6 Common Questions About Convection Ovens
With the availability of countertop convection ovens and traditional ovens fitted with convection-baking technology, home cooks are discovering the baking methods once reserved for professionals in the culinary industry. Consistent baking results and even heat distribution are two of the biggest reasons to buy a convection oven. However, even seasoned home cooks need some guidance while they are adapting to the new way of convection cooking, so read on to get answers to all your convection oven questions. If you’re ready to purchase a convection oven, but aren’t sure where to start, read the Large Kitchen Appliances Buying Guide for answers to all your appliance questions.
What is a convection oven?
A convection oven is a cooking appliance that cooks food by constantly circulating hot air to provide a consistent temperature on all surfaces of the food, resulting in even cooking. Convection ovens are especially beneficial when it comes to saving energy since they make the most use of the heat provided and cook food quickly. From a culinary standpoint, the dry atmosphere created by convection is great for browning breads and meats while keeping the inside of the food moist.
What is the difference between convection ovens and traditional ovens?
A traditional oven uses radiant heat to cook food. While this is a time-honored method of cooking, one side of a dish may receive more heat than the other side, causing the food to bake unevenly. A convection oven, however, doesn’t only rely on radiant heat from heating elements. It uses a fan to evenly distribute the heat over and around the food for even cooking.
Do convection ovens cook food faster?
Yes, food cooks faster in a convection oven due to the increased food-surface temperature. The airflow boosts yeast breads to new heights, allows fats to render quickly, seals meats, and creates tender, flaky pastries. While each convection oven comes with different manufacturer's specifications, cooking time is typically shortened by approximately 20 percent.
Are special pans necessary for convection ovens?
Regular pans are fine, but pans with lower sides are desirable because high pan-sides may hamper airflow. A flat cookie sheet produces evenly browned cookies in less time than a cookie sheet with sides. When roasting, place the food item on top of a roasting rack that’s positioned within a shallow roasting pan. The rack allows the hot air to circulate around and under the roasting food, cooking from all sides.
Should conventional recipes be adjusted when cooking with convection ovens?
Because food cooks faster in a convection oven, you should check for doneness approximately three-fourths of the way through a traditional recipe's recommended cooking time. In addition, you may need to lower the temperature of baked goods by 20 to 25 degrees to keep cakes, breads, and biscuits from baking before they can rise sufficiently. Check the manufacturer's instructions for more details.
Can a convection oven cook more than one rack of food evenly?
This is where the convection oven shines. Unlike a traditional oven where you must remove and switch multiple foods to different racks during the cooking process, a convection oven allows you to load every rack with food without compromising the food on any rack. The hot air circulates between racks and heats all food surfaces evenly without the food being rotated.