven before getting started with it.