Have you moved into a home with a convection oven or are looking for an alternative to using the large conventional oven on a hot day. You are standing in front of a convection oven and you have no idea how to work with it. With a little knowledge of this utensil, you can start cooking anything on it.
Part 1 of 2: Understanding the Convection Oven
Step 1. Know what a convection oven is
A traditional oven has heating elements at the top and bottom of the oven. A convection oven differs in that it has a fan in addition to the heating elements. This fan continuously circulates air through the oven as the food is cooked. This process of blowing hot air over the food while cooking makes the food cook more evenly. Traditional ovens can make your food uneven in places, or make you have to change racks.
Step 2. Realize that cooking times and temperatures are reduced in a convection oven
Convection ovens cook your food much faster and at a lower temperature than in a conventional oven. The reason for this is that the fan circulates heat around the food more quickly, so it cooks the food in a shorter amount of time and more evenly.
Step 3. Know the benefits of a convection oven
In addition to cooking faster and at a lower temperature, convection ovens have other benefits. They are smaller, taking up less space in your kitchen. This can be important if you live in a small apartment or are short on space. They also release less heat in your home, which can be an advantage during the summer when turning on the oven can significantly increase the heat inside the home. Also, convection configurations are available in roasting ovens instead of large ovens. This gives you the convenience of an electric oven with the benefits of a convection oven. The heat in your home is reduced while you save time and energy costs thanks to the low, efficient settings of a convection oven and the use of a smaller apparatus.
Part 2 of 2: Cooking in a Convection Oven
Step 1. Lower the temperature to a convection oven
Due to the air circulating around the food, the temperature should be lower when cooking with a convection oven. Most cooking recipes suggest lowering the temperature by 20-25 degrees when cooking in a convection oven.
Step 2. Reduce cooking time
Since convection ovens cook much faster, reduce the time you would use in a conventional oven. Start by reducing the time by 1/3 of the original recipe.
You can use a convection calculator to get a more accurate estimate if you can't find a recipe for a convection oven
Step 3. Use the correct pans
Since convection ovens cook slightly differently, you should use different pans to maximize the benefits of your oven. Use borderless cookie sheets. Make sure your oven trays and baking pans have low edges. This helps the air flow to reach the food.
- Borderless, non-insulated baking sheets lined with parchment paper work well for baking cookies.
- Place the roasting pan on the grid that is under the grid that the food is on to catch any drips. This allows the airflow to reach the food while still catching the spilled liquid.
Step 4. Don't cover the food
When cooking in a convection oven, do not cover the food. Since airflow is part of the cooking process when using a convection oven, covering the food blocks this flow. Do not cover food with aluminum foil or a lid.
Step 5. Check the food while it cooks
As with a conventional oven, keep an eye on your food as it cooks in a convection oven. Check it about 3/4 of the time, or 10 minutes before it is complete. This will help make sure you don't overcook and burn your food.
Step 6. Find out which foods cook best in a convection oven
You can cook most foods in a convection oven, but some work better than others. A convection oven cooks drier than a conventional oven, which can sometimes be wetter. Because of this, the foods that cook best in a convection oven are:
- Beef. Due to the dry heat, meat is roasted much better in a convection oven. The process can give you a crispy exterior with a damp interior.
- Pies and cookies. The cookies will end up brown and even, while the tarts will be smooth and fluffy. Cakes and bread do not cook as well due to dry heat; they may end up dry rather than damp.
Step 7. Know that most recipes are convertible
Once you understand what a convection oven is, cooking with one is relatively straightforward. Almost any recipe can be adapted. Just remember the steps above: lower the temperature, shorten the cooking time, check your food constantly and make the edges of your baking sheet smaller. Everything else -- the ingredients, the preparation of the dish -- is just like a traditional recipe.