The Benefits of Convection Ovens

Benefits of Convection Ovens Banner

If you've ever tried to cook chicken at home, you can probably attest to the elusiveness of a perfectly cooked chicken. Overcook your bird (even slightly) and you'll be dealing with a dry, rubbery result that's positively fowl! Or, maybe you're familiar with the experience of roasting vegetables only to discover that they've become soggy and flavorless. If these tragic tales sound all too familiar, then you may be inclined to make the switch from conventional to convection oven.

What Is Convection Cooking?

Convection ovens can be heated with gas or electricity and feature a fan (or fans) that circulates hot air throughout the oven cavity and ventilates it out. This technology ensures that warm air is distributed more evenly than with a conventional oven. Additionally, convection ovens utilize an exhaust system to ventilate, a component not found in conventional ovens. These innovations allow for hot air to envelop the food and as a result, cooks more evenly and rapidly. True convection ovens employ three heating elements, including one usually located at the back of the oven with fan assistance.

Convection Cooking Considerations

Convection Even Cooking

Even Cooking - In a convection oven, hot air circulates, so you can be sure your food is cooking quickly and evenly. Conventional ovens are prone to hot/cold spots depending on where the heating element is located. Traditionally, conventional ovens contain one stationary heating element radiating heat from the bottom of the cavity. This heating element design and the fact that hot air rises can cause conventional ovens to be less effective at cooking multiple dishes at once. Items placed on lower racks may be undercooked or require extra time while food placed on upper racks may burn in that same timeframe.

Convection Better Browning

Better Browning - Convection ovens excel at browning and crisping foods while also retaining the desired internal moisture in a given dish. Convection produces warm, dry air which is ideal for caramelizing the sugars of food being roasted. Conventional ovens, on the other hand, are more susceptible to humid air being retained in the cavity due to a lack of proper ventilation.

Convection Faster Cooking

Faster Cooking - Moving air causes heat transference to occur more rapidly and speeds up chemical reactions within the oven. Additional heating elements and fan/exhaust systems allow for 25 percent faster cooking than in a conventional oven. This important to remember when consulting a recipe as you may need to convert times and temperatures accordingly.

Energy Efficient - Convection cooking generally ensures faster cooking times and requires lower temperatures, thus requiring less energy than a conventional oven. This is all achieved while still producing top quality results.

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Convection Clues

Many modern ovens are capable of toggling between conventional and convection cooking. Using convection at the beginning and/or end of a recipe may produce ideal results with certain cooking endeavors. The most logical way to find the optimal adjustments is to experiment with these settings on different recipes and making note for future attempts. Here are some additional tips and suggestions for maximizing your convection oven's potential.

Convection Air Circulation

Let It Breathe! - It is highly recommended that you use shallow baking or roasting pans and trays to allow the hot air to circulate freely. Pans or trays with lower sides will ensure that warm air can surround and penetrate any dish you wish to cook. Any hindrance to the heated air distribution will render your convection oven ineffective.

Convection Covered Pans

We've Got You Covered! - Recipes that call for covering your food with a lid or foil are not prone to moisture loss. With this in mind, convection cooking's faster cooking times are the most logical choice.

Convection Roasting

Boom. Roasted! - Convection ovens truly shine when it comes to roasting various meats and vegetables. Cooking quickly and evenly, the hot, dry air will produce crispy, browned exteriors while retaining a delicious, juicy interior. The rapid caramelization of sugars promises a delectable result every time.

Convection Pies and Pastries

Pleasant Pies and Perfect Pastries! - Convection heat rapidly melts fats and causes butter to steam almost instantly. Baked goods will see their dough rise higher meaning items like pie crusts and croissants will be lighter and flakier than ever.

Convection Cookies

C Is For Convection And Cookies! - This is why you're here right? You're wondering: How can I bake as many delicious, golden brown cookies as possible? The answer: convection! The even heat distribution from convection heat allows for faster baking and a perfect texture through and through. Likewise, the consistent and rapid heating alleviates the need to adjust or rotate the baking sheet midway through the process. Finally, for all of the preceding reasons, you are able, nay, encouraged to cook several trays at once, all with the same delicious results.

Convection Toasting and Dehydrating

A Toast To You! - Simply put, when it comes to toasting or dehydrating foods, convection ovens are more efficient than their conventional counterparts. The key difference being the ventilation system that works to remove moisture from the oven cavity, thus drying and toasting foods more rapidly. Drying or toasting foods like nuts, grains, fruits, and meats produce uniform results with top tier flavor retention.

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Convection Caveats

Batter Up? - Convection is not recommended for certain delicate food items as the fan can cause some undesirable irregularities. Foods that originate as batter and set during the cooking process can be adversely affected by having air blown on them. Examples of these foods who do not thrive in a convection setting are: cakes, souffles, and custards/flans. It is still up for debate whether it is viable to use convection to bake bread so it is best to use your own discretion.

Practice Practice Practice! - Don't expect to master the nuances of convection cooking in your first attempt! Adapting your mainstay recipes and adjusting new tasks for your powerful new convection oven can take some trial and error! In the end, you'll be happy you made the switch!

Convection Souffle

Here are some examples of modern convection technology offered by several premium brands:

Convection Conclusions

Whether you're in the market for a new oven or are looking for tips on how to properly use your current one, we hope you have found this guide informative. Convection cooking produces quality results that everyone can enjoy. If you follow the guidelines found here and from other resources, you'll be cooking like a five-star chef in no time!

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