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Convection vs Regular Oven


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#1 CKatCook

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:54 AM

Help!!

I bought a new range this week and it has settings for both a convection and regular oven. I have never used a convection oven, but it came with the range so I figured, "what the heck". My question is this what is the difference between a convection oven v.s a regular oven? Just cooking times?


Thanks!
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#2 CaliPoutine

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 09:00 AM

Help!!

I bought a new range this week and it has settings for both a convection and regular oven. I have never used a convection oven, but it came with the range so I figured, "what the heck". My question is this what is the difference between a convection oven v.s a regular oven? Just cooking times?


Thanks!

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Temp is also reduced. I got a GE profile dual fuel convection last October. My oven automatically reduces the convection temp by 25F. My problem is, I never know when to use convection vs. regular. I pretty much bake everything with convection and I use the regular feature for lasagna, to reheat pizza, etc.

#3 Dave the Cook

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:48 AM

For the sake of clarity, a convection oven uses a fan to circulate heated air throughout the oven, evening the temperature throughout the oven cavity and pushing cool, insulating air off of the food. In theory, this leads to more even baking. In practice, it's only sometimes true, because of how domestic convection ovens are built and used. Most units I've seen have the fan flush-mounted to the back of the oven. Its air supply comes from return vents at the top of the oven cavity. While this arrangement is often better than nothing, it's not as good as commercial ovens, where the fan is open and the air supply chamber is larger (it usually surrounds the top, sides and back), further reducing temperature fluctuations.

The limited circulation capacity of the domestic version can make using them a little tricky. If you put a large sheet pan on the middle rack (or load up every rack with cookie sheets, as the manufacturers suggest you can), you block the ability of the fan to do a good job. Also, placing something in the oven right in front of that fan at high heat will reveal a nasty hot spot. For example, I once seared a two-inch porterhouse steak in a cast-iron pan, then set it upright on the bone and stuck it in a 500F oven with convection on, rubbing my hands gleefully at the prospect of a really good crust. I got the crust, but I also got a large overdone spot -- the one that was right in front of the fan.

Having said all that, I love convection ovens, and would hate to be without one. I've quit paying much attention to the 25-degree/20% less time (or whatever it is) guideline. Sometimes it's helpful and accurate, and sometimes it's not. With that in mind, there's a calculator here that might be helpful. It tries to account for different foods, and the results sometimes vary quite a bit from the 25-degree rule. After a while, you'll get used to it, and do the arithmetic in your head.

A couple of other things: I hope your new oven is self-cleaning. With that fan flinging aerosolized animal fat all over the place, you'll have to clean it often. Also, preheating is quicker and more even using convection. Even if I'm not going to use convection to actually cook, I preheat with it, then switch to conventional.

Those of you that have convection ovens, what are your favorite things to cook in them? One of my best tricks is emulating a low-temp fire: cold-smoke ribs, let them rest a day or two, then stick them in a 200F convection oven for about four hours. Terrific ribs with minimal effort.

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#4 Joe Blowe

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 11:13 AM

http://forums.egulle...showtopic=18411
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So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

#5 CKatCook

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 05:43 AM

Thanks for the info, it is very helpful!

I plan on breaking my new oven in on some roast chicken tonight and see how it goes!

Thanks again!
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#6 LindaK

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 11:37 AM

I'm glad the search function brought up this thread! I'm also new to the convection oven and have been trying to figure out how (if at all) I should adapt my baking and cooking times and techniques.

Dave, your description is very helpful. I noticed the "hot spot" issue early in my Christmas cookie baking, and found if I was really loading up the oven that a mid-bake rotation made a difference. Is that is a standard practice with baked goods in a convection oven? Any other tips?

I also appreciate the tips about preheating and flying animal fats. My oven is not self-cleaning (one of the drawbacks of a Blue Star, I'm afraid, which is a gas oven). I will think twice before using the convection feature with a messy roast.


 


#7 rooftop1000

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 12:54 PM

Not that any of Us ever use packaged foods using a lower temp/time than the instructions seems more important there.
The only thing my Grandmother ever burned was Mrs Smith's pies after she got a convection oven :wink:


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#8 Marlene

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:11 PM

I rarely use my convection oven for baking, mostly because I usually forget, and would still have to do pan rotation, no matter what the manufacturer says. I do however, use it for roasting all the time, and for doing baked or roasted potatoes as well.
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#9 Edward J

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:58 PM

Dave's comments are spot -on. Commercial electric convection ovens have the elements situated around the squirrel cage fan, the fan blows hot air around, commercial gas conv. ovens suck up heat from the flame box and blow it around. Residential conv. ovens usually just have a fan at the back that kinda/sorta blows the air around. Most of these ovens are identical to cheaper ranges just without the convection fan

