When convection ovens first became available to the average homeowner, they were a bit of a luxury item. Heralded as a time-saving wonder, homeowners who were early adopters soon learned that the convection oven was a wonder for some foods…and a disaster for others.
What is the Difference?
Where a convection oven differs from a regular thermal bake oven is how it distributes the hot air inside the oven cavity. The convection oven utilizes a fan and special exhaust system that distributes the air more evenly and keeps the oven interior dryer than a traditional oven. All this moving air can be great for roasting foods but can be a nightmare for baking a soufflè.
Your convection oven is good for baking pastries, in particular cookies, pies, and quickbreads. But yeast breads and cakes may need the humid standing heat of a thermal oven.
When you are baking items that have butter or other fats as an ingredient, these will rise higher and the results will be lighter and flakier. Cookies bake well in a convection oven since you can make use of every shelf inside the oven with the convection air distribution.
Convection ovens are particularly good for any roasting. With the dry heat and even circulation, it enables you to get a crisp skin while keeping the interior moist and tender.
When cooking meats, the fat in the meat will render quickly in a convection oven. This will seal the juices inside and form a brown crispy outside without basting.
Convection ovens are also great for roasting fruits and vegetables. Vegetables and fruits will roast quickly leaving golden edges and the natural sugars caramelize and leave the center moist with concentrated flavors.
Toasting or Drying
The convection oven has the internal fan that helps to dry thinly sliced fruits and jerky quickly and efficiently. In most cases, the convection oven will work even better than a dehydrator.
If you are looking to toast or dry any nuts or grains, your convection oven can give you an even golden color without the continual turning. Any items you toast or dry should be done on a shallow pan so air can circulate properly.
If you are using a convection oven, you’ll need to consider the conversion for most recipes. Most recipes will give you instructions based on a thermal bake oven. Since cooking time is faster with a convection oven, you’ll need to reduce cooking time and also reduce the cooking temperature.
The typical recommendation is lowering the temperature by 25 degrees and reducing the cooking time by almost two-thirds. Always check your food frequently for doneness.
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