Just as a bit of background, we have recently had a complete makeover in the kitchen with all new appliances and as well as rediscovering and learning more about sourdough, I am also testing out the functions available on the new oven to see how it works.
Thus far, I have been using the top and bottom heat setting with variations in conditions as I outlined in my previous blogs. One reason for only using the convection function was comment made in various places suggesting that fan assisted was possibly not the way to go.
However, the user manual for the oven has a specific bread baking function that uses a combination of fan forced and radiant heating. So this time I decided to give this baking mode a go. In order to limit the number of variables, the recipe remained the same and I liked the batarde format as a single cut only was required to get sandwich sized slices - helps to maintain freshness perhaps? Because there was a day free, I worked with the starter straight from the fridge and followed a timeline for an afternoon bake so there was no retardation after shaping. I also followed the falling oven temperature schedule that seems to be favoured.
I would have to say that the oven spring was possibly the best I have had so far although the crust did burst a little with the result that the loaf ended up a bit uneven with some quite large holes. I wonder whether these were caused by 'cold shuts' formed while shaping the loaf.
The crust was also rather darker than my previous efforts and I wonder whether this extra browning was caused by the fan forced operation and perhaps I should have used a slightly lower temperature in this baking mode. I do seem to recall reading that fan-forced ovens temperatures are lower than for convection.
I judge this loaf to be not quite a 'sour' as the previous one, most likely due to the shorted production schedule and lack of retardation.
So many factors, so little time!