I'm reluctant to use a commercial conv. oven for roasting meats--unless it's a Rational type oven, as most regular conv. ovens tend to dry out meat and result in much higher shrinkage and weight loss. I'm also reluctant to use conv. ovens for most types of pastry--I have no control over top heat or bottom heat--I can get better results for quiches and pies(crispy bottoms and just-done tops) with a regular Garland-type oven than a Conv. oven. Muffins and cakes tend to have crooked lopsided tops, and small items (cookies, petit fours, etc) placed on parchment paper MUST be weighted down or else the fan will pick up the paper and blow it around, or pick up the corners of the paper and shove all the pastries into the middle where they bake into one lump.

But Conv. ovens are pretty good for breads/buns, many puff pastry items, roasting stock bones and mirepoix, anything covered, like stews, lasagnas, roasted vegetables, etc.

After cooking and baking for over 20 years--around the world--I am convinced that there is no such thing as a perfect oven....

#10 robyn

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 05:10 PM

I rarely use my convection oven for baking, mostly because I usually forget, and would still have to do pan rotation, no matter what the manufacturer says.  I do however, use it for roasting all the time, and for doing baked or roasted potatoes as well.

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I only use my convection oven for baking. And have found that lowering recommended cooking temps is harmful to the health of one's baked goods. Although you do have to shorten the cooking time. Robyn

#11 LindaK

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 10:54 AM

...I'm also reluctant to use conv. ovens for most types of pastry--I have no control over top heat or bottom heat--I can get better results for quiches and pies(crispy bottoms and just-done tops) with a regular Garland-type oven than a Conv. oven.  Muffins and cakes tend to have crooked lopsided tops, and small items (cookies, petit fours, etc)  placed on parchment paper MUST be weighted down or else the fan will pick up the paper and blow it around, or pick up the corners of the paper and shove all the pastries into the middle where they bake into one lump.

But Conv. ovens are pretty good for breads/buns, many puff pastry items,  roasting stock bones and mirepoix, anything covered, like stews, lasagnas,  roasted vegetables, etc.

After cooking and baking for over 20 years--around the world--I am convinced that there is no such thing as a perfect oven...]

I baked a lemon tart yesterday, my first pastry dough item in my new oven and I tried it with the convection on. I would concur with your point. The bottom of the tart was not as well-cooked as it should have been, still okay though, while the side crust and filling were perfect. Next time I will try it non-convection.

And how soon one forgets--I also roasted a chicken last night, and was proud of myself for remembering to turn on the convection to pre-heat. Unfortunately, I forgot to turn it off, and can vouch for Dave being correct about how the fan blows the fat around! It cleaned up easily this morning. I think the trick will be to keep up with the cleaning, and not let it build up.


 


#12 Dave the Cook

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 02:08 PM

I didn't mean to discourage people from using the convection mode on their ovens! I just wanted to alert peeps to the ins and outs of using them.

It's a great tool to have around, as long as its advantages are put to good use. As I said above, at low temperatures, it does a great job of creating a crust on meats. Marlene is right about baked potatoes, too, and that advice goes for roasting lots of vegetables: asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, beets (don't wrap them). It's not as effective with whole chickens (the hot spot issue), but spatchcock one and you'll get very crispy skin. If you want to leave the bird intact, use the hot spot to your advantage, and place the chicken so the legs and thighs are facing it.

It's also worth investigating the three typical modes: Bake, Roast and Broil. The hot spot is most apparent when using Bake, because that mode uses the heating element that surrounds the fan; you're getting heat and recirculated air from the same location. Roasting uses the top and bottom elements, and the fan element is off. I've found that this mitigates the hot-spot problem to some degree, and kind of mimics a closed grill with better air circulation. This is the mode I use most often.

Broil is a little odd. Since you usually place the target food on a high rack, the effect of convection broiling is to boost the temperature below the food. It seems like this might create more even cooking, but since broiling is usually a brief affair, I haven't found that it really makes any difference. I've come to the conclusion that the Broil mode exists only because the upper element makes it possible, and it has the marketing advantage of offering a third mode. Whether it's useful or not is beside the point.

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#13 KarenDW

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 10:34 PM

I love my convection oven (electric).
As for rotating pans during baking: yes, if your oven has a single fan; probably not necessary if you have dual fans (I think Wolf has dual). I was accustomed to rotating pans in a non-convection/conventional oven anyways, and so have developed the habit of setting a timer for the rotation time. :-) Adaptive measures.

Usually I lower the temp by 10-15 degrees, but not always. The timing is usually shorter, and so keep an eye on your food for the first little while, or the first time you make a recipe.

