Convection uses fans to circulate heated air close to the oven cavity, reducing cooking occasions by 25 to 35 percent. Because the heat transfer is so a lot more effective, foods can be baked or roasted at reduce temperatures, which minimizes shrinkage and maximizes yield per pound. Standard recipes may have to be altered for greatest results in a convection oven.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a convection setting on your oven, you may still be scratching your head, wondering how it’s different from a regular oven. Should you bake with convection all the time, or are there times when it’s better than the normal setting?
Let’s find out what convection really is, talk about when to use it, and more importantly, when not to use it.
What Is Convection?
Very simply put, a convection oven has a fan and exhaust system that a regular oven does not. The fan and exhaust help blow hot oven air over and around the food, then vent it back out. As a result, this hot air surrounds the food so that it cooks evenly and more quickly.
A great way to describe this comes from Fine Cooking: “To help understand this, consider wind chill: When cold air blows against you on a blustery winter day, you feel colder more quickly than you do on a windless day of the same temperature.” The same applies with heat and convection cooking!
Why Should You Use Convection?
- Faster cooking: Since hot air is blowing directly onto food instead of just surrounding it, food cooks about 25% faster in a convection oven.
- Even cooking: Regular ovens can have hot spots, depending on where the heating element is, but the fan in a convection oven will circulate the air to help even out the temperature variances.
- Better browning: Air in a regular oven can become a bit humid since moisture can’t escape, steaming food instead of roasting. Convection creates a dry atmosphere that caramelizes the sugars faster when roasting, so foods like meats and vegetables get browner, but the interiors stay moist.