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Convection Bake Pita Bread
The Convection Bake mode is the perfect choice for baking quick-cooking pita bread. In this mode, both the bottom and top heating elements are engaged while the fan circulates the heated air around the oven cooking each bread to perfection. The bread can be baked on a rimmed baking sheet or a pizza stone placed on rack position 1 close to the bottom heating element.
Pita bread uses the same ingredients as pizza dough; however, the method of preparation is slightly different. I have been using the recipe written by David Tannis from NYT Cooking for many years except of course I use either my Convection or Combi-Steam oven for proofing.
The recipe comes together easily and doesn’t require using a stand mixer. Typically when baking in Convection lowering the temperature by 25 degrees is recommended however keeping the higher temperature when baking this quick-cooking bread will ensure the best results.
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
½ tsp white sugar
¼ cup whole wheat flour
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp olive oil
Arrange the racks in the oven, placing one rack on the lowest tray slide and select the Proof Mode, the temperature will default to 100°F.
Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir to dissolve.
Whisk in the whole wheat flour and place in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes until frothy.
Add the salt, olive oil, and 2 cups of flour to the sponge and stir with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough. Knead in the bowl for a minute, adding a dusting of flour if needed.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently for 2 minutes until the dough comes together and is smooth.
Cover the dough loosely with a light kitchen towel and rest for 10 minutes then knead again for another 2 minutes. Add small amounts of the remaining flour as needed but the dough should be soft and a bit moist.
Pace the dough in a lightly oiled mixing bowl and place in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the oven, place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet on the lower rack, and heat the oven in the Convection Bake mode 475°F.
Punch down the dough, divide it into 8 equal pieces and roll each one into a ball. Cover the dough balls with a light kitchen towel and rest for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough balls one-by-one into a 6 -8” disk, adding a little more flour to prevent sticking if needed. Bake the bread two or three at a time depending on the size of the baking tray or stone.
Bake for 2 minutes until puffed then turn with tongs and bake for one minute more. The bread should be pale with only a few brown spots.
Makes 8 - 10
Note: I did try baking the Pita bread in my Combi-Steam oven but since the highest temperature is 450 degrees, it wasn’t hot enough for the bread to puff and bake correctly.
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Almond Orange Olive Oil Cake
One of the great mysteries of the the appliance industry is that most ovens sold nowadays feature Convetion cooking modes; however, recipes rarely reference cooking with Convection.
1 - cup whole raw almonds lightly toasted and cooled
¾ - cup twice-sifted cake flour
1 ½ - teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
4 - large eggs
1 - cup sugar
1 - teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of one small orange or Meyer lemon
⅔ - cup extra virgin olive oil
Toast the almonds in the Convection Mode 325 degrees until golden brown inside, set aside to cool completely.
Leave the oven set at 325 or change to 350 degrees if using standard Bake Mode.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9” round cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
Place the almonds in a food processor with one third of the cake flour and process until almost as fine as sand.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the remaining cake flour, baking powder and salt then whisk in the ground almond mixture.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until well-blended. Add the sugar gradually then add the vanilla and orange zest. Continue whipping on high speed until the mixture triples in volume, about 3 minutes.
On low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the olive oil and beating just until the batter is blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until firm to the touch in the center. Cook in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a rack.
Recipe from “Wine Country Table ” author Janet Fletcher