I've noticed that the texture of yorkshire pud/popovers is better without convection. Anyone else able to comment on this?
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#14 Marlene

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 05:52 AM

The broiler on my main oven is an infrared gas broiler, so the convection mode doesn't apply, but on the other one there is a convection broil mode. Like Dave, I haven't figured out why yet. Broil is pretty much broil for the couple of minutes I have it in there. The only place I've found convection broil works well is in my convection microwave. Again, I have no idea why.

I've also found that if you use convection on brined poultry, the skin on the fan side browns far more quickly than it should. I've mostly stopped using convection for roasting poultry now. I use pure convection (or roast convection) for beef and pork roasts exclusively, and for baked potatoes and roasted potatoes. I also use convection for baking breads and pizza.

I don't ever use convection for yorkshire pudding.
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#15 budrichard

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 07:50 AM

The convection feature on our Viking gas range is a little like a pig iron blast furnace. The air enters near the bottom near the dual burners and raises the temperature considerably especially on the bottom rack. so if something needs a good crust, or you need to hurry something up in cooking time, its on the bottom, oven set to 550F and Convection on, but you have to watch it because it gets HOT! Making multiple things like pizza's with it on, it is a must to rotate or a burnt crust will result on a pizza left on the bottom. I don't use the feature for long slow cooking because the oven is quite good anywhere inside without it.
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#16 scubadoo97

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:43 PM

I find rapid browning of top surfaces in convection mode when compared to regular baking mode. Sometimes this is desirable and other times it's not. I have been using convection when roasting vegetables with good results.

#17 purplechick

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:48 PM

We recently got a convection oven. It's a Bosch gas oven. The marketing material calls it "true european convection" which evidently involves a third heating element in addition to the fan.

In any case, we love it! Roast fowl in particular come out really well; wonderfully brown and crispy. I used convection mode for my Christmas cookies and they actually seemed to take longer than expected to bake. I'm not sure why...
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#18 Toliver

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:03 AM

eGullet member andiesenji once posted in another discussion a picture of a convection oven air shield that she uses to block the fan/air current from blowing directly on the food in the oven. She said she uses it when making cheesecake-type dishes. I'm wondering if such a device would help prevent hot spots overall.

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#19 Pam Brunning

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 09:37 AM

eGullet member andiesenji once posted in another discussion a picture of a convection oven air shield that she uses to block the fan/air current from blowing directly on the food in the oven. She said she uses it when making cheesecake-type dishes. I'm wondering if such a device would help prevent hot spots overall.

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I have been using a fan oven for two years now for all my baked goods. I make four cakes at a time in 8 sponge pans on two shelves and they all rise fine and even. Bread, rolls and pastry are great.
I don't use it for joints as I find it can dry the meat out and when roasting I always have a little water in the pan - it helps pork to crackle and makes a start for the gravy. If you use a fan oven it dries up too quick.
The bigest disaster in a fan oven is quiches - weather you put one or eight in they always rise lopsided.
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#20 Birdthefox

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:30 PM

This is an old thread, but I thought I might contribute to it since it was the first one I fell upon on eGullet forums!

I actually prefer not using the "convent" option and just the regular "bake" option on my dual oven for baking.
For cooking such as roasts and such I do prefer "convent", but be aware of the already warned "hot spots" that occur.

The reason why I prefer using "bake" for baking is because it keeps my cakes, cookies, etc. all more soft with more moisture for at least a few more hours than "convent" leaves it in my opinion. In addition, it bakes it much slower and easier for me to calculate just about how much I want it. "Convent" goes too fast for me, almost burning the product in just a wink. I like to take my time when baking, not hours, but at least a few minutes longer than what "convent" gives me to see when to precisely end my baking before my products turn into crisp! Baking times vary for all ovens so it's much easier to keep an eye on them on "bake".

Just my two cents.

#21 GlowingGhoul

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:30 AM

We recently got a convection oven. It's a Bosch gas oven. The marketing material calls it "true european convection" which evidently involves a third heating element in addition to the fan.

In any case, we love it! Roast fowl in particular come out really well; wonderfully brown and crispy. I used convection mode for my Christmas cookies and they actually seemed to take longer than expected to bake. I'm not sure why...


My Electrolux induction range also has an element around the convection fan. In addition to heating when using a convection mode, there's a "rapid preheat" function that uses the convection element and fan to preheat very quickly, which shuts off (if not using convection) after temp is reached.

Edited by GlowingGhoul, 04 January 2013 - 07:33 AM.


#22 Crouton

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:01 AM

Just wanted to chime in as I recently had a KitchenAid Architect Series Microwave/Convection oven combo installed to replace our standalone microwave. I'm getting very good results with baked goods, especially cakes, pies and cookies.