Ask the Editors: The Difference Between Convection and Conventional Ovens
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Every Friday, KitchenDaily's editors select a question from our Facebook fans and answer it in this weekly column. This week, we explain the difference between convection and conventional ovens.
A Facebook fan asked: I just bought a new oven and it's a convection model. What is convection and how does it differ from a regular oven?
Congratulations on your purchase! A new oven is always a welcome addition to any kitchen. Convection ovens have been around since the 1950s and were first used in professional kitchens before they made it to the home. Though pricier than conventional ovens, convection ovens have their many benefits. They have become extremely popular in recent times with many kitchen remodelers choosing to go with convection.
What's the Difference?Unlike conventional ovens, which cook food by surrounding it with hot air, convection ovens circulate the air. Convection ovens are built with a fan placed in the back of the oven. When you turn on the convection setting, the fan blows warm air all around the inside of the oven, promoting rapid and even heating. The hot air in conventional ovens just hangs around and sometimes leads to uneven results.
Cooking with ConvectionSince convection ovens work so fast, the foods don't have to be cooked for as long a time as in conventional ovens. Plus the temperature can be set lower, at about 25 degrees less than specified in a recipe. Oftentimes, baking in a conventional oven leads to uneven browning because of hot spots in the oven. Usually the way to fix this problem would be to rotate the food at least once during baking. But you don't have to do that with a convection oven. Convection ovens also allow you to cook multiple items at once. This comes in handy during the holidays when time is of the essence. But be sure not to overload the oven, because too many pans will keep the air from circulating.
How to Maximize the BenefitsBecause convection ovens circulate heat, certain baking vessels might interfere with proper cooking. Pans with low sides are the best. Cookies, cakes and roasted meats and vegetables turn out the best in a convection oven. You would't want to use the convection setting to bake a casserole, for instance, or anything that might be in a high-sided and/or covered dish. Bake these foods with the convection setting turned off. It's also a good idea not to use aluminum foil to cover foods when using convection. You'll discover the best results by experimenting a little bit and testing the results.
Which Oven to Buy?
We hope this information helped. We're sure you'll love using your new convection oven. Enjoy!
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