The Most Common Questions About Convection Oven Cooking Answered
When it comes to ovens, many people can get a bit confused about what the various terms mean. One, in particular, that can often cause a bit of puzzlement is what is meant by a ‘convection’ oven. In this article, Repair Aid looks to explain what a convection oven is while answering some of the most common questions surrounding convection ovens.
What are convection ovens?
Convection ovens work by circulating heat air around the oven via a fan in a consistent manner. This is because instead of heat surrounding the food that is being cooked, as with more conventional ovens, the hot air is actually blown onto the food and, therefore, speeds up the cooking process. The mechanisms powering convection ovens almost always guarantee better results than regular ovens.
Are all convection ovens the same?
Nope. While there are convection ovens have a third element at the back of the oven – often labelled as True or European convection ovens – fan-assisted convection ovens tend to utilise a fan at the back, along with a bottom element, to evenly distribute the heat.
Will I need to change the temperature when cooking with convection oven?
Not really. One thing to keep in mind though is that convection ovens move heat faster than conventional ovens, as a result of the fan(s), so food can singe faster too. To account for that, it’s sometimes worth reducing the temperature to about 25 degrees less than what is instructed.
Does a convection oven need pre-heated?
Yes, convection ovens have pre-heat cycles. During such a cycle, some models may use more than one heating element – which can end up slightly burning food if it is placed in too early. Ovens do tend to indicate when the pre-heat cycle has ended.
Will my food cook faster while in a convection oven?
Yes, it will. Convection ovens can lead to faster cooking times – sometimes 25% faster – than conventional models. While items will need the full time specified to be correctly cooked, meats often do cook faster in convection ovens but with more of a sear. This actually helps to keep meats succulent and moist.
Can pizza or baking stones be used in convection ovens?
Absolutely. It’s recommended that you place them on a lower portion of the rack so that the dish will be as close to the element as possible – allowing it to reach the required temperature quicker. However, in order to get breads crispy and crusty, it’s advisable to pre-heat a pizza or baking stone.
Will I need new baking trays or pans?
While some types of materials are better suited to convection ovens than others – such as trays and pans that are light in colour or a bright aluminium – everything else will mostly be fine. However, ceramic glass or earthenware aren’t the most effective when it comes to distributing the heat throughout foods, so these should be used on the bottom element. Additionally, bakeware with an anodized finish can see foods getting browned too quickly.
What about for grilling foods?
It’s best to use any grill trays that come with your convection oven to avoid any problems such as smoke or flare ups. While you can use some heavier pans with food that is low in fat, thinner sheets might not be able to cope with the heat – leading to uneven grilling.
Is it better to cook meats in a convection oven?
In a lot of cases, yes, it can be. When placed correctly, meat can be juicier and will even be seared. Unlike with conventional oven recipes, which can reference the need to brown a roast on your hob, meats in convection ovens don’t need to be pre-browned.
Will I need to baste my roast meat?
As convection air instantly sears meats, basting isn’t required. However, if you do baste, try and leave it to the last hour if your marinade has a high sugar content or else the marinade may end up burning.
Are convection ovens more energy efficient than conventional ones?
Yes, they often are more energy efficient than conventional ovens. This is due to convection cooking requiring less time and, therefore, less energy. Those who want to reduce their carbon footprint would do well to choose convection cooking over conventional cooking, while those looking to save money on their energy bills would benefit too.